Corporate Mobile Learning

Corporate Mobile Learning

Corporate Mobile Learning Introduced

by Mark Sivy, Ed.D.

Mobile learning is infiltrating many corporate training efforts as the new strategy to innovate talent development and to facilitate the goals of modern corporate universities. Among those who are familiar with adult learning theory, the use of this latest approach to enhancing employee and leader skills and knowledge is well suited to addressing Malcolm Knowles’ Five Assumptions of Adult Learners.

Mobile LearningAdult Learning Theory

Malcolm Knowles (1913-1997) was an educator and researcher who popularized andragogy, which is the art and science of adult learning. In his work, Knowles’ (1984) developed his assumptions that described that adult learner as someone who:
• Is independent and wants to direct his or her learning.
• Owns unique life experiences that serve as a basis and resource for learning.
• Has learning needs that are associated with his or her personal and professional roles.
• Is focused on solving problems or challenges and expects the immediate application of learning outcomes.
• Has an intrinsic motivation to learn.

By providing individuals with on-demand access to knowledge and skills development, mobile learning readily tackles the adult learning needs expressed in these assumptions.

Mobile Learning Broadly Defined

An agreed upon definition for mobile learning is as elusive as those for many other contemporary terms such as e-learning, virtual learning, and web-based learning. For purposes of orientation to mobile learning, we built upon the 2008 Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) description of educational technology. So mobile learning can be comprehensively explained as “the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance through various contexts and interactions by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological and educational processes and resources.” From this rudimentary definition, one can see that mobile learning incorporates complex relationships between multiple factors.

Some keywords in this definition are:
• Study – having knowledge of learning theory and research that are associated with the use of educational technologies.
• Various Contexts and Interactions – these can provide abundant learning opportunities, but also present many of the unknowns, barriers and issues that can arise.
• Ethical Practice – increasing the likelihood of attaining intended learning outcomes by being responsible, maintaining a respect for of learner abilities and progress, applying appropriate methodologies, and using principled intentionality when innovating.
• Appropriate Technological and Educational Processes and Resources – even with a valid need guiding the selection of technology and instructional methodology, the combined implementation can sometimes result in instructional complications and learning issues if the overall strategies are not well-planned.

personalized learningMobile Learning in Action

Mobile learning is playing an increasingly important role in the corporate learning process by providing the means for convenient learning using a broad range of mobile devices (e.g. laptops, tablets, and smartphones) at a time and location of the learner’s choice. When offering learning opportunities for adults, mobile learning provides such advantages as access to on-demand content, self-directed learning, and the individualized incorporation of new knowledge with existing experience. These experiences can be facilitated by personalized learning and flipped training.

21st Century Learning ideals are facilitated by mobile learning. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has been at the forefront of providing a basis for the remodeling and modernization of instruction, learning and curriculum. Regardless of whether learners are K-12, higher education, or adults, the Partnership’s renowned publication, P21 Framework Definitions document, provides a list of skills that mobile learning can leverage and enhance. These include innovation, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, digital literacy, working in diverse teams, productivity, leadership and managing one’s own learning.

Instructional needs, the ability to facilitate intended learning, and learner access to mobile devices should guide the implementation of mobile learning strategies. Properly trained IT staff are needed for the installation, maintenance, and administration of backend systems. Talent development is necessary to prepare instructors to produce learning through positive and engaging experiences. Finally, mobile learners need understandable guidelines and readily available support.

Reflection Point: “I absolutely think we need to give people access to material where and when they need it. It’s imperative to have a mobile learning strategy and that’s even more important with emerging generations. But I’ll add that when I talk to my peers who are in global companies, nobody has one.” ~ Karl-Heinz Oehler



Association for Educational Communications and Technology (2008). Definition. In A. Januszewski and M. Molenda (Eds.), Educational Technology: A definition with commentary. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Knowles M. S. (1984) Andragogy in action: applying modern principles of adult education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass; 1984.

Educational Technology

Educational Technology – Some Thoughts

By Mark Sivy, Ed.D.

Let’s first take a look at the AECT (2008) definition for educational technology:

“Educational technology is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources.”

What should be realized about this definition is that it deviates from a commonplace and superficial notion that educational technology refers to the hardware, software, and devices that can be used for learning. Instead, it is a much deeper and thought-provoking reference that is focused on the theory, process, instructional systems, instructional design, and practice that are behind properly using technology to facilitate learning. But alas, all too often it’s the case that educational technology is selected and implemented along the lines of the initial rather than the latter perspective. This common approach frequently comes with much frustration and expense, and results in mediocre outcomes at best. But this is an entirely different conversation that I’ll get to in a future blog post…

Serious GamingIdeally, learning would occur without the recipient experiencing boring or mundane teaching practices that so often plague a classroom or learning environment, whether in a physical space or online. As Plato (The Republic, Book VII) once said:

“No compulsory learning can remain in the soul…In teaching children, train them by a kind of game, and you will be able to see more clearly the natural bent of each.”

This statement by Plato brings into consideration the early recognition of participatory experiences for learning. This approach has been persistent through time, although in practice it is taken on many forms. A modern example of interactive learning that uses educational technology is serious gaming. Wideman, Owston, Brown, Kushniruk, Ho, and Pitts (2007) assert that:

“The personally meaningful and valued social and material worlds in which game learning takes place may be ‘virtual’ from an outsider’s perspective; however, they have a psychological reality for the player that directly mediates the player’s level of immersion, persistence in the face of challenges, and intrinsic desire to learn.” (p. 11)

Educational Technology

There is no question that the application of technology has played an important role in education for centuries. The study and implementation of educational technology began rapidly evolving during the latter part of the twentieth century when the microcomputer became a common device. In 1979, Barette envisioned that “teachers as well as students would be accessing huge machine readable files from their school library media centers and from home.” In the 35 years since, the use of computers for educational purposes went from being a novelty to now being a necessity that has been embraced by the academic community.

Today’s educational technologies enable participatory learning that benefits from interactive teamwork and social construction of information via online programs and systems. Combining the benefits of technology with online social interaction, McLoughlin and Lee (2007) state that not only do social software tools support social interaction, but they also support collaborative learning through the sharing of concepts, ideas, and services. These new educational technology capabilities have issued in a new and evolving realm of online education that involves community-based learning Tim Berners-Leeand the co-creation and coalescence of knowledge. In 2001, this hypothetical concept was referred to by Tim Berners-Lee, James Hendler, and Ora Lassila as the semantic web, whereas today it’s sometimes better known as Web 3.0, which continues to unfold.

Reflection Point: “The Semantic Web is not a separate Web but an extension of the current one, in which information is given well-defined meaning, better enabling computers and people to work in cooperation.” ~Tim Berners-Lee



Association for Educational Communications and Technology (2008). Definition. In A. Januszewski and M. Molenda (Eds.), Educational Technology: A definition with commentary. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Barrette, P.P. (1979). Microcomputers in education. Compute! 1(1), p. 33.

McLoughlin, C. and Lee, M. J. W. (2007). Social software and participatory learning: pedagogical choices with technology affordances in the web 2.0 era. Proceedings Ascilite, Singapore 2007, pp. 664-675.

Wideman, H. H., Owston, R. D., Brown, C., Kushniruk, A., Ho, F., and Pitts, K. C. (2007). Unpacking the potential of educational gaming: a new tool for gaming research. Simulation Gaming 2007, 38(10), 10-30.