A year ago, skeptics were doubting the value of learning through a cell phone. When McGraw-Hill released its “mConnect” open-standard mobile learning platform aimed at emerging markets, some tech pundits, presumably who sit at computers all day, were finding it difficult to think in any way other than sitting in a classroom or staring at a monitor for instructor-led education.
That’s before everyone became addicted to their iPads and education apps started multiplying by the thousands. On January 19, Apple kicked off its education event in New York releasing iBooks 2 and highlighting its iTunes U app, which made the limitations of traditional textbooks – namely that they’re dry enough to be a fire hazard, terribly dated and incredibly one-dimensional – painfully clear.
Textbook traditionalists might not have been like me, spending more time doodling in the margins than reading the copy between them. They might have been able to memorize the dates and formulas they read as printed in chapters. But a decade of working with online students has proven that you have to meet them where they learn best. Active learning is always the best kind of learning.
Even if you’re not ready to fill your professional development training program with iPads, remember the classrooms of 20 years ago were different places than they are now. New learners learn differently and expect to have access to information and quick feedback. As you think about the way you present information to students, be ready to meet their expectations and embrace the innovations that are proven to keep them engaged.