This paper reports on the current challenges the professional sector faces when going mobile. The report discusses the role of mobile devices in the workforce and addresses challenges like compatibility, security and training. It also provides a comprehensive review of the mobile landscape, and reviews current best practices in mobile learning.
From the field From E-learning to M-learningAuthor This paper reports on the current challenges the professional sector faces when going mobile. The report discusses the role of mobile devices in the workforce and addressesChristina Meiers, MarketingManager (imc) challenges like compatibility, security and training. It also provides a firstname.lastname@example.org review of the mobile landscape, and reviews current best practices in mobile learning.Tags 1. The mobilisation of the business environmentprofessional development Around 500 million smartphones, 34 million tablets and over 1 billion app downloads in 2011and training, technical alone – according to the records of the global mobile communications market. Accordingsupport, mobile learning, to the Cisco Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast, in 2012 there are likely to be more mobilecompany-wide deviceconcepts communication devices in the world than people . Use of the mobile internet and the associated transformation of the device landscape are well underway. What started with Notebooks, PDAs and Blackberries has now reached perfection with tablet PCs and smart- phones. The device manufacturers continue to trump one another with ever more powerful and visually appealing examples of the mobile companion. Generally speaking, smartphones and tablets etc. are in equal measure practical, conducive to increasing productivity and a lifestyle symbol. What in the private domain has become almost standard has for some time been increasingly transferring to the business environment. 1.1 Bring your own device is reality Employees in companies don’t want to do without the more efficient functioning and the in- tuitive user interfaces of the mobile devices in their everyday vocational life either. However, companies provide these across the board only in very rare cases which means that employ- ees also use their private devices for business purposes. This phenomenon, which has also become known as “Bring your own device“ (BYOD) or “consumerisation“, is still dismissed by many managers in companies as a future dream. In so doing, they often overlook that BYOD is already in place in everyday commercial life. According to a survey by the management consulting company Accenture of over 4,100 respondents from 16 countries, 23% already use their personal device for work . The advantages are obvious. The boundaries between vocational and private life are becom- ing more and more blurred. It therefore seems reasonable for employees to use one device for both purposes. By having constant access to both private and commercial data, they can arrange their available time as they like, use waiting time effectively and can always be reached. This results in a more efficient and productive way of working, coupled with increased customer satisfaction due to working with their own – usually more powerful – hardware and software. As a practical spin-off, the company can omit procurement costs for devices. On the other hand, those in charge of IT have serious reservations. According to Accenture, over 36% of the respondents pay no attention to the employer’s IT security regulations. 15% even mix ing earn eLearning Papers • ISSN: 1887-1542 • www.elearningpapers.eueL ers 32 u ers.e gpap .elea rnin n.º 32 • December 2012Pap www 1
From the fieldbusiness with personal data. Bring your own device has there- mobile internet and sensibly dovetails formal, informal and so-fore been reality for a long time – but companies are lagging cial learning .behind somewhat. From the perspective of companies, a lot of The term „mobile learning”, also known as „m-learning“, is notcatching up still needs to be done in terms of providing mobile new. It describes learning when the learner is not in a defineddevices, supplying suitable applications and data, but especially location or when he uses the benefits of mobile technologywith the correct processing of sensitive company data. when learning. While mobile learning was previously limited to laptops, today it mainly refers to smartphones, tablet PCs or1.2 The training market goes mobile mobile gaming and entertainment consoles.While many companies still have difficulties with the sensible The strengths of mobile learning lie primarily in the use of learn-use of mobile courses, the e-learning sector has already recog- ing programs which are not dependent on time and place andnised the sign of the times. At the pertinent e-learning fairs at in the extremely efficient use of the available time. For instance,the start of 2012, such as LEARNTEC in Karlsruhe, Learning Tech- periods of idle time between customer meetings or waitingnologies in London, the Swiss e-learning conference in Zurich times at airports can be used to access learning modules. Theand the Australian e-learning congress in Sydney, mobile learn- vision behind this is learning what you want, where you wanting was clearly the number one topic. The analysts of Bersin & and when you want.Associates regard mobile learning as a further evolutionary stepin the continuing education field which uses the assets of the ing earn eLearning Papers • ISSN: 1887-1542 • www.elearningpapers.eu eL ers 32 u ers.e gpap .elea rnin n.º 32 • December 2012 Pap www 2
