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 4 – The technology it’s not about
We start this chapter with a nod to the fact that the iPad (1) was announced during the writing of this book. Given that this is still considered a ‘recent’ book, this shows very clearly how dynamic this market is.
From looking forward we take a look back at a brief history of mobile devices commencing at the Palm Pilot, skipping ahead to mobile phones, through media players to smartphones. From there we review the advent of handheld games, tablets and recording devices, before acknowledging that by the time many readers pick up this book some of the descriptions will already be out of date.
We then take a look at a trend that gives a fairly clear indication of how things are going at the moment – “convergence”. More and more devices are providing a 1-stop shop for much (if not all) of the functionality that we used to associate with multiple devices.
Towards the end of the chapter we are reminded just how quickly this field is developing as Clark suggests that we may even be moving towards wearing glasses with a Heads Up Display - imagine that!
We finish off the chapter with these questions being posed (along with my responses):
- How can you take advantage of any of the dedicated devices (media player, camera, PDA, phone)?
- I’m not sure that we really need to go out of our way to take advantage of the plethora of dedicated devices, after all our learners are already using them within their day-to-day lives to take pictures, record video, access the web, read novels etc. Given that dedicated devices are in my opinion “High Street” what I think we need to do is to tap into learner’s familiarity with them and start to drip-feed examples of how they can use them within a workplace environment. Why not model some good examples using dedicated devices? Often when I facilitate face-to-face activities, I make a point of recording audio feedback, video voxpops and photographs of interactivity using dedicated devices in order to model good practice for the attendees to (hopefully) follow.
- How can you capitalize the increasing ubiquity of the converged devices?
- Let’s be honest most organisations (even now) are not providing converged devices (read phones and tablets) to support learning programmes or ‘overtly’ to maximise performance. I believe they are providing them so that you have little or no excuse for not responding to emails! But let’s not let this worry us, instead let’s leverage the growing distribution of mobile devices for our own ends and start to offer resources, assets etc that can benefit from the functionality of the converged device.
- Have you considered the tradeoffs of providing (devices) versus supporting devices ?
- I guess the provision of devices ensures (to a certain degree) greater control and in turn ‘peace of mind’ (wrongly in my opinion) to organisations, but hey, if it increases the chances of mobile uptake then maybe it’s worth it? Of course, this approach no doubt brings significant expense with it in terms of providing the devices, however I’ve no doubt that it is easier to support 1 x device type as opposed to trying to support learners own devices. Of course allowing learners to use their own device means that they will be familiar with it and therefore more likely to use it and quite possibly less likely to need support, although the cost and logistics involved in trying to support multiple device types cannot be ignored.