Learning on the Go - M-learning

by Linguarama 24. January 2012 03:49

Many business people travel. They spend long hours in hotel rooms, at airports and on trains. We are all under pressure to make the most of our 'caught time' and the current interest in m-learning ('mobile learning') is, therefore, completely understandable. This blog post explores M-learning, sometimes described as learning 'on the go'.

Hardware

What kind of hardware is needed? M-learning can be done using any suitable portable device. ('Portable' is the key word here). This includes: lap-tops and net-books; mobile phones and, of course, Smartphones; mp3 players, such as the ubiquitous iPod; iPads and other tablet computers. The term M-learning can also include a range of other devices, such as electronic translators and e-book readers.

Contexts

It is difficult to tie down M-learning, because it means different things in different contexts. This is not unusual; the same thing happened with terms like 'e-learning'. So, let us take a look at a few common contexts for M-learning in the business English world.

1) You decide to subscribe to a 'push' service which sends you a short text each day to your mobile phone, along with a language exercise

2) You go jogging and listen to an authentic 'podcast' from your own field on your mp3 player

3) You use a translation dictionary on a tablet device to help process the content of a meeting in real time

4) You listen to a graded reader on your iPhone or Kindle; the author reads the e-book while you follow the text on-screen

5) You and your teacher discuss your company website in-class, using your iPad

These situations are very different. The last example takes place in a classroom, for instance.

It's a good idea to think about your own learning situation and the benefits m-learning can offer. You can study 'a little and often'; make good use of 'dead' time. You can work on improving listening and reading skills effectively between classes, and consolidate the work covered in your language lessons.

A good place to start is with some of the useful apps for learning (see: recent blog post on apps). The world of M-learning is very exciting .....and that in itself is motivating!

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