From the field1.3 Programmes for digital natives Microsoft (1.7% market share), for whom a bright future is pre- dicted in the mobile communications market, and Research inSo what is the target group for mobile learning? In addition to Motion (12.7% market share), which with its Blackberry contin-employees who are frequently travelling, there is also a particu- ues to be heavily represented in the commercial environmentlar focus on young, technically-minded employees, called digital .natives. Raised with modern technology, it is virtually taken forgranted for technically-minded users that they move in the digi- For one thing, these and other providers use their own operat-tal world and have information readily to hand if required. The ing system and their own platforms for the distribution of addi-use of modern hardware such as video game consoles, comput- tional applications, so-called apps, for the mobile devices. Com-ers, smartphones and tablet PCs is an integral part of the eve- patibility of the individual platforms is hitherto not guaranteed.ryday lives of these digital natives. The fact that text-heavy and In addition, there is the fact that the individual devices supportless appealing learning programs in terms of multimedia are of- or favour different development technologies. For instance,ten less well received is quickly becoming clear. With respect to the operating system iOS from Apple does not support plug-insthe fact that this target group makes up a growing proportion in such as AdobeFlash, which are frequently used as developmentcompanies, commercial learning should adapt to the needs of standards, especially in relation to web technology. A third com-the younger generation to encourage these people to learn and ponent is the browsers used, which also have different techno-to use as effectively as possible the potential of modern devices logical characteristics.for learning as well . This presents companies with several stumbling blocks. For in-So how can companies make m-learning a concrete part of their stance, if different devices and browsers are used in the com-training and development concept and create mobile learning pany, different mobile content may have to be developed orprograms? various development technologies used for the respective hard- ware. Also, the company generally has to provide the content from one source and via the providers’ platforms.2. General technological requirements To minimise development costs and retain the sovereignty of2.1 In the jungle of device suppliers, platforms the data, the companies must set up a company-wide device and browsers concept and use development technology which guarantees simpler distribution of the content.The development and provision of mobile learning content dif-fer significantly from the distribution of classical e-learning con-tent. For suppliers of mobile learning, this means that they must 2.2 A company-wide device conceptfirst of all tackle the general technological requirements in the The mobile device concept of a company should fundamentallymobile environment and must integrate the new conditions into concentrate on the operating systems, technologies, provisionthe existing IT concept. and security.Suppliers must be aware that the mobile communica-tion market possesses a high degree of innovation andtherefore is very heterogeneous. The developmentsof recent years, and especially the breakthrough ofthe mobile Internet, have resulted in there being nu-merous different suppliers who all want to promotetheir own technology on the market.Worthy of special mention here are the major provid-ers such as Google (60.5% global market share), whichwith its Open Source model Android recorded stronggrowth rates in 2011 especially, Apple (17.3% marketshare), which relies on lifestyle and user friendliness, ing earn eLearning Papers • ISSN: 1887-1542 • www.elearningpapers.eu eL ers 32 u ers.e gpap .elea rnin n.º 32 • December 2012 Pap www 3
From the fieldplay is scaled using the screen size and it is possible to depict will be a significant increase in the market share in the area ofcontent in a modified way. The content on the website can be fiction . The announcement by Apple that it intends to be-substantially reduced or content with large amounts of data can come more involved with the education market with its e-bookbe faded out to avoid transmission problems. Furthermore, mo- store is likely to give the format a further boost . Over thebile websites are not available via an app marketplace, rather years, numerous formats and technologies have been used inthey can be administered by the company itself which means the digitalisation of books, with three currently dominating thethe licensing process in the provider’s own shop is no longer market.applicable and updates can be implemented quicker. However,the disadvantage of web applications is that, unlike native apps, In addition to Mobipocket and PDF, the EPUB format is one ofthey cannot access the specific hardware functions of individual the most convenient ones: not only can it be used across dif-devices and the graphic design offers less space than with de- ferent formats, it can also automatically be adjusted to thevice-specific apps . characteristics of the mobile devices, in terms of screen size for instance. The fact that sales of mobile devices is continually rising indicates that the dissemination of e-books will increase3.3 Interactive e-books and that these – like apps or mobile websites – will adapt toElectronic books, so-called e-books, have a long history. There the functions of the devices. Typical in this respect are so-calledwere projects as long ago as 1988 with the aim of making books interactive e-books. In addition to the simple transmission ofaccessible electronically. What at that time was primarily im- the originally printed text, the integration of, for example, we-plementable with the help of floppy discs has since developed blinks, videos, quiz questions and other continuative context isinto an independent format which has major growth potential. significant. The characteristic wipe and zoom movements aree-books are electronic copies of printed books which are avail- components of interactive e-books. Books, brochures and otherable using special e-book readers and PCs, but also tablets and publications can thus be meaningfully supplemented and up-smartphones via online shops from publishing houses or device graded with continuative information, interactions and graphicproviders. Pricewaterhouse Coopers predicts that by 2015 there highlights. ing earn eLearning Papers • ISSN: 1887-1542 • www.elearningpapers.eu eL ers 32 u ers.e gpap .elea rnin n.º 32 • December 2012 Pap www 5
