A conversation with a colleague prompted a reflection. The topic was personal learning, and in looking for my intersections (beyond my love of meta-learning), I looked at my books. The Revolution isn’t an obvious match, nor is games (though trust me, I could make them work ;), but a more obvious match was mlearning. So the question is, how do we do personal knowledge mastery with mobile?
Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Most of what you do on the desktop, particularly social networking, is doable on a mobile device. And you can use search engines and reference tools just the same. You can find how to videos as well. Is there more?
First, of course, are all the things to make yourself more ‘effective’. Using the four key original apps on the Palm Pilot for instance: your calendar to remind you of events or to check availability, using ToDo checklists to remember commitments to do something, using memos to take notes for reference, and using your contact list to reach people. Which isn’t really learning, but it’s valuable to learn to be good at these.
Then we start doing things because of where you are. Navigation to somewhere or finding what’s around you are the obvious choices. Those are things you won’t necessarily learn from, but they make you more effective. But they can also help educate you. You can look where you are on a map and see what’s around you, or identify the thing on the map that’s in that direction (“oh, that’s the Quinnsitute” or “There’s Mount Clark” or whatever), and have a chance of identifying a seen prominence.
And you can use those social media tools as before, but you can also use them because of where or when you are. You can snap pictures of something and send it around and ask how it could help you. Of course, you can snap pictures or films for later recollection and reflection, and contribute them to a blog post for reflection. And take notes by text or audio. Or even sketching or diagramming. The notes people take for themselves at conferences, for instance, get shared and are valuable not just for the sharer, but for all attendees.
Certainly searching things you don’t understand or, when there’s unknown language, seeing if you can get a translation, are also options. You can learn what something means, and avoid making mistakes.
When you are, e.g. based upon what you’re doing, is a little less developed. You’d have to have rich tagging around your calendar to signal what it is you’re doing for a system to be able to leverage that information, but I reckon we can get there if and when we want.
I’m not a big fan of ‘learning’ on a mobile device, maybe a tablet in transit or something, but not courses on a phone. On the other hand, I am a big fan of self-learning on a phone, using your phone to make you smarter. These are embryonic thoughts, so I welcome feedback. Being more contextually aware both in the moment and over time is a worthwhile opportunity, one we can and should look to advance. I think there’s much yet, though tools like ARIS are going to help change that. And that’ll be good.