Today, mobile phones have made their existence unparalleled. They have evolved from being a simple calling device to a messaging machine, and then a replacement of Personal computers, laptops, cameras. Major research suggests that mobile user base has increased by over 26% in the last five years. Today, there are over 4.77 billion mobile phone users in the world.
With increased penetration of mobile devices, more and more people are using them to learn new stuff online. Mobile Learning or mLearning has become the new major change in the education industry.
However, even with the advent of Mobile Learning or mLearning for over five years now many people still consider mLearning to be nothing more than elearning delivered on mobile devices. The two modes of learning differ considerably from each other and offer unique benefits of their own. We need to understand the differences between the two to be able to implement them effectively in workplace learning.
Just as the name suggests, Mobile Learning or mLearning, refers to using mobile devices to access online learning content. Users can use mobile devices like smartphones or tablets to access learning content via a web browser or an installed app.
Since we all have a mobile device nearby almost all the time, one of the major benefits of mLearning is that it promotes portability. It offers a much better opportunity for users to learn anywhere and anytime.
Let’s look at some of the major differences between mLearning and elearning.
The primary purpose of elearning is to teach in-depth concepts or impart knowledge of specific skill to learners. Elearning is best suited for structured and formal training and is essential to impart compulsory trainings like Compliance Courses.
Mlearning, on the other hand, is primarily used to provide just-in-time knowledge or information which helps learners gain the necessary information and use it whenever they see fit. Mlearning is best suited for quick knowledge distribution and reinforcement of concepts already taught to learners.
Elearning courses are best viewed on larger screen size devices like desktop and laptops, and that makes it a lot better for the formal environment and training.
In mLearning, as the name suggests, the content can be used on mobile devices like smartphones and tablet devices via a web browser or installed app. Mlearning provides portability to learners and they gain access to the learning content 24/7 which makes it more suited for informal training.
An elearning course, usually, sets the context of learning, imparts the knowledge and ends with an assessment to evaluate the level of learner’s understanding. The elearning course is designed to run on larger, higher resolution devices and includes more detailed graphics and concepts.
While, in the case of mLearning, the courses are usually small micro learning nuggets that combine simple text and graphics in order to create a good learning experience even on a small screen device.
Elearning lessons are mostly around 20 minutes, or even longer at times since they are designed to teach more complex topics. They are suitable for prolonged training sessions and are often accompanied by instructor-led training as well.
Mlearning lessons tend to be shorter, around 5-10 minutes each, as they offer small knowledge nuggets and are designed keeping the short attention span of learners in mind. Mlearning is suitable to provide for just-in time learning and provides one piece of information at a time.
So, which mode of training should you choose?
Well, both elearning and mLearning are different modes of learning with evident differences between them. They are equally valuable, and the choice to adopt one over another typically depends on the context of learning.
With the fundamental understanding of the differences between the two modes, you can choose the most suitable option for your organization according to your learning objective, infrastructure setup and organization policies.