The success of a mobile learning initiative is largely dependent on the knowledge and motivation of its champions. If implementers are themselves unsure of the value and benefits of mobile learning, this doubt will translate to end user confusion and resistance to implementation.
Motivation and its Role in Mobile Learning
Motivation is a key ingredient for success of any new project. Once the “newness” factor wears out, most users and students may either ignore the mobile learning facility or only use it in a limited way. While the initial enthusiasm remains it is therefore essential that users are motivated to explore as many potential capabilities as they can, to be able to find a pattern of learning that suits their personal preference and habits.
There also exists a learning curve when it comes to the adoption of any new technology. While some will quickly adapt and move on, others may resist change. It is important that the benefits of mobile learning are constantly stressed and demonstrated at this point, so that slower adapters do not lose their initiative along the way.
Young users especially, can get frustrated and give up when they are unable to achieve results they expect or do not clearly see value for the effort put it. In these cases, a buddy system, or competitions can help keep the excitement going, and provide obvious immediate benefits instead of hard-to-see long term goals.
Training and its Role in Mobile Learning
Another key component to successful mobile learning implementation is training. This is especially true when facilitators and mentors are needed to guide users. A user facing issues with their mobile learning will not necessarily approach support technicians, but will most likely ask a peer first. If the peer cannot solve the problem, the next person to be approached will be higher in the hierarchy, for example teachers or managers. It is therefore important that mobile learning facilitators are well trained in all aspects of the new technology, and become supportive to any issues that users may have early on.
Proper training will enable these personnel to be able to solve simple issues, which will not only quickly resolve issues but also help demonstrate the technology’s capability, as well its ease of use. With the exception of technical problems, if a facilitator is unable to use the technology themselves, it creates a feeling of disinterest from management, which translates into an unimportant activity in the scheme of things.
While technology provides us with enormous possibility, it must be remembered that users may be limited by personal experiences and capabilities. For adaptation and success in mobile learning, it is important to ensure that people who are using the technology are on board one hundred percent.