Mobile technology increasingly creeps into people's everyday lives. As smart phones, PDAs, tablet PCs, and net books continue to develop and increase in functionality, application developers continue to experiment and offer new apps that not only entertains but also increases productivity.
Elearning or electronic learning is just one sector where mobile technologies are rapidly gaining ground. The new term, mlearning or mobile learning, encapsulates the concept fully. It's learning on the go, in your pocket, and on hand any time, anywhere.
Enthusiasm for the new learning approach is met by the rise in e learning authoring tools developed for mobile applications. Some of these are:
Lectora is an authoring tool that is not specifically configured for mobile learning but the result can be accessed on most mobile browsers like Safari on the iPhone, iPad, iPod and Skyfire on the Android. Key features of this e learning authoring tool are the templates that are especially made for iPhones and iPads; Automated tools for spell check, HTML errors, Media Library, etc.; easy programming-free authoring and publishing; and so on.
Mobile Learning Environment (MLE)
Developed by GoKnow!, MLE allows educators to manage student's activity including assessment and data back-up via mobile devices. The authoring tool is especially made for K-12 students.
Chalk Pushcast Software
Unlike most mobile apps where the iPhone and iPad take center stage, this software is made especially for the BlackBerry smart phone. A special feature includes a plug-in for PowerPoint presentations where trainees or employees can review lectures or talks anywhere. The authoring mode is similar to a regular PowerPoint interface and presentations may include graphics, video or audio.
SumTotal's Toolbook include templates tailor-made for healthcare training, soft skills training, compliance training, and so on. The mobile features are compatible with a lot of mobile web browsers including Safari and Firefox, It also takes advantage of the drag and drop features of the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
HotLava LMA (Learning Mobile Author)
The software supports multimedia content like videos, graphics, audio, etc. Java enabled PDAs like PocketPC, Palm, etc. can access the content as well as smart phones using XHTML like the iPhone.
Vcom3D Vcommunicator Authoring Suite
Vcom3D developed a number of specialized mlearning applications like Sign Smith that uses 3D avatars that effectively perform correct sign language instead of just pictures that can't fully convey accurate sign language. Their e learning authoring tool offers Language and Culture Learning, Custom Character Development, Scenario-based Online Learning, and Performance Support.
Veodia is a video capturing tool that uses MPEG4 format that can be broadcasted on iTunes for use on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
The components of iQpakk include management system for administrators, import and export capabilities for ecourses, multimedia support, etc.
Mobile learning authoring tools enable students and trainees to continue or supplement the formal education they receive in class or in training sessions. This allows for a more comprehensive learning experience as well as beneficial to retention. Mobile learning also allows learners to make use of their idle time such as long queues at the bank or long walks to stimulate their mind and in so doing, become more productive.