Tuesday, October 30

Wave Riding Theory - a fresh look at learning technology adoption

Is there a gap between mobile learning theory, and practice?

How should teachers decide which approaches, technologies, or approaches to adopt with their mobile learning?

As part of my session at MobiMOOC 2012 we explored some of the current theories often applied to m-learning, trying to map them to practice.

Together with my team, we have been deeply involved in mobile learning (both envisioning it, and making it) for over 11 years, but very little of that time has been spent in pure theory, so it was an interesting exercise mapping some of the current theories to live examples, and then discussing with the attendees where the gaps lay (and how we might bridge them)

In the process, we realised that the most crucial step any practitioners needed to take was realising that mobile is coming at them whether they are ready or not. It is not a flood that can be stopped, more a wave that needs to be ridden! This wave-riding theme kept growing, as we discussed the different approaches to coping with the myriad of available devices and approaches, until it became a theory in it's own right!

Wave Riding Theory

The basic tenet of this, is an awareness that mobile consumer technologies are rushing towards us whether we are fully prepared for them or not. Already, more smartphones are sold than PCs, and a huge majority of our learners will use their mobile device as their primary reference / communication / collaboration tool (even if it is for Facebook!)

Rather than try to hold back the tide, our role as educational-techies is to help practitioners learn how to ride it. The wave is rushing at us regardless. It won't wait till we have perfected our art. Instead we just need to jump on, and learn as we ride.

We used this surfing-metaphor to look at various aspects of mobile learning, to extract our key advice. The next slides show advice both for Learning Designers, and for Implementers:

1: The importance of trial and error. Start small. Practice. Keep improving.


Start small. Practice. Keep improving.

2: Keeping supple and flexible.


Keeping supple and flexible

3: Building in resilience. Prepare for the unexpected.


Building in resilience

4: Success is as ART as much as a science.

mobile learning as an art

What do you think? Does the wave-riding metaphor work for you?

The mobiMOOC attendees certainly thought so, encouraging me to do this post, and proceeding to work with us to develop their own top tips for m-learning practitioners

I hope you find them useful!

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