5 ways mobile technology is impacting digital learning


The daily and constant lamentation of the Luddite against the cell phone shows up everywhere, on TV shows, political cartoons, daily life, articles and even tweets.

Everyone is too involved in their smartphones and it’s just not good for them. While an argument can be made for social inactivity as a result of the smartphone, 67% of people report that they’re actually engaging in some manner of learning while looking at their phone (Digital Book World).

And why not? How has learning changed with the rise of the smart phone?

Immediacy and demand

Only fifteen years ago, if you were unsure of the answer to a question you’d have to physically pick up a book to get the solution. But what if you didn’t have access to more than one book? With smart phones, any question can be immediately answered, which is a form of learning. But because of information retention not being a necessarily high priority, the act of looking something up and having a question answered no longer lends itself to the memory retention it used to. This is because an individual knows that if they happen to have another question, they can just look it up again.

Directed learning experiences

The same information is often presented on different websites in different manners, directed towards a specific audience. Depending on interests and demographic, as well as critical decision making on the part of the user, two websites can host the same information, but the user will choose which one they want to learn from. Maybe it’s interactive, maybe it’s a legacy of trust with a particular publication, but these things are manufactured to directly target an individual who’s just looking to learn something.

Collaborative learning

Thanks to social media, discussion and engagement with content can optimise the ability for individuals to discuss and engage together. Online quizzes are interactive, interpersonal and deliver information in a way that engages person-to-person interaction. Websites like Quora or Wikipedia encourage the combined knowledge of people engaging with one another.

Learning by multitasking

Smartphones have allowed individuals to continuously engage with information while also doing other things like riding the bus; walking down the street; or even eating dinner. These things are now opportunities for learning while also doing something else. Podcasts and streaming videos are an example of information specifically tailored to interactive learning.

The expectation of constant access

 Individuals don’t need to visit a library or an office for information any longer, and they engage with information around the clock. Because of that, there’s a certain degree to which learning has become somewhat depersonalised, it no longer requires a librarian to do a search! Visit the ALHAUS blog to learn more about keywords and content management.