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In The Mobile Learning Edge, author Gary Woodill defines mobile learning as a personalized form of learning that takes place on a mobile electronic device. It allows for speedy communication, it is portable and convenient, it creates active learning experiences, and it allows for learning connectivity at any time and in any location. The content taught in mobile learning is also more likely to be retained because it is learned when the student wants to learn; because the student is actively seeking to learn, the information taught is more likely to be relevant and useful to the learner.

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Related book summaries in the BBS library: Tailored Learning, Managing the Mobile Workforce, The Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning

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In the December issue of T+D, the article “Six Trends That Will Change Workplace Learning Forever” discusses the increased use of mobile devices in learning. The article cites an IBM study published in January 2010 that defines the two main reasons for mobile phone use as 1) in-field performance support and 2) access to just-in-time information that is specific to a project or task. However, the more important reason for adoption of mobile learning solutions is due to demand:

The need to make social media and mobile learning a part of the workplace to attract, engage, and retain the younger generations is forcing learning professionals to explore new and innovative ways to deliver learning on these inexpensive devices, anytime and anywhere.

The advertising battle between Apple, Android, and BlackBerry emphasizes the enormous growth and advancement of the mobile marketplace. Phones, netbooks, laptops, and tablets are all growing in popularity as consumers and the workforce desire greater mobility in their daily lives. While the Millennials are probably the greatest proponent of mobile technology, it has been adopted by everyone due to the format’s flexibility, timeliness, and utility.

Morgan Stanley estimates that by 2015, more users will connect to the Internet via mobile devices than by desktop PC. This means learning organization will have to design learning solutions that will work for the new, constantly-moving learning environment of its users. The day is coming when on-demand, anytime, anywhere learning will be the norm, and that day is not far off.

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