The universal advice for m-learning is to keep it short.
The argument is that workers these days are busy professionals with the attention span of a juvenile gnat, so anything longer than a few minutes won’t be effective.
I don’t buy it, but I am in the minority.
Nonetheless, I recognise the benefits of this approach. Shorter content is quicker to develop, and single files like MP4s are easy to produce.
Regular snippets are also useful for reinforcing key messages, assessment, post work, and bridging the knowing-doing gap.
However, I also think this approach is limited.
Although it leverages modern technology – namely, smartphones and tablets – this kind of m-learning remains traditional “push” training. Of course push training has its place in the broader learning model, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. In a true learning organisation, the vast majority of learning is pulled.
So I propose we turn the prevailing notion of m-learning on its head…
Let’s think less in terms of “training” and more in terms of “performance support”. Create the content once in a central repository (such as a wiki or an intranet) where it can be searched, explored and discovered on-the-job, and just-in-time if need be.
This approach accommodates multiple devices (mobile or otherwise), without the need for multiple authoring tools or the production of multiple content packages.
It also facilitates a more constructivist mode of learning, which one may argue is the pedagogical foundation of the 70 in 70:20:10.
Of course the pull approach to m-learning relies heavily on standardisation. Wikis, intranets, VLEs, LMSs etc must be mobile friendly for the paradigm to work.
In other words, these repositories must be compliant with international mobile standards so that we can accommodate the myriad of devices, browsers and operating systems that m-learning entails.
And we can turn this on its head too. If we all build content on standards-compliant platforms, suddenly the onus is on all those devices, browsers and operating systems to accommodate us.