Tips & Tricks

Mobile eLearning Just Got More Affordable

There is a lot of buzz around Mobile Learning aka, mLearning, however the adoption of mLearning among organizations hasn’t been something that matches this buzz.

iPhone and iPad really sparked the idea of mLearning but the high cost of the hardware and Apples lack of support for Flash on their mobile devices has limited the progress with developers having to totally revamp their products for iPhone & iPad use for mLearning. Add to this the confusion regarding whether to go the vendor specific App route or use HTML5 – HTML5 as an evolving standard, support for HTML5 across browsers. The other Android based iPad competitors have not delivered and their price points are still a bit too high for those looking to adopt mLearning and it leaves the general consumer with the question, “Why not spend just a bit more and get an iPad?”

Amazon uses its massive cloud EC2 infrastructure to deliver content to it. In fact our ZenlerOnline LMS platform itself is built on Amazon Cloud/EC2 infrastructure and this provides us with great scalability. Kindle Fire includes a powerful browser Amazon Silk. Silk is a split browser that partially lives in Amazon’s EC2 cloud and partially lives in the Kindle Fire. This gives Amazon the upper hand when compared to Apple as if it works seamlessly as claimed, the users will get the advantage of the massive computational processing power of EC2 to speed up Web browsing, a challenge for most mobile devices. This helps optimize and deliver Flash files, videos and web pages faster. This helps in streaming e-learning content faster and even play complex game based learning content faster. What does this mean for those of us in the mLearning field?

In corporate America there is no doubt that good training can give a good ROI and logic only dictates that mLearning will enhance the ROI for training employees. But with developers scrambling to get up to speed without Flash and to deal with HTML5 the vast library of content is restricted dramatically. Then add to this $499 and chances for ROI are limited. Enter Amazon Kindle Fire, opening up the access to all the available learning content, making it mobile and cutting the hardware cost by $300, that’s 60% OFF! Now a good ROI is in reach and management may just give the green light to adopt mLearning for real, the game is changed! And let’s not forget that many high school and college students can now afford a tablet where as they may not have been able to afford a laptop. Add to this the ability for colleges to deploy mobile learning to the existing work force for continued education while on the go and there are some other game changing advantages present.

We are waiting to see how private and public organizations react to this development; Amazon may have really opened up some interesting options for all of us who want to get the Mobile E-Learning field moving faster. Will it help turbo charge our efforts and deliver the goods or will it be more like the other Android based tablets like HP’s Xoom that were less than stellar? The technology seems to be there and the key is the price is right, all we can do now is wait, have you pre-ordered yours yet?

About the author

Tom Burton