Estimated world population using cell phones has now reached 4 billion. Although only 10% of these are smart phones, experts predict the number will increase to 50% as new phones coming out in 2011 will be 85% smart phone models with mobile internet access. With huge market, the potential for reaching a wider audience appeals greatly to many industries including learning and training solution companies.
While the rise in these gadgets continues, the economy, still reeling from the recession is seeking ways to cut back on cost. Human resource training and development, while beneficial and crucial for a company’s overall success, cost a significant amount of investment. Elearning can be an alternative cost effective training solution, but why stop there? Making learning content available on smart phones, PDAs and portable tablet PCs means that trainees and learners will be able to utilize unproductive time by learning new skills or enhancing knowledge crucial to the company’s growth.
Imagine listening to a lecture on developing better communications while driving to and from work; while waiting in a long queue, you could be viewing and listening to a webinar about improving coding skills; or while waiting for your laundry, you could be playing an educational game aimed at increasing your vocabulary.
Mlearning or mobile learning is still at its infancy. There are limitations to translating elearning courses used in desktops and laptops to smaller and slower PDAs and smart phones. For example, the ubiquitous iPhone that vehemently refuses to play flash animations. The issue frustrates users who know that the Internet is filled with flash video and animations. Flash animation would’ve been a great tool for interactive elearning activities but developers have to get around the issue by using HTML5 instead.
While many developers are still in the process of creating content to offer cost effective training solution for mobile phones, here are some of the more interesting ones:
Moodle4iPhones – People are familiar with this most commonly used free and open-source elearning application and now Moodle is launching a project, making it accessible via iPhones and iPod Touches. The project is still at its demo stage but after testing and cleaning out the bugs, the application will be free for download at the iTunes App store and will probably be free in other app stores like the Android as well since it’s an open-source program.
iTunes U – iTunes University has been available for some time now. They are mostly used by students but there is no reason why corporate trainers can’t use the site. There are language courses available for free that will be a helpful tool for trainees in communications. For software engineers and programmers, there’s a collection of courses in programming different languages. Business managers will love lectures on newest trends in business practices.
Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips – Initially, Grammar Girl was only a podcast broadcast free by Mignon Fogarty. The show’s success catapulted it to other mediums like books and audiobooks. Eventually, other podcast spin-offs were developed that target mostly adults in the workplace but is still accessible to everyone including teens. Some of their successful podcast for business and work include: Money Girl, Legal Lad, The Winning Investor, The Dealista, The Get-it-Done Guy, The Public Speaker, The Digital Marketer, and Sales Guy. Recently, Grammar Girl started venturing to apps where it consolidates archived content, tweets, manuals that are beneficial to improving grammar and writing.