If you’re one of the 400,000 odd Australians who commutes to work on the train every day, you’d be no stranger to the fact that everyone around you is inextricably glued to their Smartphone, scrolling their Facebook minifeed like their lives depended on it. With the average Australian commute lasting between 27 and 45 minutes, that’s a lot of time dedicated to, well, voyeuristic indulgence, but not much else. Or alternatively, perhaps this is news to you. You immerse yourself so deeply in your scrolling that frankly, if an elephant hopped on-board, you’d hardly bat an eyelid.
You’d be remiss to not have noticed, however, that Australia is in the throes of a productivity crisis. Not just any productivity crisis, mind you, but one that could see Australia run out of money to pay for Medicare, welfare and education systems unless we take urgent action. Although there’s no such thing as a quick fix to such a complex economic problem, one wonders if there could be something a little bit more productive we could be doing with those 400,000 odd commuting hours per day.
As it turns out, there’s something a whole lot more productive we could be doing, and it’s about to take the world by storm. It’s called M-Learning, and it’s revolutionising learning in today’s digital economy.
What is M-learning?
M-learning, or mobile-learning, is social, interactive learning that takes place on your very own personal electronic device. Although this learning type is still in its infancy, some particularly pioneering companies, such as Teazl, are paving the way for what can only be described as a learning revolution, with their innovative new platforms and unique user-centric content. M-learning is also in many ways superior to its better-known cousin, E-learning. Here’s why:
In today’s all-communicating world, nearly 6 billion people have access to a connected mobile device. Not only does this represent approximately 85% of the world’s entire population, but it far outweighs those who can access a computer – for every one person who accesses the internet from a personal computer, two do so from a mobile. It’s fair to say that if you want you want your learning content or platform to have global reach, literally – you are going to need to do so via a mobile.
- Instantaneous Interactivity
Not only is M-learning highly accessible, it also allows for instantaneous interactivity. Learners who are accessing learning content via their mobile device are able to engage in real-time conversations with other learners anywhere in the world, via either specific learning or social media apps. The ability to interactive in this way has multiple, positive distinct learning outcomes – for example, studies show that digital interaction helps students to overcome shyness, increases their participation and engagement, and encourages them to adopt different points of view, which translates into better overall academic performance.
- Just-in-time (JIT) Learning
Remember that great project management course you took last October, and those fantastic methodologies that you learnt all about then summarily forgot?
M-learning will change that. One of the greatest benefits of M-Learning is Just-In-Time (JIT) learning. M-learning’s accessibility makes it possible to revisit, or learn, new content exactly where, and when you need it, so you can say goodbye to pointless, forgettable training, and hello to relevant, engaging, learning at your time of greatest need.
M-learning is certainly the latest and greatest way to learn – but why should we do it on the train?
The train as the ultimate learning environment
If you’ve travelled on a train recently, especially during peak hour, you’re probably thinking that somewhat distracting, noisy environment is not conducive to quality learning. However, recent research just might prove you wrong.
Distraction is ok
Peak concentration on a peak hour train is all but impossible, with a person, bag, or insidious smell constantly invading your personal space. However, contrary to popular belief, when your brain is tackling new problems, which is the very essence of any learning, distraction can actually be beneficial. Neuroscientist David Creswell found that distracted people did better on complex problem-solving tasks than those that put in a conscious effort. That is to say, the train carriage could be the new and improved alternative to the corner office for all of your upskilling needs.
Chaos is the new order
Learning is essentially about change – whether this be a change in a behaviour, attitude, or way of working. Therefore, we need to start thinking about learning the same way we think about change. Whilst both have traditionally been considered ordered and linear, researchers have found that 21st century change is quite the opposite – it is, instead, characterised by chaos.
Keeping that in mind, what better environment, and what better medium, that M-learning on the train. It combines a somewhat chaotic, distracting environment with interactive, enriching, and ultimate fulfilling learning.
So stop scrolling immediately, and start learning