I'm on the plane, just leaving Las Vegas and the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
From an elearning perspective I can sum up the show in one word: MOBILE! Now, of course, by mobile I'm talking both tablets and smartphones, which both offer their own special advantages (tablets offer enough real estate to do full-blown courses--while smartphone screen sizes lend themselves more to rapid reference tools and quick drill-downs of full courses).
This is in stark contrast to CES last year, where most of the Android tablets didn't even work. This year, you can play console quality multi-player games that look just like my son's X-Box games. And here, I can let you in on a small secret. The huge change isn't just Android, but the new Snapdragon integrated-processor from Qualcomm. They're the first chip manufacturer to put the CPU, GPU, 3G/4G, camera and about 8 other things on a single, low-power chip. As manufacturers like Intel and NVIDIA begin to catch up, you'll likely see a kind of processor wars taking place.
But let's get back to mobile devices for elearning! wslash recently did a survey of nearly 1,200 learners, asking them about mobile devices.
You can see from the image above that 78% of participants agree or strongly agree that they would use an iPad or other tablet as a sales tool in the retail environment. Likewise, 67% of them would use a smartphone to brush up on selling features. The age goes from 20 something to 60 something in this survey, with the median age being from 36 to 45--so, running against common wisdom, it's not just the younger generations who get excited about technology. I can also tell you that, in a telephone pre-survey 82% said they had smartphones or would buy one the next time around. Also, 25% currently have an iPad or other tablet. These numbers are huge, folks!
This past year wslash did a bunch of smartphone courses--put the QR code right in the desktop course! And we did a number of tablet courses, too. We also developed a device sniffer, that tells the LMS what kind of device is asking for a course, so everyone gets the right experience--desktop, tablet, or smartphone.
mLearning? For the past several years, mlearning has meant phones. It's time to adjust that thinking. A few years ago, tablets didn't even exist--now they're about to dominate. And if you think you can ignore tablets, think again. In the near future tablets are predicted to be outselling desktop computers. And for most users, you can see why. Light, portable, powerful--and where elearning is concerned, perhaps the most important aspect is that content comes to the learner, no matter where they are!
Want a little more proof that moblie learning is coming like a tsunami? We're just starting on a course that being produced in desktop, tablet, and smartphone formats--in 16 different languages. With our usual 3D avatars and simulations, it's a good thing the media designers are handling that one, and not me!