What is Mobile Learning?

People increasingly expect to be connected to the Internet and the rich tapestry of knowledge it contains wherever they go. Mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, enable users to do just that via cellular networks and wireless power. At the end of 2012, the mobile market consisted of over 6.5 billion subscribers, with a majority living in developing countries. The improvement of mobile networks and affordability of smartphones and tablets is pointing to a future where every individual will have access to the world wide web via their handheld computer or phone. The unprecedented evolution of these devices has opened the door to myriad uses for education. Learning institutions all over the world are exploring ways to make their websites, educational materials, resources, and opportunities all available online and optimized for mobile devices. The significance for teaching and learning is that these devices can facilitate every manner of educational experience, allowing learners to access remote laboratories and conduct experiment, and organize virtual video meetings with peers all over the world, and collaborate on shared documents or projects in the cloud among other things. Over the past several years, mobile learning has earned its place as a top priority for entrepreneurs and educators that are exploring mobile learning solutions and researching their supporting pedagogies.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to academic and research libraries?

  • To the degree that library resources are part of mobile learning, and given the rise in reliance on mobile devices for internet connectivity and research, libraries will need to think about service and resource provision in the mobile device context. - lisahinchliffe lisahinchliffe Apr 11, 2015
  • we have to make sure that the services students want on mobile devices is available to them. Ensure that web design is responsive. - dianeb dianeb Apr 12, 2015
  • Mobile-first (turning to Mobile-only) users expect services that are personalized, location-based, and when applicable: pushed to them (e.g. through notifications). This is not just related to mobile learning but to overall student engagement on campus - oren oren Apr 13, 2015
  • Might be easier to frame this for libraries as BYOD: how is the increased number of users bringing their own technology into libraries changing the design of spaces and services? - dicksonk dicksonk Apr 13, 2015
  • Mobile learning, in ways we hardly notice, is already an integral and ever-growing part of what academic and research (and other) libraries provide; each time we reach out to library users to make library resources and educational services available, we are involved in a very real aspect of (informal) mobile learning. It's far from necessary for library staff to rely solely on content they themselves create; providing links to online learning resources extends the reach of mobile learning via libraries and extends libraries' place in the overall learning environment.- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Apr 14, 2015
  • Academic libraries engaged in learning and instruction will have to adapt to a world of mobile users, be it smartphones or tablets. This includes making resources for learning available for every type of device, and adding value when using a specific type of device. Facilitate "device hopping", when users move between using different devices. In general though, responsive web design and modern web standards is the real technology in this case, allowing all educational web content to be consumed on mobile devices.
    - erik.stattin erik.stattin Apr 19, 2015
  • Libraries have to consider mobile design when they offer services. Our users live in a mobile surroundings.
  • Mobile learning will continue to be relevant and enable librarians to strategically place learning objects at point of need and develop digital collections that invite mobile learners to geolocate at points of interest.

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • The real limitations of learning on mobile device. Most synchronous systems, for example, have apps but they offer more limited functionality than desktop versions - lisahinchliffe lisahinchliffe Apr 11, 2015 - dianeb dianeb Apr 12, 2015
  • Might be useful to address the informal aspects of mobile learning provided by library staff.- paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Apr 14, 2015
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on academic and research libraries?

  • many students use rather smartphones than tablets because the have laptops and tablets are expensive, so libraries have to think about, how they can bring more stuff on their mobile apps or web apps - andreas.kirstein andreas.kirstein Mar 31, 2015
  • - paul.signorelli paul.signorelli Apr 14, 2015The potential impact of this technology on academic and research libraries--and the learners they serve--is to extend learning opportunities in ways that put the libraries where the learners are at the learners' moment of need.

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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