m-learning or mobile learning is defined as "learning across multiple contexts, through social and content interactions, using personal electronic devices.”:page 4 A form of e-learning distance education, m-learners can use mobile device educational technology in many locations at their time convenience.
M-learning technologies include handheld computers, MP3 players, notebooks, mobile phones and tablets. M-learning focuses on the mobility of the learner, interacting with portable technologies. Using mobile tools for creating learning aids and materials becomes an important part of informal learning.
M-learning is convenient in that it is accessible from virtually anywhere. M-learning, like other forms of e-learning, is also collaborative. Sharing is almost instantaneous among everyone using the same content, which leads to the reception of instant feedback and tips. This highly active process has proven to increase exam scores from the fiftieth to the seventieth percentile, and cut the dropout rate in technical fields by 22 percent. M-learning also brings strong portability by replacing books and notes with small devices, filled with tailored learning contents. In addition, it is simple to utilize mobile learning for a more effective and entertaining experience.
Mobile learning delivers e-learning on small form factor devices to:
- Deliver education materials and promote learning
- Faster communications and collaboration
- Conduct assessments and evaluations
- Provide access to performance support and knowledge
- Capture evidence of learning activity
Today, any number of portable devices can quickly and easily deliver and support these functions. Cell phones or smartphones, multi-game devices, personal media players (PMPs), personal digital assistants (PDAs), and wireless single-purpose devices can help deliver coaching and mentoring, conduct assessments and evaluations (e.g., quizzes; tests; surveys and polls; and certifications), provide on-the-job support and access to information, education and references, and deliver podcasts, update alerts, forms and checklists. In these ways, mobile learning can enhance and support more traditional learning modes, making it more portable and accessible. Mobile devices can also serve as powerful data collection tools and facilitate the capture of user created content.
New mobile technology, such as hand-held cellular based devices, is playing a large role in redefining how we receive information. The recent advances in mobile technology are changing the primary purpose of mobile devices from making or receiving calls to retrieving the latest information on any subject. "Numerous agencies including the Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Intelligence community, and law enforcement are utilizing mobile technology are utilizing mobile technology for information management." 
- Class management
Mobile devices(such as a Pocket PC) in the classroom can be used to enhance group collaboration among students through communication applications, interactive displays, and video features.
- Existing mobile technology can replace cumbersome resources such as textbooks, visual aids, and presentation technology.
- Interactive and multi-mode technology allows students to engage and manipulate information.
- Mobile Device features with WIFI capabilities allow for on-demand access to information.
- Access to classroom activities and information on mobile devices provides a continuum for learning inside and outside the classroom.
In an experiment to make learning mobile through the use of tablet computers, 32% of 8th grade students at Stone Middle School found that they were more engaged in the classroom and had a better understanding of course material. In a literature review conducted by FutureLab, researchers found that increased communication, collaboration, and understanding of concepts was a result of mobile technology applications.
Blended learning combines brick-and-mortar schooling with online delivery of content and instruction. Mobile devices provide support that enhances teaching and learning in a virtual classroom environment.
- Class management
Mobile devices are used both in the brick-and-mortar setting as well as in the online setting to enhance the education experience.
- The mobile phone (through text SMS notices) can be used especially for distance education or with students whose courses require them to be highly mobile and in particular to communicate information regarding availability of assignment results, venue changes and cancellations, etc. It can also be of value to business people, e.g. sales representatives who do not wish to waste time away from their busy schedules to attend formal training events.
- Mobile devices facilitate online interaction between instructor and student, and student to student.
- Blended learning takes the classroom out of a traditional brick-and-mortar setting. Students become part of virtual communities used for collaboration. Blended learning transitions away from a traditional teaching environment to a customized and interactive web platform for the user 
Podcasting consists of listening to audio recordings of lectures. It can be used to review live lectures (Clark & Westcott 2007) and to provide opportunities for students to rehearse oral presentations. Podcasts may also provide supplemental information to enhance traditional lectures (McGarr 2009) (Steven & Teasley 2009).
Psychological research suggests that university students who download podcast lectures achieve substantially higher exam results than those who attend the lecture in person (only in cases in which students take notes) (Callaway & Ewen 2009).
- Learning in museums or galleries with handheld or wearable technologies
- Learning outdoors (e.g. On field trips).
- Continuous learning and portable tools for military personnel.
M-learning in a workplace can be very different from a school's context. Although employees do occasionally attend face to face training events, the majority of work-based learning happens on the job, often at the moment of need. Because of this, m-learning is being used in a wider range of modes:
- On the job training for someone who accesses training on a mobile device.
- Just in time training to solve a problem or gain an update.
- Performance support. Immediate access to tools to streamline a work-task
- Reference guides and ebooks
Due to the very diverse training needs across a large organisation, self-serve learning is more common than is found at the school, or college level. Mobile is seen as an effective way to reach a large number of employees easier and more effectively.
