Designing #mlearning Book Review – Chapter 3

Posted on Jul 2, 2012

 

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I intend to provide a brief synopsis of each chapter of ‘Designing mlearning‘, but more importantly I intend to answer the questions that Clark poses at the end of each chapter and then pose those same questions back to you ‘Dear Reader

 

Chapter 3 – A brief history of learning and cognition

Confession time!

I’ve struggled somewhat with this chapter, having had to read it 3 or 4 times in order to be able to internally process its content for this review. I’m not saying that this is a bad thing at all, but it did feel a little awkward for me having breezed through the first 2 chapters and seeing them as confirmation of my current thinking.

In chapter 3 Clark starts off by reminding us (I’m liking the fact that he is drumming this into the reader) that mLearning is, by and large, not about learning, but about augmentation. About letting us as human beings get on with what our brains do well and providing support for what our brains struggle with (rote learning), rather than trying to ‘drill’ the information into our/others heads! Let the mobile device remember the facts and allow yourself to make decisions or detect nuances in the many variables we base our decisions every day.

In case we haven’t got the point yet, he reminds us that mLearning is not about putting courses on a phone (I’m hoping he raises this point again, as it seems to be something of a common misconception in my opinion)

Clarke then takes us on a whistle-stop tour of media psychology, that I’ve got to be honest, wasn’t any clearer on the 4th reading as it was on the 1st – perhaps I’m not of the target academic demographic for this book, perhaps I’m reading it at the wrong time of day; I don’t know.  What I’m hoping is that this lack of comprehension doesn’t impact upon my understanding of the rest of the book….. we’ll see….

We finish off the chapter with these questions being posed (along with my responses):

  • Are you considering more than just courses and including performance support?
  • As a member of the vendor community, I have seen a fairly respectable number of mobile solutions being provided to clients and I have to say that the vast majority fall into the ‘course on a phone/tablet’ category. We could go into the whole “who’s to blame for this?” debate, that we’ve all no doubt contributed to in some way, shape or form in the past, but on this occasion I’m not going to, maybe you’d like to in the comments section? What I will say is that I’ve seen a few good examples of performance support apps for the NHS (detailing drug dose calculations) and for some areas of retail (providing ‘just-in-time’ support for a new season range of products), as yet I’ve still to see any solutions that make use of the phones native functionality.
  • Is your pedagogy advanced beyond the basic “event” and content presentation learning approach?
  • I think the answer above goes somewhere towards answering this question. Some organisations are obviously only seeing mobile as a portable desktop solution, whilst others are grasping the potential for it to ‘augment’ their people. I’d say that it’s probably (based upon a Sophisticated Wild Arsed Guess) less than 3% who have spotted this.
  • Do you include social learning as part of your learning solution?
  • I’ve seen a growing number of clients who are currently/planning to include social learning as part of their solution. My fear is the assumption that people will flock to it, just because organisations have built it. I also see a number of organisation building internal platforms as opposed to using existing ‘public’ platforms for these conversations to take place. I know from experience in a previous role that the ‘doomers and gloomers’ will cite commercial sensitivity or security for reasons not to engage in ‘public’ conversations and there are a growing number of collaborative platforms to circumvent this, but I can’t help but feel that this approach is only papering over the cracks of a bigger problem.
So folks, why not take a look at the questions above and provide your own responses in the comments below?
Chapter 1 
Chapter 2

One Comment

  1. Craig, greatly appreciate you going through the book, and the honest feedback.

    Sorry the media psych stuff wasn’t clear. The short point is that if you want to communicate context (e.g. what it really looks like in situ), you should use a photo or video. If you want to communicate the underlying concept, you use a graphic (diagram) or animation. And it shouldn’t affect your ability to comprehend the rest of the book (at least I think/hope not!).

    Also, you don’t say whether you had subsequent trouble with the motivation bit, performance support, or the social learning stuff after that part in the chapter. Given that you normally talk sensibly about such stuff, I assume not, but let me know otherwise.

    Thanks again!

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