Last week we visited the Nursing and Midwifery School at Staffordshire University to road-test our mobile e-learning ideas and technologies. We introduced Destiny MOOC e-learning courses designed specifically for mobile to students to expand their learning opportunities and encourage interaction with online courses via mobile.
As introduced in a previous blog post, the European Union-funded Erasmus+ Destiny project is an EU-wide MOOC platform, of which Bitjam is a partner. MOOCs – or Massive Open Online Courses – offer a novel way to provide everyone and anyone access to online education. The Destiny MOOC learning management system is based on the popular Moodle with a key focus on mobile accessibility. In case you missed it, Moodle is a learning platform designed to provide educators, administrators and learners with a single robust, secure and integrated system to create personalised learning environments.
The students who took part in the user testing were very positive about the idea around compact mobile learning experiences. One student reflected “This means I can learn while I’m on the train, neat!!”
Bitjam partnered with Erasmus+ on the Destiny Project as it provided an opportunity to integrate healthcare and education resources to expand the use of technology in the public sector. E-learning courses made purely for mobile are shaping the future of education as they’re easy to use, accessible to all and provide tools for learning that can be carried around in pockets and used on the go. Destiny is particularly useful for health and social care learning as it’s also a noticeboard for news and updates, such as details about local relevant study clubs.
Bitjam’s role has ranged from gathering and analysing MOOC data, developing the web platform and recently developing the Mobile friendly learning management system. Creating a platform that is easy to navigate and creates a strong UX has been crucial to the success of this project.
These days, people want everything fast. Shopping, communication, money, knowledge. It’s all available at the click of a button. Some may argue this dilutes the experience, and the ease of which the user is rewarded creates bigger demand. This is reported to be putting pressure on pretty much every industry to come up with new and innovative ways to access their services. However, this demand for harder, better, faster, stronger can be more innocently translated in to a desire for improvement. A hunger to grow and develop.
MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are an interesting technological development for the education sector as they have been created, basically, in response to ethical pressures. Nobody should be denied access to an education, and the internet has created an enormous and high-speed gateway to learning on a global-scale. These days you could live in Timbuktu and still stream Ted Talks! MOOCs have enabled people around the world to learn and develop their skills, free of charge and with incredibly easy accessibility.
We believe great thing can happen when Moocs can be available on your mobile phone. People carry an incredible amount of resources around in their pocket, available to extract information at the touch of a button. We should focus on this mobile small scale consumption of knowledge rather than forcing people into the tired model of classroom replication.
Learners respond extremely well to bite size courses, so the ability to learn purely from their mobile phones adds to the appeal and nurtures the desire to gain more knowledge and insight in to subjects that interest them. For some, this may be The Kardashians, but for every KIMYE there’s the next Stephen Hawking accessing knowledge, information, and most of all, confidence.
So what’s next for MOOCs? Perhaps a focus switch to building mobile platforms before tackling desktop. People interact differently with online learning compared to offline. They tend to consume little and often so MOOC technology needs to adhere to this way of learning. While the intention may be there to develop their knowledge, if they’re not able to gratify this in an instant, they may become distracted and move on to something else. People spend hours of their day, shopping using their mobiles, socialising using their mobiles, learning using their mobiles. We want to feed this creativity by giving them access to the platforms they need to keep on growing.
Bitjam are keen to be involved in projects that seek to improve access to information for the masses. Helping people to grow and develop is one of the fundamental reasons behind the existence of Bitjam, and our understanding of this type of study is unrivalled in the area. We have developed a number of educational apps and platforms already, that involve researching the end users needs and we advocate designing education software for mobiles.