Mobile Learning vs eLearning

I like infographics, but I don’t like this one on the LearnDash website: Mobile Learning vs eLearning. I find it inaccurate, or at least misleading. Here’s the comment I left, in case it doesn’t get published:

I disagree – to compartmentalise tablet or laptop users as either one or the other is misleading to people wanting to know about new online learning techniques based on their preferred method/device of learning. Is a laptop user, sat on a train, not mobile? Is a tablet user sat at home on the sofa still mobile, or just too lazy to turn the laptop/desktop computer on?

In an age of accessible web design, and course design, many organisations design their materials, indeed their learning platform, to offer the same experience to their students irrespective of the device used. In fact, this is key to the learning that a student is not disadvantaged for using their own device, irrespective of it’s age, operating system, screen size, etc.

And this doesn’t even cover the statement “eLearning is designed to be more static and be accessed at your desk.” Really? In this day and age, you still think that? What do you think? Am I being harsh?

Image source: Paul (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

  • Spot on I’d say. I’d go further and state that accessible learning technology should be designed to be web first and we should resist technologies that only work well as apps.

  • Mark Jasper

    That’s not being harsh at all and I think your point is all too often overlooked. The learning design is for the learner not the device. Web developers have to do this – pity them producing content for IE, but they have to. Not all technologies are equal but our learning should aim for equality.

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  • Ron in Moose Jaw

    Teach edtech to polytechnic instructors and tell them that mobile learning is intended for learning on work site/location/field. If it can be done equally as well at home or in the classroom, it isn’t mobile learning even if it can be done on a smartphone.

    • Thanks Ron. Could you expand please – I’m not sure I fully understand whether you support the distinction here between mobile and e-learning or not? For me mobile learning means as much about the individual’s attitude to their own mobility, not necessarily the device they use. You?

  • Not harsh at all. The term “eLearning” to me is very broad, and it typically includes mobile learning (unless we’re talking about a paperback or a stone tablet). Conflating “eLearning” with “poorly designed eLearning” is nonsensical.

    • Thanks Ryan. I think/hope many would agree with us, but why do I still see so many courses (MOOC platforms too) designed for the ‘do this then click next’ mentality? Hmm, going back under my rock again.

  • Shobana Jeyakumar

    Learning devices are like cave paintings or rock cut inscriptions or using or pen or pencil, paper, parchment, or palm leaf, printed book, etc. We may use any device but learning happens from within and in different ways. These external elements are the means through which we learn. And it is not learning itself. If there is desire to learn, the medium is not an issue at all. Learning will happen. All a person needs is the intrinsic motivation.

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