Monday, July 09, 2012

Ubiquitous Learning With Mobility

Micro-learning refers to the design of learning interventions using Mobile devices commonly referred to as Mobile learning, the recent buzz of the virtual learning domain. Many organizations are experimenting with this new and ever evolving technology to exploit its benefits. The most significant aspect of this tool is its availability and accessibility. The brands and quality may vary extensively, but the basic gadget is there with almost everyone. The urge to utilize this technology in various domains is obvious, and the education and training industry is no exception.

The benefits of learning on the move range from accessibility to addressing a vast audience and the various forms of interactions leading to a rich learning environment. However, the learner on the move operates in a continuously changing information sphere. This has led researchers of technology-mediated learning to deliberate on the appropriateness or otherwise of learning interventions that best suit mobile devices. With the challenge of learning keeping pace with changing technology, the concept of Micro-Learning emerged as a major research area. Although relatively new, this domain promises positive change by considerably reducing mobile learners' cognitive load.

As one of the sub-domains of educational technology Micro-learning concentrates on designing learning as small steps in media-centered learning environments comprising facts, concepts, processes, or procedures, which together cover a macro curriculum independently or in conjunction with other learning modes. The design of Micro-learning incorporates five dimensions. These are:
  1. Time (a learner can spend)
  2. Content (small judicious components to address the short timeframe)
  3. Curriculum (self-contained micro curricula covering a macro curriculum)
  4. Media (varying nature of the media for Micro-learning)
  5. Learning Type (varying learning styles and domains)

The benefit of using these Micro-learning components is the ability to incorporate learning in a learner's routine activities rather than making it an independent and additional activity for the learner.

The size micro may vary with domain and learner context. Therefore, Micro-learning demands a paradigm shift from common models of learning to newer models keeping in view micro dimensions of the learning process. Micro-learning being an evolving domain does not have any strict definitions or coherent uses of the term yet. However, the increasing focus on Micro-learning activities is evident through the activities of internet users.

Micro-learning finds its use in various domains, and perhaps, it is the best approach for many. One example is a project comprising globally spread employees, some working in the field, others travelling regularly, and some overseeing the project. Other examples include upgrading knowledge about the features of a new product or process, providing just in time and just enough knowledge, and so on.

There are, still many unanswered questions, to which researchers of this domain are striving to find answers. Some of them are the extent of independent micro learning effectiveness to address macro curriculum, tracking and evaluating learners, especially in the offline mode, and the right place for micro learning in the overall learning domain.

Technology Integration Lab
Sceda Systems

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