In 2015, Ofcom (the regulator of telecommunications in the UK) announced that we now live in a smart phone society.
The facts make for interesting reading.
- 60% of adults in the UK owned a tablet
- 93% of adults owned or used a personal smartphone
- 71% of adults lived in a ‘mobile only’ household
Whereas we used to watch TV, listen to the radio, or read the paper, we now surf the web instead. In fact, we spend on average 30 hours and 42 minutes per month surfing the internet on a PC or laptop.
Changing the way we live and learn
The digital revolution has touched every facet of life. From paying bills online to learning online, it seems like there is nothing that is not powered or driven by the web. Our homes are becoming smarter and that often means improved efficiency and effectiveness.
When it comes to learning, some course providers and educators have been slow to keep pace with the digital revolution.
While the majority of students access their learning materials using tablets and smart phones, course providers do not always ensure that their materials are optimised for mobile use.
Students are increasingly telling educators and course providers that they want to stay connected in their mobiles, and that they feel more confident when using their mobile devices to access information.
As a student, how can you improve your learning outcomes by using your smart phone or tablet? And how can learning providers change to encapsulate these wants and needs? Here are five suggestions.
#1 Podcasts, Audio and Video
There are different methods of accessing material. You can read a book or a piece of text, watch an explanatory video or listen to a series of informative podcasts. There is an ever-increasing array of formats through which information can be accessed.
Forward-thinking course providers are producing amazing material, including white-board animations, podcasts and other kinds of downloadable audio material.
As a student, you can access this information and listen or watch wherever you feel most comfortable.
#2 Discussion, Feedback and Assessment Tools
To measure your progress, course providers will assess you in many ways. Some courses have a series of written assignments that need to be completed, or there may be an exam at the end of the course.
There are various assessment processes, and they all have their value. Increasingly, modern technology has opened up different assessment avenues, all of which you can access and complete on your mobile device.
Forum discussions are a terrific way you to consolidate your learning, and for your tutor to assess the issues that the group still struggles with, who is not quite engaging on certain topics, and who needs more support.
Feedback improves your performance, just as your feedback improves the course. Discussion opens your eyes to what others think and believe, all of which can be accessed via your mobile device.
#3 Creating and Submitting Assignments
Some creative teachers are questioning – why do assignments on home learning courses have to be completed on a PC?
They don’t! This is is why some creative learning providers are turning to video and podcasts as a means of assessing learners. Smartphones and tablets can be used to take photos, create and edit videos, and to produce creative pieces of work that develop key skills and reinforce knowledge.
#4 Learning and Student Forums
Learning is about embracing new skills and enhancing knowledge in your chosen field of study.
That said, it can be overwhelming, and full of obstacles and challenges. Even with great support from family, friends and colleagues, your fellow students can appreciate your struggles.
Learning forums and ‘boards’ are fantastic for linking with other students, building a support system around you and your studies.
#5 Digital Format for Accessing Complex Information
Some information is complex – graphs, diagrams, images etc. – and data heavy. Accessing this information on your mobile device can be tough, but with QR codes the learning provider can give you everything you need in one, scannable box.
These QR codes can remain accessible and active for a long time and are useful on printed materials as well as on online course materials.
Mobile devices and technology can help us become better, more effective learners, and that can only be a good thing. Do you agree?