According to a recent survey conducted by Learning House and Aslanian Market Research, most online students are looking for opportunities to use mobile technology to support their learning. “Virtually every online college student owns a smartphone or tablet. Most students use mobile devices not only to search for their online program of study (87 percent), but also to complete online course work (67 percent). Optimizing course content and websites for mobile is vital for colleges and universities that strive to grow their online student population” (The Learning House Inc., 2018).
If you are curious about adopting mobile learning in your teaching practice, we’ve identified three steps and resources to help you get started.
Tip #1: Survey your students to learn about their mobile capabilities and expectations
Using Blackboard’s Survey tool or a Google Form, create a simple survey that asks students if they have access to mobile devices and what they would like to be able to do with mobile technology in your course. This will help you make decisions regarding what devices you are willing to support and how you may have to adapt activities and assessments for mobile learning. Typically, you will find that most mobile-using students will want to do at least these 3 things: check their grades, communicate with the instructor or their peers, and do short, self-directed learning activities.
Tip #2 Learn about mobile course design techniques and strategies
Special consideration must be given to course design and development of course materials for mobile devices. The way students access files and participate in the class will most likely differ from the traditional online class experience. Mobile students access course content in small, episodic bursts of activity. Because learning may be happening on-the-go, the student’s progress through a lesson may be interrupted at several points. Mobile students appreciate the ability to start, stop, and easily resume a lesson where they last left off. Designing your course’s mobile components into smaller chunks and designing an “open” course navigation, where the student can choose what topics to review in any order, can help your mobile-using students better manage their learning. To learn more about mobile course design and best practices, check out these resources:
- Top 5 Considerations for Creating Mobile Learning
- Universal Instructional Design Principles for Mobile Learning
- Blackboard – Designing Mobile-Friendly Courses
Tip #3 Incorporate Videos, Podcasts, and Apps in the Course
Students really appreciate opportunities to interact with course materials and peers. Provide a variety of content and tools to facilitate learning activities aligned to lesson objectives. The right app can transform a mobile device into a portable learning tool. When you choose to incorporate an app in your course, test the app out yourself to make sure it works as expected with your lesson plan. Use the following resources to search for an instructional content and apps that fit your lessons.