I’m convinced that the future of e-learning will be on tablet devices. Not so much performance support, because you need that to hand every minute of the day and a smart phone is the obvious vehicle. But for learning, a tablet seems such a perfect fit. Since DevLearn last week, when it seemed every other person was carrying an iPad, I’ve been trying to figure out just what it is that tablets offer as a delivery medium for learning which a laptop can’t do equally as well. I’m still not really sure but here are my first thoughts:
- There is still a degree of novelty about using these devices. That will fade, of course, but for now using a tablet seems more fun, more contemporary, more engaging.
- A laptop is a tool associated with work, with all sorts of stress-inducing negative connotations. It’s a ‘lean forward’ device, goal-oriented and pressured. A tablet comes with no such baggage. It’s much more likely to be used in a ‘lean back’ mode, which is more conducive to reflective learning.
- A tablet is portable enough to use on a train or a plane, or when you’re hanging about waiting somewhere. But it has a big enough screen to display just about any learning content with ease. And screen resolution is only going to get better.
- The display on a tablet is bright and colourful. Somehow everything looks more vibrant and exciting. More importantly, you can only look at one app a time, so you’re not constantly distracted by what’s going on in other windows.
- Tablets are extremely easy to set up and use. They are computers but they don’t look like them. It’s hard to imagine a learner so technophobic that they couldn’t use one with ease.
That’s a lot of reasons, and I’ve only just started.
No wonder every tool vendor is rushing to make sure they can output to every tablet device out there, especially the iPad.