Mobile learning in massive open online courses (MOOC) is different from the traditional forms of learning as it is fragmented and heavily-dependant on collaboration.
A cloud-based system organizes learners to work as a team and customizes microlearning content to meet the personal demands in real-time. A smart learning environment ideally uses data mining techniques to understand learner behavior and offer relevant content based on the data collected.
Microlearning through open educational resources (OERs) is one of the facets of learning that is fast gaining traction among people. The focus of this system is to deliver customized OERs as microlearning nuggets to satisfy the real-time needs of learners.
The advantage of MOOC is that the course may be open to anyone who can take the course online, but the content of the course may or may not have an open license. The OER, on the other hand, refers to the course material that the learner is permitted to edit, reuse, revise and redistribute without having to pay a royalty fee to the author.
The need for cloud-based service has arisen owing to the rapid development and distribution of learning resources. This has resulted in people wanting to obtain access to online learning resources via mobile devices. This, in turn, has resulted in many leading universities opening access to their courses.
With more and more people attending virtual classrooms of online learning to access OERs, a resulting trend has emerged: open learning. Open learning is a combination of informal and formal learning that provides a high level of flexibility to learners. The learners are from different cultural backgrounds and dispersed across multiple geographical locations.
To maximize their reach, OER providers have begun leveraging mobile-based microlearning to participate in learning activities without the restrictions of time or location.
Another advantage offered in open learning is that these microlearning activities are of two sections: offline and online. Mobile users can freely download materials on their devices and perform associated tasks offline. On the other hand, learners can access OERs online to access the other part of the learning.
One of the biggest challenges in rolling out multimedia content in microlearning is the device heterogeneity. Learners use a variety of devices and switch between them, expecting seamless access to the microlearning content. This is where cloud computing helps.
Cloud computing as a solution manages, stores, and delivers different types of content – videos, texts, images, links, Web pages very effectively.
The cloud has a personal vault for every learner which handles data storage, processing, and delivery on different devices. These services run on top of a multimedia cloud infrastructure. The mobile devices will have a local copy of the learner’s content that is synchronized with the learner’s learning vault that is accessible from the Web.
Since learning and acquisition phases happen in two different devices in informal learning, seamless integration is required between Web-based tools and mobile applications to ensure learning happens anywhere, anytime.
One way is to effectively organize content in microlearning by using tags. Tagging organizes the content and the learning process in a personalized way. A microlearning model based on three core learning process: reflect, plan, and learn. The tags are further divided into six groups. Each of the core learning processes is supported by three categories of tags directly.
So, how is cloud computing redefining microlearning?
Expanding the reach
Even with limited resources, it is now possible to reach out to thousands of new remote learners via live video teleconferencing or as a podcast on the learner’s desktop.
Virtualization of learning
Earlier, if one dropped out of school or college that would be considered as the end of their educational pursuit. But with the advent of microlearning, degrees and certificates can be earned using remote cloud education.
The Internet’s free-for-all cloud has ensured that rare manuscripts and materials can be easily referenced and researched without having to visit physical libraries.
With this cloud-based solution, learning admins can now create new microlearning content, repurpose existing content or integrate new content from different sources.
The open-architecture technology, secure authentication, ease of use, and multilingual capability has shown great promise in improving learner engagement and fulfilling the diverse training needs of an organization.