From the field4. Mobilising content They provide direct success feedback which contributes to in- creasing learning motivation and breaks down learning barriers.It is not only in a technical respect that m-learning differs from Microlearning is especially widespread in the e-learning envi-classical training opportunities a rethink in terms of content is ronment and can take various forms depending on learning typealso necessary. What has to be taken into account when prepar- and user customs. Examples of microlearning content are: no-ing mobile learning content? What options are there and where tices or video sequences, test questions, images, screenshots,could the journey take us? web-based training etc. Apps, quizzes and educational games are enjoying increasing popularity and also fall under the head-4.1 Copy & paste fails ing of microlearning.Learners also use their mobile devices for business and require The objective of mobile learning should thus be to offer short,the company to provide content for this as well. It seems rea- attractive learning sequences which give the learners a brief in-sonable to make the existing learning programs – such as the troduction into a topic and leave them wanting more throughavailable PowerPoint presentations, PDF documents and web- the playful use of the hardware potential.based training – accessible on smartphones and tablets as well.But this is by no means mobile learning. 4.3 Entertainment vs. employee supportMobile devices are handy, quick and look good. The simple However, the entertainment of employees should not be thetransfer of classical learning content which is designed for face- only thing which comes to the fore. It is more important not toto-face events or PCs goes against this principle and thus is suc- lose sight of the added value for the user. The clear challenge iscessful only very occasionally. Mobile learning content should to provide real support for the employee not only with acquir-be uncomplicated, quickly accessible and attractively designed. ing knowledge but also in the daily work flow. This means bothThis starts with the loading times, extends to adaptation to the providing the basic information and also answering questions atsmallest of screens and leads to the inclusion of the charac- the touch of a button when a problem occurs in the sense of ateristic function of mobile devices. What is meant here is pri- „lookup“. Increased employee support in this case means help-marily the modern touch screen functionalities which the iPad ing the employees make their work processes more efficient.etc. have. Attractive learning content combines the transferof knowledge with playful elements such as the characteristicwipe, swivel and shake movements of modern devices and if at 4.4 Blended (mobile) learningall possible also use the hardware components such as cameras, In order to integrate mobile learning appropriately into the in-code readers and GPS functions. dividual training concept and to fully exploit the performance support nature of the short learning sequences, it is sensible to4.2 Microlearning for rapid learning success create blended learning programs . „Blended“ can be un- derstood to mean on the one hand a link between face-to-faceMobile learning is characterised by short learning phases. On events and mobile learning programs, and also a combinationthe one hand, short time budgets are available when travelling of classical e-learning and mobile learning. Possible examplesfor the reproduction of the learning material, on the other it is of this are:frequently the objective of the learner to receive the answer to • face-to-face events with follow-up test questions on mobilea question quickly or to look something up. Microlearning con- devicestent is therefore ideal for mobile use. • the mobile integration of participants in the form of chatsMicrolearning describes the phenomenon whereby users only or communities in the run-up to or subsequent to the train-call up and can repeat learning content when a specific question ingemerges. In this way you can independently work out concrete • add-on modules for smartphones etc. which supplementsolutions and take in the study material. The microaspect refers classical e-learning programsto several dimensions. The learning content can be restricted • summaries of e-learning sessions or face-to-face events inin terms of both time (short learning stages) and also content the form of check lists etc.(limited topics and simple learning modules or test questions). • etc. ing earn eLearning Papers • ISSN: 1887-1542 • www.elearningpapers.eu eL ers 32 u ers.e gpap .elea rnin n.º 32 • December 2012 Pap www 6
