MobiMOOC: Mobile Project (Re)Definition

I am currently participating in a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on the topic of Mobile Learning- MobiMOOC. It is a true collaboration of professionals at different phases in developing mobile learning to help each other forward their craft. I am running behind in a task assigned last week: to draft a plan for mobile learning. When starting MobiMOOC, I had a general idea for a mobile project. Yet, the “big questions” even prior to diving into the plan template, gave me pause. What do you really want to do with mobile learning? Let me be clear: I am defining a project for my maiden voyage into mobile learning, not a larger, ambitious, long-term plan for mobile. I thought to be modest for my first project. I wanted to convert a set of the most commonly purchased courseware and develop it for mobile delivery. I hope to design it to: [list style=”arrow” color=”blue”]

  • work on a fairly wide range of devices (tablet, cell, iOS, Android, etc…)
  • be available in 3 languages (English, French, Spanish)
  • be priced extremely low (less than $5)
[/list] In looking at web courseware in general- and specifically mobile- I feel there is opportunity for low-cost, quality courseware available a few target languages. What gave me pause were comments like “mobile learning is so much more than just elearning on a mobile device”, and demands for informal/community learning. I agree with both statements. Yet, I am not certain these elements are (always) necessary. We know the web is much more than “text under glass”. Websites can be highly personalized, social, functional… …but the fact remains that the actual bulk of web content is still just content (mainly text) made widely available. Currently, we are seeing traditional (dying) publishing leveraging mobile by charging for subscriptions to their mobile-optimized content-and it doesn’t even really do anything (no interaction, functionality, tracking). It’s just paid subscription content access. What should every good plan contain? I have seen the plan template from MobiMOOC, and planning resources from Clark Quinn’s book, Designing mLearning (a recommended read), and the application from Float Learning. I feel they cover all the major elements required (audience analysis, instructional┬ástrategies, technical considerations, evaluation plan, etc.). Yet, I still struggle with the baseline concept. Is the bullseye for my project off the mark? Or is there a valid need for getting fairly traditional elearning (quality content with some assessment and tracking) converted to mobile? Is moving elearning content onto mobile platforms without significant re-engineering or redesign “not enough”? What are the needs/opportunities in this area? I would like to hear your comments/thoughts on the plan, but wanted to share my thoughts. I have felt for some time that there is a great deal of content that is fairly “generic” across organizations, regardless of industry or size. I have seen literally hundreds of these courses developed, sold, and purchased across many organizations (both as a vendor and purchaser). What bothers me, is at their core, the baseline content and objectives for these generic subjects are the same: teambuilding, management, leadership, time management, delegation, negotiation, communication, meeting management, business acumen, financial literacy, and project management (and any subject within PM like Quality, Scheduling, Defining Scope), and many more. Price point varies significantly depending on the subject matter, media complexity, and branding. But generally quality providers start at approximately $25/offering to over $1000/offering. Pricing is per language. Most do not offer mobile options at this time. I have worked on the vendor side at a 2 Corporate Universities (business divisions of a University that private-label their campus courseware for deployment to corporate markets) and a few training development organizations. I have also been on the purchasing end. Currently, I work with an organization who buys a tremendous amount of content from several leading vendors for multiple subjects to support over 100 international training departments. [blockquote type=”blockquote_line” align=”left”]For 80% or more of the content in these “generic” subject areas, there is essentially no difference- at least from a learning outcomes perspective[/blockquote]The most common trend that I see in all these experiences: For 80% or more of the content in these “generic” subject areas, there is essentially no difference- at least from a learning outcomes perspective. Why not recognize this, and develop quality, affordable resource that are flexible for deployment, offered in multiple languages, and cost-effective? I had planned on doing it for traditional desktop computing, but doing it for mobile should be more inclusive. I have felt for some time that too many organizations are spending too much money for essentially generic content with equivalent learning outcomes. I think there is an opportunity to offer a quality product at a fair (low) price to deliver the same learning outcome in a more flexible medium. Will the training be a custom-fit solution for your organizations specific needs in this subject area? No. But neither are the other resources being purchased in most cases. Could your organization use this content to develop and measure a common baseline literacy and skillset in these subject areas? Yes. Can your organization then commit it’s development resources to the 20% of unique learning and activities to further the baseline skills and extend the learning to the specific context and application that drives maximum value within your organization? That is my goal. So, is this anywhere near the mark, or have I missed it completely?