In today’s 21st century, when you look around, everything has evolved so much from a chunky black and white television set to a slim and classy touch screen LCD with a 3Dimension visual feature. Having a pager was the epitome of cool before the advent of the first mobile phone, and later overlaid by the appearance of smart phones, tablet computers all around the world.
These technologies are opening ways to more engaging and interesting ways for learning to take place. If you are into learning, I am sure you’ll be interested to read the below articles on mobile learning.
eLC is planning for our yearly retreat sometime in the third quarter of the year where everyone enjoys a little of fun, team building and not forgetting our reflections and review on the company’s progress. More updates on our retreat will be uploaded soon. Stay tuned!
We all are living in an advanced information and communication technology world where we can get whatever information we require, at anytime wherever we are. Unknowingly, each of us may have entered a new phase of learning with the use of mobile devices, commonly termed as mobile learning, which is sometimes described as “Learning on the go with knowledge in hands”. This is why we have a new found love and addiction for our mobile gadgets and smart phones. With a variety of smart phones available in markets based on various operating systems ranging from Apple, Windows Mobile, Blackberry to Android and Symbian, one can also find a whole new era of infinite applications with a wide array of choices right at our fingertips. With loads of dynamic and creative applications to suit our needs for entertainment, infotainment, business, education and much more while we are on the move, mobile learning (mLearning) has opened to us a whole new world and further expanding on the potential and benefits of eLearning.
mLearning Development for iOS
“I am interested to go into Mobile Learning and would like to know more about building an Application (App) on the iPad/ iPhone. How do I go about it?” Let me provide you with some knowledge and tips on how you can create an App.
iOS SDK (iPhone Operating System Software Development Kit) as shown above is the world’s most advanced mobile platform, redefining what can be done with a mobile device. The iOS SDK combined with Xcode program tools make it easy to create Apps that perform features never before attempted. iOS 4 delivers several new multitasking services that allow your Apps to perform tasks in the background while preserving battery life and performance. With the Apps Store present on every iOS device, and localised around the world, there is simply no platform more compelling for mobile developers.
iOS is a powerful foundation which is derived from the proven core of Mac OS X. It has been streamlined to be compact and efficient, taking maximum advantage of the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch hardware. Technologies shared between iOS and Mac OS X includes the OS X kernel, BSD sockets for networking, and Objective-C, and C/C++ compilers for native performance.
iOS delivers a wide-range of graphics capabilities, ranging from comprehensive 2D drawing to accelerate 3D rendering and direct access to the system’s video playback and capture capabilities. Accessible through high-level frameworks, these capabilities make it easy to create gorgeous animations and transitions within your App’s User Interface.
Some tips when creating an App
My first involvement with iPad development was an excellent learning process where I learnt how to create an eLearning courseware and database system using iOS SDK. Here are some tips when developing an iPad/ iPhone App:
1. Go through the notes that are provided in the internet or library before you start to develop an App.
It is important to do research before you start to develop an App. You have to understand what iOS SDK is and how it works. You must know what are the types of media that the iOS supports. Other than iOS SDK, you must also learn how to code Objective-C language which is the most important part to handle your App’s behaviour.
2. Plan out the flow of your App as detailed as possible before beginning.
It is a good habit to come up with a flowchart of how your Appis going to work. It provides guidance when the Appis being programmed and minimise guess-work on what the next step is.
3. Always test out the App on your device before further development.
If possible, test your App on a device after you have done some parts of the programming of the App. If it does not work on the device, you would have to re- check the coding at that stage. It will prevent you from making any major debugging when you come to the end of the development.
4. Create a backup copy of your App project at least once a day.
Always have the original or latest copy of your workable projects backup before doing any amendments on your current copy of the App. Sometimes your projects will get messed up and you would not be able to figure out what are the changes that caused it. At least there is a backup copy to fall back on.
5. Avoid inserting many media in your App.
Mass media insertion will crash the program while you run and build your App on the device. If you want to insert animated graphics, it will be advisable for you to use video or self-animated graphics, instead of using arrays to store all the images and call each graphics one by one.
6. Always get more resources from internet.
There are plenty of online resources such as sample codes and tutorials. It will help and give you some of the guidelines while developing your App.
Below are some examples of the Apps for mLearning that we have accomplished.
To conclude, many people are using handheld devices such as iPad and Galaxy Tab and mobile phones such as iPhones, Android and Window phones. PCs or laptops are less accessible as they are heavy and bulky to carry around. Therefore, mLearning allows the user to access most of the Apps anytime and anywhere compared to using a laptop.
You will have an excellent learning experience in developing mLearning Apps on iPad devices. Good luck in developing your own Apps!
Graphic on Mobile Devices
What do people normally do while they are taking MRT? What do people normally do while they are waiting for a bus? Mobile devices like iPhone, Blackberry, and Android phones are commonly used nowadays. They are everywhere! From a device that was used purely for conversations in the past, now people are using it for their working purposes, leisure entertainment, social networking, online shopping and learning purposes. Thus, designing the graphics for the applications in these mobile devices does play an important role.