Game-based mobile learning can benefit your workforce training in the following ways:
- Increased accessibility to training for remote workforce and sales team members
- Increased learner engagement levels
- Improved skill retention
- Faster turnaround on training materials
Lifelong learning and self-learning
The use of personal technology to support informal or lifelong learning, such as using handheld dictionaries and other devices for language learning, is an approach that is not to be overlooked.
Mobile technologies and approaches, i.e. Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL), are also used to assist in language learning. For instance handheld computers, cell phones, and podcasting (Horkoff Kayes2008) have been used to help people acquire and develop language skills.
- Improving levels of literacy, numeracy, and participation in education amongst young adults.
- Using the communication features of a mobile phone as part of a larger learning activity, e.g.: sending media or texts into a central portfolio, or exporting audio files from a learning platform to your phone.
- Developing workforce skills and readiness among youth and young adults.
Analysis (costs / benefits, forecast)
The value of mobile learning—Tutors who have used m-learning programs and techniques have made the following value statements in favor of m-learning.
- It is important to bring new technology into the classroom.
- Devices used are more lightweight than books and PCs.
- Mobile learning can be used to diversify the types of learning activities students partake in (or a blended learning approach).
- Mobile learning supports the learning process rather than being integral to it.
- Mobile learning can be a useful add-on tool for students with special needs. However, for SMS and MMS this might be dependent on the students’ specific disabilities or difficulties involved.
- Mobile learning can be used as a ‘hook’ to re-engage disaffected youth.
- Relatively inexpensive opportunities, as the cost of mobile devices are significantly less than PCs and laptops
- Multimedia content delivery and creation options
- Continuous and situated learning support
- Decrease in training costs
- Potentially a more rewarding learning experience
- Technical challenges include
- Connectivity and battery life
- Screen size and key size
- Meeting required bandwidth for nonstop/fast streaming
- Number of file/asset formats supported by a specific device
- Content security or copyright issue from authoring group
- Multiple standards, multiple screen sizes, multiple operating systems
- Reworking existing E-Learning materials for mobile platforms
- Limited memory
- Risk of sudden obsolescence 
- Social and educational challenges include
- Accessibility and cost barriers for end users: Digital divide.
- How to assess learning outside the classroom
- How to support learning across many contexts
- Content's security or pirating issues
- Frequent changes in device models/technologies/functionality etc.
- Developing an appropriate theory of learning for the mobile age
- Conceptual differences between e-learning and m-learning
- Design of technology to support a lifetime of learning
- Tracking of results and proper use of this information
- No restriction on learning timetable
- Personal and private information and content
- No demographic boundary
- Disruption of students' personal and academic lives
- Access to and use of the technology in developing countries
- Risk of distraction 
Over the past ten years mobile learning has grown from a minor research interest to a set of significant projects in schools, workplaces, museums, cities and rural areas around the world. The m-learning community is still fragmented, with different national perspectives, differences between academia and industry, and between the school, higher education and lifelong learning sectors.
Current areas of growth include:
- Testing, surveys, job aids and just-in-time (J.I.T.) learning
- Location-based and contextual learning
- Social-networked mobile learning
- Mobile educational gaming
- Delivering m-Learning to cellular phones using two way SMS messaging and voice-based CellCasting (podcasting to phones with interactive assessments) 
- Cloud computer file storage 
According to a report by Ambient Insight in 2008, "the US market for Mobile Learning products and services is growing at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.7% and revenues reached $538 million in 2007. The data indicates that the demand is relatively immune from the recession." The findings of the report indicate that the largest demand throughout the forecast period is for custom development services, content conversion, and media services and that the healthcare sector accounts for 20% of the total US market for mobile learning.
Technologies currently being researched for mobile learning include:
- Location aware learning
- Point-and-shoot learning with camera phones and 2D codes
- Near Field Communications (NFC) secure transactions
- Sensors and accelerometers in mobile devices in behavioral based learning
- Mobile content creation (including user generated content)
- Games and simulation for learning on mobile devices
- Context-aware ubiquitous learning
- Augmented reality on mobile devices
- Mobile performance support
Mobile devices and personal technologies that can support mobile learning, include:
- Smartphone, an aggregator of most of the following technologies
- Handheld audio and multimedia guides, in museums and galleries
- Handheld game console, modern gaming consoles such as Sony PSP or Nintendo DS
- Personal audio player, e.g. for listening to audio recordings of lectures (podcasting)
- Personal Digital Assistant, in the classroom and outdoors
- Tablet computer
- UMPC, mobile phone, camera phone and SmartPhone
Technical and delivery support for mobile learning include:
- 3GP For compression and delivery method of audiovisual content associated with Mobile Learning
- GPRS mobile data service, provides high speed connection and data transfer rate
- Wi-Fi gives access to instructors and resources via internet
- Cloud computing for storing and sharing files
- Mobile web and Mobile Appsfor the dominant content formats for Smartphones
- Instructional simulation
- International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning
- Offline mobile learning
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