M-learning or mobile learning is defined as "learning across multiple contexts, through social and content interactions, using personal electronic devices.” A form of distance education, m-learners use mobile device educational technology at their time convenience.
M-learning technologies include handheld computers, MP3 players, notebooks, mobile phones and tablets. M-learning focuses on the mobility of the learner, interacting with portable technologies. Using mobile tools for creating learning aids and materials becomes an important part of informal learning.
M-learning is convenient in that it is accessible from virtually anywhere. Sharing is almost instantaneous among everyone using the same content, which leads to the reception of instant feedback and tips. This highly active process has proven to increase exam scores from the fiftieth to the seventieth percentile, and cut the dropout rate in technical fields by 22 percent. M-learning also brings strong portability by replacing books and notes with small devices, filled with tailored learning contents.
Mobile learning is the delivery of learning, education or learning support on mobile phones, PDAs or tablets. E-Learning has provided the ability for traditional learning to break out of the classroom setting and for students to learn at home. Mobile learning has enhanced upon e-learning by taking it a step further and allowing students to learn virtually anywhere a mobile signal is available.
New mobile technology, such as hand-held based devices, is playing a large role in redefining how we receive information. The recent advances in mobile technology are changing the primary purpose of mobile devices from making or receiving calls to retrieving the latest information on any subject. "Numerous agencies including the Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Intelligence community, and law enforcement are utilizing mobile technology for information management."
Classroom applications combine the use of handheld computers, PDAs, smartphones or handheld voting systems (such as clickers) with traditional resources.
Mobile devices (such as a Pocket PC) in the classroom can be used to enhance group collaboration among students through communication applications, interactive displays, and video features.
Existing mobile technology can replace cumbersome resources such as textbooks, visual aids, and presentation technology.
Interactive and multi-mode technology allows students to engage and manipulate information.
Mobile Device features with WIFI capabilities allow for on-demand access to information.
Access to classroom activities and information on mobile devices provides a continuum for learning inside and outside the classroom.
In a literature review conducted by FutureLab, researchers found that increased communication, collaboration, and understanding of concepts was a result of mobile technology applications.
Mobile devices can be used in brick-and-mortar or online settings to enhance learning experiences.
The mobile phone (through text SMS notices) can be used especially for distance education or with students whose courses require them to be highly mobile and in particular to communicate information regarding availability of assignment results, venue changes and cancellations, etc. It can also be of value to business people, e.g. sales representatives who do not wish to waste time away from their busy schedules to attend formal training events.
Mobile devices facilitate online interaction between instructor and student, and student to student.
Blended learning takes the classroom out of a traditional brick-and-mortar setting. Students become part of virtual communities used for collaboration. Blended learning transitions away from a traditional teaching environment to a customized and interactive web platform for the user
Improving levels of literacy, numeracy, and participation in education amongst young adults.
Using the communication features of a mobile phone as part of a larger learning activity, e.g.: sending media or texts into a central portfolio, or exporting audio files from a learning platform to your phone.
Developing workforce skills and readiness among youth and young adults.
The value of mobile learning—Tutors who have used m-learning programs and techniques have made the following value statements in favor of m-learning.
It is important to bring new technology into the classroom.
Devices used are more lightweight than books and PCs.
Mobile learning can be used to diversify the types of learning activities students partake in (or a blended learning approach).
Mobile learning supports the learning process rather than being integral to it.