From the field5. Mobile learning solutions – Content is Always up-to-date King The integration of mobile learning programmes within theIf the necessary framework conditions, technologies and for- framework of blended learning and the continual supportmats have been selected, the question still remains as to what of the user with small learning units (microlearning) is bestcontent should be prepared in what form for its target group. designed when the participants are provided regularly withBoth creativity and professional expertise is required in this re- lessons that are current or build upon one another.spect. From productivity-increasing service programs to enter-taining games or the regular provision of information, the pos- Providing the learner with this in push-mode offerssibilities are endless. The important thing is that the content is longterm involvement with the learning material and con-both easily accessible and attractively prepared and offers the tributes to sustained internalisation of the content.user genuine value. Games, fun and excitement Management apps In the e-learning field in particular, games are often select- In order to be able to work effectively on the move, ac- ed to prepare complex or „dry“ content in an exciting way cess to data from the company IT department is generally and to motivate the learner. essential. Although this is possible with a laptop, it is also time-consuming and inconvenient. A more elegant solution Tablets and Co. are particularly suited for the use of learn- is connecting the employees via their mobile devices. ing games as they combine playful movements such as „wiping“, „shaking“ and „zooming“ with a discerning graph- Access to company applications such as ERP and CRM sys- ics design. The transfer of knowledge is therefore accompa- tems, or learning management systems in the area of devel- nied by an exciting adventure or amusing games function. opment, is usually via the appropriate mobile apps which exchange data with the company software and thus make all information easily accessible at the touch of a button. Inform and motivate If the focus is simply on information provision, the use of Experience reality playful elements is sparingly used on the other hand. Even so, the recipient must be motivated and won over for the Augmented reality (expanded reality) creates a union of fic- acceptance of information. Appealing graphic elements tion and reality. For example, real surrounding objects are and useful or productivity-increasing additional functions enriched with useful additional information, simulations or ensure the content is both interesting and serious at the visual representations. same time. Augmented reality can be used in numerous areas, but is especially suitable for the learning field and knowledge transfer, as learners use their mobile device here to explore 6. The future of mobile learning their environment and access learning content in a context- The mobile communications market already offers numerous based way. options for providing mobile learning content as a meaning- To do this the programmers utilise, amongst other things, ful supplement to classical education programs. However, the hardware features in the mobile devices such as cameras current situation is a long way from being the end of the story. or special software . Examples of augmented reality ap- Components which have already proved their worth in classical plications are virtual museum tours or special simulations. e-learning are not yet available in mobile form. Several mobile learning initiatives are therefore concentrating on further pro- moting mobile technologies in the field of e-learning with the aim to provide an integrated mobile learning environment. In addition to mobile content which can be accessed via learning ing earn eLearning Papers • ISSN: 1887-1542 • www.elearningpapers.eu eL ers 32 u ers.e gpap .elea rnin n.º 32 • December 2012 Pap www 7
From the fieldmanagement apps that synchronise with a cloud-based LMS, ing and doing the dishes. For each topic, the user is given hintsthe independent creation of mobile learning content is a key which must be observed and with which small inroads can befeature. This results in an integrated overall solution which re- made into saving energy on a daily basis. In addition, an electric-gards mobile learning as a logical component of an innovative ity consumption calculator can be selected: the calculator workslearning concept. out – based on key information such as the size of the flat, the number of people in the household and the existing household7. Best mobile learning practices devices – the average electricity consumption of a household and thus provides a useful comparison for your own consump- tion.7.1 Energy efficiency at the press of a finger with the HEA energy-saving app 7.2 InterAcción – the intercultural managementWhat are the best tricks to save energy? How do I prevent un- gamenecessarily high heating costs? Which household devices are es-pecially energy efficient? These and many other questions are The job of the Peruvian Alberta is the project management ofanswered by an iPhone app which was developed by IMC AG the installation of a solar plant in the vicinity of Lima. Alberta ison behalf of HEA, a German expert community engaged in the new in this position and has to manage and coordinate an inter-efficient utilisation of energy. The app is based on the HEA bro- national, geographically widespread team with modern meth-chure „Energy-saving Tips“ and provides numerous examples ods of communication. Individual levels depict the backgroundof how existing information can be shown in a completely new story in the form of a comic which is made less monotonous bylight using mobile devices. Programmed as a native iPhone app, interactive exercises. The German Association for internationalwith the HEA energy-saving tips both the provision of informa- cooperation (GIZ) integrated the mobile educational game intotion and awareness of how to handle energy resources respon- its eAcademy where it is offered for the qualification of inter-sibly take centre stage. national project workers. The objective of GIZ was to make the game available both on devices of various suppliers and alsoIn terms of subject area, the iPhone app covers the topics of in the event of a bad network connection. In terms of basicwater, lighting, heat, hi-fis, computers, washing, cooking, freez- ing earn eLearning Papers • ISSN: 1887-1542 • www.elearningpapers.eu eL ers 32 u ers.e gpap .elea rnin n.º 32 • December 2012 Pap www 8