How to design a graphic for mobile devices?
Take a look at the above examples of the different mobile devices with different display screens and resolutions. Graphics cannot be simply designed in one size-fits- all for those different devices. Stated below are considerations that a graphic designer needs to take note before creating the graphics.
Look, how do you fit a 720 by 540 pixels courseware to a 480 by 320 pixels iPhone- sized screen? Designers must find a way to make the graphics fit perfectly to the sizes of the devices. Should you design a smaller and single colour button on a colourful background? Perhaps designing an attractive button on a monotone background will be more eye-catchy.
Tips: Depends on the applications' genre you do, it must suit the theme. Try to put yourself in the user's shoes; you will have better idea on what is best suited for your design.
Next, the other thing to notice is the font type and size. Notice the few font variations on top. Which typeface to choose? Whether to use Serif (e.g. Times New Roman), Sans serif (e.g. Verdana), Script (e.g. Chopin Script) or Decorative typeface (e.g. Flowerchild)? How about the font size? Font size variations can give a different feeling of which is more important in the graphics.
Tips: No matter how nice and beautiful is the look, the choice of font must be readable.
Type of image
See the comparison of the image quality of GIF and PNG. Do you notice the difference in the quality of the two images? Obviously, PNG is better than GIF. PNG results in a better image quality with a “not so big” file size, while GIF generates a smaller file size with a “not so good” image quality.
Portrait or Landscape
There's a G-sensor ability from most mobile devices. G-sensor allows the orientation to go portrait or landscape depending on how one holds their mobile device. Here, designers need to take note whether they want to create a graphic which can be positioned either portrait or landscape, or a graphic which can be positioned only portrait or landscape.
Note: Blackberry does not have G-sensor.
It's a challenge for the graphic artists to design on mobile devices because the designs must be suitable on which mobile devices they are designing on. Mind the difference of graphic content, font type, and type of images. Al together, it'll give a better design result.
We have shared with you more on mobile learning which creates more interactions in learning than traditional methods. With all the smart phones and tablets in our world of learning, these technologies make it more flexible and exciting for learning to take place in the near future.
In addition, you have learnt about the benefits of advanced technology in creating mobile learning with some good tips when creating an App. I hope these tips are of great use when you are creating your own too for mobile learning. Lastly, not forgetting about graphics for the App; Pointers like font, type of images and orientation on going portrait or landscape should be considered carefully when putting it into mobile device.
If you have further adds-on with your experiences in mobile learning or any other feedback relating to Apps, do drop them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So what extra edge does mLearning have over eLearning?
“The major drawback of almost every currently existing eLearning platform is the mobility of its users”.
“Mobile learning differs from eLearning in its delivery and duration”.
mLearning content have a different design approach from eLearning.The content is delivered on small handheld devices with small screen sizes and so the design of the content need to consider the user learning experience from that aspect. Thus, its absolutely essential that the content is in small bites. The content also needs to be engaging and interesting to bring back the user to read for more because mLearning is fragmented. In addition, another aspect which requires relook in the design of mLearning, which differs from eLearning, is how information hiding is designed. As the use of a mouse gives more flexibility and combinations of uses like mouse over and mouse double clicks, mobile devices are more rigid. Conventional mouse clicks and mouse overs will not work as well as with touch screens, but the touch screen seem to bring users “closer” to the content.
However, aside from the constraints, the mobile devices are definitely more handy; they fit easily in our pockets or handbags. We get an easy access to learning without any time constraint. It makes learning enjoyable and on demand whenever we want, on the train, in hotels, at home or anywhere through our handheld devices. mLearning’s advantage of “the just in time learning” is a value addition to formally structured eLearning courses. as it quickly allows us to access the content in the time of need and urgency.
Let us take an example of actual use and outcome to illustrate: You go through an eLearning course about a recipe “How to make pizza?”. But when you are back in the kitchen and trying to make it, you may have forgotten the exact proportion to prepare the dough and run back to your eLearning courseware on your desktop to review. Returning again to the kitchen and you get stumped at the next step of setting the right temperature for the oven. Compare this situation to if you had your smart phone right beside you. You can apply theory to practical then and there. Thus “mobile learning integrates learning strategy with overall performance and complements formal learning with informal learning, social learning, and performance support as compared to eLearning”. (Bill Arthur, June 2011: Why you need a mobile learning strategy?).
The future of mobile learning is inevitable and new technologies would play a huge role in the growing mLearning market. Already, there are numerous applications for your smart phones, which bring to you interactive learning content, assessments and performance scores so that you can assess yourselves on the move. I believe that mobile learning could be a huge factor in getting young adults to engage in learning, where more traditional methods have not succeeded much. With smart phones and tablets, our world of learning has become more mobile, more flexible and much more exciting and there is more to come in the near future.