Background information: The below argument is based on applying mobile learning at my work in a community college.I am sure I will face far more than 3 challenges when implementing mobile learning. I tried to group the challenges I will face under three big groups:
(1) Managing the Change: Introducing mobile learning in my organization follows the usual change resistance that poses multifaceted challenges. The first one, is the buy-in from top management to allocate resources to support the project. The second one, which is the most fundamental, is the required shift in the educational paradigm from “knowledge resides in the brain” to the notion that “brain knowledge is augmented with outside knowledge”. The third one is the shift in assessment paradigm from “students should be assessed based on a norm that is determined by the curriculum” to a new paradigm that allows students to grow based on their own talent and abilities. The fourth paradigm shift is from “students should learn on their own” to “learning happens through social interaction”.
(2) Training and Resources: Using mobile devices will require a lot of preparation work to ensure its success. Basically, it is a two legged race. The first leg-work is to train and/or educate the instructors on the usefulness of mobile devices in learning and the different approaches that could be applied. The second leg is to identify the right mobile tools and resources that are suitable for each program or course. Most of the available mobile resources did not reach its mass suitability for the learning process. They are still device and operating system dependent which poses technical challenges that most educators would like to avoid. At the moment, the only two effective educational tools are the eReaders and the social media tools. Unfortunately, most publications used in education does not promote a mobile-friendly format, and social media is not widely accepted as a learning tool.
(3) Study Habits: Another major challenge is the acceptable mode of study. The widely accepted and recognized approach to learning is that it requires organized, preplanned, dedicated study and in most cases, quiet time. It is still very difficult for many educators to comprehend studying in a different mode. Since mobile learning encourages studying during unplanned idle time, anywhere and on demand, addressing this shift at the teacher level, on the curriculum level and the assessment is a major hurdle that I hate to face.
While reflecting on mobile learning, I recognized that our focus should shift slightly when thinking about the use of mobile devices in learning. The focus should not be on the hardware, the operating System nor interfaces only. The focus should be on its ability to offer “social media” services. Will anyone buy a wireless phone if it does not offer texting, Facebook interfaces, or any of Google gadgets?
Consequently, Social Media should be considered when discussing mobile learning! Your thoughts? I leave you with this video to give you more insight on the topic: