Over the last 10 years, eLearning has evolved a lot with new technologies and standards. Right from SCORM standard in the year 2004 to the proliferation of new technologies, especially mobile technologies, eLearning has seen a tremendous transformation.
Cloud Computing and mLearning: The Next Gen of Learning
Let us have a look how mLearning and cloud computing are dominating the next generation of eLearning.
“Mobile is full of exciting technologies, and approaches that can help us transform how we teach, work, and learn. We just need more passionate educators to think bigger, and fit them into our learning.” – Geoff Stead
With a compound annual growth rate of over eighteen percent for the next five years, it is predicted that the worldwide mLearning market will reach $12.2 billion by 2017. Complete interactive learning experiences delivered to the learners on the devices of their choice empowers them to be more productive and efficient. The benefits of mobile learning completely outweigh the costs.
The anytime, anywhere access to the course content and information, right from the smartphone, makes it easy for learners to grasp the information in short chunks as per their convenience. Since the content is presented in small chunks on the mobile, mLearning sees a faster completion of courses and better learner retention. With full-blown multimedia support, mLearning can support various learning styles such a reading, videos, and audio (podcasts). The user-generated content and collaboration fostered by mobile devices make the learning more fascinating.
The use of cloud computing in eLearning allows the businesses as well as the learners to access the learning applications and courses without the need of any installation on their own devices. Computing becomes a whole lot more efficient with the centralization of data storage, processing, and bandwidth.
eLearning delivered via cloud benefits from the lower costs in a long run. Businesses don’t need to worry about maintenance or upgrades as those are handled by the cloud vendors. Cloud-based learning is a safe option because the software as well as the data reside on remote servers and are protected against security breaches. It also provides the eLearning to keep pace with the latest technology trends.
mLearning With Mobile Web Apps: Best Of Both Worlds
The individual benefits of mobile learning and cloud are undisputed. Mobile learning delivered through native mobile apps requires the learners to download the app on their phones. The learning creators in this case also need to worry about the constant technological advancements and newer screen sizes. While the native apps offer unique and far richer user experiences, these are very time-consuming and costly to develop and maintain.
Therefore, more and more learning creators have started giving more preference to mobile web apps. These apps run from directly from any mobile browser and do not require the learners to download any app on their smartphones.
- Creation of mobile web learning apps is relatively easy and most of the popular authoring tools allow the same at the click of a button. Since these don’t require any programming development skills, it is easier, less time consuming, and, therefore, relatively cheaper to create such apps.
- These apps offer extreme compatibility with a wide range of browsers. The apps need to be developed once and can work on multiple devices without any issues.
- The cost of development and management of web apps is very low as compared to native apps because once developed, such apps can work on multiple operating systems without any issues.
- It is very easy to host such apps on any mobile compatible portal or Learning Management System.
- The learners get access to the latest courses without having to do anything specific at their end (like installation of an app etc.). As soon as the course is updated on the server, the learners can see the same.
- With a stable internet connection, the course viewing experience can match with that of the native app without any issues.
- The courses can be delivered instantly because there are no intermediate steps of app store approval etc.
There are discussions about the security of such courses and the user experience. However, with the use of right tools, technology, and expertise, all such issues can very easily be taken care of. The mobile browsers are rapidly maturing and that is significantly contributing in addressing the concerns about performance and usability.
As the trend shows, while companies have become cautious about their spends on IT-related things like software and infrastructure, the spend on mobile devices are continuously increasing. The future no doubt will be ruled by cloud and mobile. Your learning initiatives will need to keep pace with these trends.