Finally, a much needed book for instructional designers -- and those who work with them -- to think outside the course and to ask the right questions. - Judy Brown, Mobile Learning Researcher

Designing mLearning: Tapping Into the Mobile Revolution for Organizational Performance

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Mobile devices are here, there, and everywhere. Can we use them to support learning? The answer is a definite “yes”! Mobile provides a new channel for learning -- whether it be formal or informal -- and offers unique properties for just-in-time, just-in-place learning. But it’s not about augmenting learning, it’s about augmenting performance. Because mobile is not about courses, but instead supports a broad definition of learning, including innovation, collaboration, research, design and more, generating new products, services, and problems solved. Whether providing needed tools, augmenting learning, or connecting individuals, mobile is a powerful new tool for supporting performance.

What can you achieve with this book?

This book provides a comprehensive basis for you to take advantage of mobile learning. It approaches mobile learning from a fundamental perspective, helping you understand and appreciate the rich opportunities that mLearning presents. The book briefly reviews the history of learning from a broad perspective and then goes on to survey the breadth of devices available in today’s market, equipping you with appropriate ways to think about and pursue mobile learning.

mLearning requires some new perspectives, and a variety of ways to think differently about the opportunities are presented to help shake up your thinking in productive ways . The book addresses the process of designing, delivering, and deploying mobile solutions, along with organizational pragmatics, to guide you through your mobile projects. Finally, discussions of strategic implications and a review of coming directions keep you prepared for the future. Examples help ground the concepts throughout the book.

How is the book organized?

This book is designed as the key resource for those interested in mobile learning, or mLearning. It is primarily intended for those involved in organizational learning, but is also designed to serve as both a guide for institutional learning and as a textbook.

The coverage is intended to address mLearning at both a conceptual and pragmatic level. At the conceptual level, the book provides frameworks about learning and performance support at the top level and in a wide variety of less comprehensive ways to think about mobile learning. At the pragmatic level the book provides both examples and tools to help guide mobile design.

The book is organized into four sections: a brief introduction about why mLearning is important, a deep dive into the foundational knowledge you need to be ready to ‘think’ mLearning, detail around the pragmatics of mobile development, and finally some of the larger context and trends and developments to be aware of. Within each of these sections are chapters that reflect major categories of information to be covered.

The coverage is broken into four sections and fourteen chapters as follows:
  • I. Why mLearning introduces the topic via:
  • 1. Overview of why mLearning
  • 2. Details elaborates on that overview
  • II. Foundations provides a broad coverage of ways to think about mLearning:
  • 3. A Brief History of Learning & Cognition revisits learning
  • 4. The Technology It’s Not About provides an overview of mobile devices
  • 5. Getting Contextual looks at mobile learning in various settings
  • 6. Getting Concrete provides a number of elaborated examples
  • 7. Mobile Models presents a wide variety of ways to conceptualize mLearning
  • III. Brass Tacks gets into pragmatics of mLearning
  • 8. A Platform to Stand On presents the benefits of an infrastructure approach
  • 9. Mobile Design provides coverage of Analysis and Design
  • 10. The Development It’s Not About covers development issues
  • 11. Implementation & Evaluation discusses implementation and organizational issues
  • IV. Looking Forward provides a strategic view and coming trends
  • 12. Being Strategic presents a performance ecosystem view of technology in organizational learning
  • 13. Trends and Directions covers current trends and likely convergences
  • 14. Get Going (Mobile) is a call to action
The book is designed both for reading and as a reference. The first four chapters, at least, should be read to ground thinking about mobile. Readers should then decide whether they would like an overview (Chapter 5), examples (Chapter 6), or a variety of concepts (Chapter 7). Chapter 7, in particular, should be thought of as a repository of sparks to mobile thinking. The third section, chapters 8 through 11, is to be used as a guide when an mLearning initiative is being considered. The final section is for those who want to look at mLearning as a component of both organizational strategy and in society as a whole.

The audience for this book is not only instructional designers but also developers, media experts, managers, and anyone with responsibility for supporting performance in organizations. While the focus is largely on the design of solutions, there is enough support for the reasons to think mobile, and the organizational issues to assist the larger agenda of mobilizing the organization.
There are questions at the end of most chapters that are intended for the reader to check their understanding and prepare to develop and deliver mobile learning.

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