Today, the world has its atlas shrunk on the six-inch screen where everything is accessible from anywhere. The education system is no exception. Learning has become quite advanced and dynamic with the use of handy electronic gadgets, thus increasing the importance and need to develop an online education app.
The story is not new –reported by Rossing, Miller, Cecil, & Stamper, back in 2012, mobile learning had benefited both teachers as well as students. But, today, the latest tools and cloud ERP have powered the education system to effectively manage student and syllabus information by automating the entire process.
It is an undeniable fact that mobile apps today integrate and combine texts, audios, and videos enabling smooth interaction among participants. Even further, such a facility is at a global scale and it is not dependent on any platform. Web and mobile is an omnipotent way of delivering education and learning. With mobile web access growing approximately 20% a month, mobile internet growth is eight times more than the desktop-based.
Two types of virtual learning exist today – Wired and Wireless.
The in-town and distance learning has a thin line difference left; hence, educators should evaluate these two models based on six factors –
- The course content and its data handling
- The feedback of students and teachers for evaluation
- Student support service availability
- Live streaming and bandwidth availability
- Interactivity between students and students-teachers
- Privacy and security
As these factors help you decide the technology platform for mLearning or eLearning, here are a few more dimensions you must carefully evaluate for a long term aspect.
- User-friendliness for both students and educators
- Technical feasibilities and device limitations
- Didactic effectiveness and results
- Long term cost-effectiveness
Dynamics of education or eLearning mobile applications
The next generation education asks for a collaborative and enhanced environment that is vigorous in data handling and smooth on live streaming. The integrated digital ecosystem includes a number of stakeholders such as students, admin, parents, educators, and teachers.
With eLearning industry had already crossed USD 200 billion in 2019 and is likely to touch more than 8% CAGR between 2020 and 2026, the education sector has to revamp the learning process by keeping student-centric eLearning apps.
Personally, I believe that handling such challenges, especially when the users (in India specifically) are new, is a daunting task. The key factors include –
Seamless ecosystem: with the number of stakeholders increased, the platform should be integrated with special accesses and privileges for students, parents, educators, and lecturers.
Foolproof evaluation: it can go for both students as well as teachers. Monitoring and evaluating performances based on predefined criteria would bring in transparent evaluation.
Hybrid learning: old habits die hard! Though traditional classroom learning is obsolete, keeping a small gate open for it along with the contemporary approach of digital learning would make eLearning experience objective oriented.
Flawless streaming: with remote areas still facing bandwidth challenges, live streaming is still a tough nut to crack; having an option of lower ‘Gs’ for internet bandwidth looks clumsy but the only resort.
Adaption of mobile and web apps education
There have been a lot of high-profile global initiatives focusing on the distribution of devices such as One-Laptop-Per-Child (OLPC) and World Ahead. Locally, there are programs to gift devices, as well as instances of policies that promote education through mobile apps in countries like Spain, Ireland, and Singapore.
The majority of initiatives are small-scale and led by institutes, aim to discover or establish the possibilities forecasted for mobile gadgets in education settings. While some sustain and expand, others fade out or vanish into the thin air. They heavily depend on a lot of paperwork, discussions and suggestions, and authority intervention; increasingly, such initiatives are also on the radars of governments and larger firms, who are well equipped to take over or commercialize them.
The future of mLearning relies majorly on the degree of social acceptance it gains. On the other hand, users from developing countries also look for accessibility and affordability, as those in developed countries do. The wireless and mobile technologies open up access to education to learners who have no direct access to classroom learning or are restricted to go to schools and institutes due to pandemic or social distancing.
Mobile devices are quite affordable as compared to traditional eLearning equipment such as desktops and laptops. It is not a secret anymore that mobile learning is now considered a mainstream revenue stream by a lot of education firms; also, while progress has been there with a plethora of education mobile apps, but adaptation and training lag behind.
Dimensions for policy-makers
Every single minute, there is an advanced technology adding features to smartphones. The tech companies have shown their ability to timely meet challenges by redefining their strategies to transform the educational paradigms by developing the best E-Learning Apps. Here are a few recommendations for policymakers.
Utilize existing investment: the existing investments and strategies should be used to bring in new dimensions. Changing the entire infrastructure and policies would cost us an arm and a leg.
Think globally, act locally: the local contexts of the region make a lot of difference in adapting mobile Learning. There is no one criterion to consider because different policies and strategies work differently in different countries.
Inclusive mobile learning education: the policies and planning of mobile education or eLearning should be equal to all genders and walks of life including disables. Meeting website and mobile app standards and compliances for visually impaired should be kept in mind.
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