5 Reasons Mobile Learning Revolutionizes Education
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Why Mobile Learning Revolutionizes Education

The classroom of the future is already in your pocket.

Research suggests the online learning market will balloon from $165 billion to $275 billion by 2022. Alongside it, the mobile technology looks poised to revolutionize education.

Mobile learning means educational materials accessed on a smartphone, e-reader or tablet. 600 million people worldwide subscribe to mobile learning applications. The market for mobile learning products and services values $5 billion as of 2014, projected to grow to $70 billion by 2020.

Course creators—universities, K12 schools, and independent educators—are taking advantage of the enormous potential for on-demand, as-needed learning.

1. Increasingly Connected

80% of people have a smartphone. 90% of Millennials have their smartphone on them at all times. A fifth of them communicates only via smartphone—without desktop computers. India and many developing countries in Asia have high mobile-only internet usage, without desktop computers. In fact, mobile-only users now outnumber desktop-only users worldwide.

2. The Mobile Shift

70% of all YouTube's minutes watched take place on a mobile device. YouTube’s global head of learning and family, Malik Ducard, said educational or instructional videos are the site’s third most popular category. He said YouTube receives 500 million views daily on learning-related content. Education apps are also number three in Apple’s app store.

Shelley Osborne, head of Learning and Development for Udemy, a major publisher of MOOCs (massive open online courses), says half of their more than 24 million users consume content via mobile.

"We see about 50% of our learning on that app, so we see millions of people learning on their phones every single day."

She said their smartphone app allows mobile access to any content accessible from their website.

In a follow-up email, a spokesperson for Udemy said mobile consumption has jumped 50% from 2016 to 2017. Offline consumption using the app skyrocketed 300%.

Lynda.com—now owned by LinkedIn Learning—reported similar growth. A spokesperson cited 60% growth in the last year for mobile consumption, which now accounts for 65% of overall learning.

Tom Cheddadi, CEO of AppBoss, said student satisfaction feedback for mobile learning is overwhelmingly positive.

"We monitor the reviews and ratings on the apps we develop for clients," said Cheddadi. "They love that they can consume courses on the go. Plus, our clients are CEOs and course creators and they tell us making their content available on mobile really ratchets up the completion rates on those materials."

Osborne said Millennials—who will make up 50% of the workforce by 2020—are hungry for mobile learning content.

"The preference is loud and clear, the attraction is loud and clear," she said. "With mobile, you’re very much the driver of your experience, and how you access learning and when. And that’s what Millennials expect, they expect on-demand access just like they do with Netflix and YouTube."

3. Better Attitudes Toward Learning K12

A host of learning benefits accompany the anytime, anywhere, bite-sized delivery mode.

According to a survey:

  • 63% of students enjoy receiving reminders and alerts related to educational courses.
  • 61% believe mobile helps collaboration with peers and teachers.
  • 54% said it helped organize their schoolwork assignments.
  • 52% said mobile devices allow them to access their school network from home.

K12 teachers also reported encouraging figures.

  • 52% said their students were more motivated.
  • 36% said mobile programs helped their students develop creativity.
  • 29% believe the tools encourage problem-solving and critical thinking.
  • 7% saw improved problem-solving skills.
  • 26% reported their students were taking ownership of their own learning.

Lynda.com points to a survey of 2,400 parents that reported improvements in their children’s attitudes toward learning.

4. It’s Perfect For Microlearning

The "nuggets" of education presented by eLearning may be effective for knowledge retention. "Microlearning" is up to 22% more effective than large chunks ending in exams, according to a study by Dresden University.

"You hear a lot about the need and desire for microlearning. Mobile really allows you to do that, it’s your snack-sized, bite-sized but also your choose-your-own-adventure format," said Osborne. "What this approach allows is for each of us to customize and get the learning that’s appropriate for each of us rather than all of us," she said. “To really personalize, really dedicate and really focus on what we need, and that always inevitably makes us happier and more satisfied."

Osborne said businesses would do well to recognize this and adapt their course delivery.

"That’s got to be a big perspective and cultural shift, organizations have to think about how they offer their courses. Employers and organizations need to think differently about how they do learning and if they want to keep up."

5. Overcoming Resistance

Many employees do not want to sit through drawn-out classroom courses. Cognizant’s "Future of Learning" whitepaper describes the benefits mobile courses provide workers:

  • Access
    Employees can access learning material from almost anywhere.
  • Convenience
    Employees can engage with mobile-based learning content when they have time.
  • Retention
    mLearning enhances recall and memory.
  • Acceleration
    Mobile devices can give learners instant access to the material. This speeds their time to competency.
  • Speed
    Traditional training material takes many hours to develop and roll out. mLearning is quick to put together and make available.

Mobile will be the primary way of connecting to the internet in just a few short years. A training app represents a multi-platform solution for businesses looking to save money down the road in converting traditional builds. For businesses or universities offering courses to students or employees, the conclusion is clear. Mobile learning provides exciting new opportunities to engage with learners.

Currently, options for mobile education app development are limited or costly, especially for small businesses and independent course creators. Venture-backed startups and higher education organizations invest hundreds of thousands into their mobile app platforms.

But new technology has been already developed and it allows small businesses and course creators to create a custom app for 80% less than the typical cost for mobile app development.

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