Mobile Learning and Games: 3 Ways They Mix

For most of us, our phones are the first things we touch when we wake up in the morning and the last before we go to sleep at night. We know our cell phones inside and out and, whether we will admit to it or not, will jump on any opportunity to use them more. We all used to think of our phones simply as tools for communication, but mLearning is changing the way we think about our mobile devices. So the next time you get lectured at your family get-together about being on your phone too much (and with the holidays coming around, you’ll have a few get-togethers to choose from), try this response: “Sorry guys, I’m learning.” And when they ask you what in the heck you’re talking about and how you could possibly learn anything from that fancy newfangled gadget, hand them your iPad and point them toward our blog.

mLearning games are accessible anywhere.

mLearning games are accessible almost anywhere.

Mobile learning games provide knowledge on the go

According to the Pew Research Center, cell phones are winning the popularity contest over computers – while 76% of Americans own a computer, over 85% own cell phones. Even more shocking still: those numbers are from 2010. With mobile access becoming more widespread, we are placing our bets that mobile learning is here to stay. Adding games to the devices we already take with us everywhere adds one more element of appeal. Not only do we use them for communication,  but now we can use them for entertainment and learning as well. The mobility of cell phones allows us to be connected wherever we are – from waiting in line at the grocery store to laying on the beach. mobile learning games provide us with the convenience of instant access to information, but deliver it in an engaging way. When we’re hungry for quick “snacks” of knowledge we can look to our mobile devices and easily get our fill (for a reminder on snack learning see 6 Mobile Learning Trends That Grew in 2012). Our game, The Knowledge Guru, is great for quick access to information in a fun way and it’s mobile in every sense of the word since it’s compatible with any device you own. Its mobility allows you to start the game on your iPad at home and finish it on your iPhone on your lunch break, making learning and entertainment right at your fingertips, no matter where you are.

mLearning games provide entertainment that produces learning results.

mLearning games provide entertainment that produce learning results.

2. mobile Learning games are enjoyable – and produce results

Take a look at where you’re sitting right now and chances are you will spot someone within a 10-foot radius that has a cell phone. Almost 90% of Americans own cell phones and whether they are calling, texting, e-mailing, tweeting, or Angry Bird-ing, almost all 90% are constantly glued to their screens. There’s something magical, almost addicting, about our phones that makes them highly motivating and pleasurable for us. Now think about games. What do we love about games? They too are highly motivating and fun for us. But what’s the only thing more motivating than cell phones or games? Games ON our cell phones. It’s ingenious to add something fun to something we already find entertaining and it can be easily explained with this simple math equation:

Fun(mLearning) + Fun(Games) = More fun(mLearning games)

Think of the mechanisms behind successful games: they are engaging, social, give us new experiences, etc. – very similar to the experiences our phones give us. There are endless mLearning games out there that teach you about things like math and English, and then there are the ones that teach you about important stuff, like football (Play Gridiron Guru for some fall football fun!). Studies show that when we are engaged in a game we are more likely to not only learn from it, but remember and apply it to our lives. The effectiveness of mobile learning games, when designed properly, is incredible.

mLearning games are social.

mLearning games provide social interaction through scoreboards, messaging and multi-player options.

3. mobile Learning games are social

The simplicity of mobile learning games make them universally enjoyable and relevant to all age groups, leaving almost no one out of the loop. Prices of smart phones have dropped tremendously over the past few years, making them accessible to a wider population of users. We use our cell phones to be social. We make phone calls, send and receive text messages or pictures, and even send and receive e-mails, but when people think of technology games they think of them as isolating. That’s where we beg to differ. mobile learning games can be extremely social experiences, allowing for communication and competition through leader boards, multiple players, and instant message features. The Knowledge Guru keeps things social by having multiple leaderboards that allow players to see how their fellow competitors are fairing. Clever design that incorporates the social aspect of games is important for an effective experience that keeps players coming back for more.

 

  • ulrikeR

    Good post! Kids, and adults too, have lots of ways that to learn, and mLearning is a great addition since our phones and tablet have become constant companions. Day in and day out our brains are wiring or re-wiring to learn from computers and mobile devices (rather than just from textbooks or other print), so this is a trend. And, as you say “when we are engaged in a game we are more likely to not only learn from it but remember and apply it to our lives.”

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