We are still in the early stages of the shift from classroom instruction and eLearning to mobile learning.
One of the most valuable documents for those learning leaders charged with investigating, planning, and writing proposals for funding mobile learning in their organization is a collection of case studies. This is because pragmatic executives who control budgets have questions like:
- How do we know mobile learning will work?
- Who already has successfully tried this?
- What all is involved in implementing mobile learning?, and
- How much is this going to cost?
Answering these questions is what Geoffrey Moore refers to in his excellent book on technology adoption as “Crossing the Chasm.”
We’ve found that case studies, when reverse engineered and abstracted to get to the core learning content and essential user experience, offer a great blueprint you can use to replicate for success – a design pattern, if you will. The author of “Designing Mobile Interfaces,” Steven Hoober, spoke on this topic at the first Float Mobile Learning Symposium.
Case studies are in many ways similar to design patterns. So, to find these successful patterns, where should you look?
In the early stages of technology adoption, there are few empirical research studies or big data collections to answer these questions, so that case studies may be the best information that we can provide to a skeptical boss. Here are three sources where you can find case studies to use in your proposals:
1) Early books and apps on mobile learning – Most early books on mobile learning include a few case studies, although many of these are pilot studies, and not full scale implementations. For example, in my book, The Mobile Learning Edge, I have included 8 case studies from different types of organizations. Float’s Mobile Learning Primer app has more than 60 examples of mobile learning apps and projects.
2) Awards programs – Check out the major awards programs in the learning and development field. Most now have a mobile learning category. You can usually find a brief description, or contact information on the companies that have won the awards. Most companies that have won awards are more than happy to tell you about their mobile learning initiatives.
3) Collections of case studies – We are now just starting to see research reports that are collections of case studies. The first one that has come to my attention is the new report from the eLearning Guild – How Mobile Learning is Done: Nine Case Studies from Around the World by Imogen Casebourne. Each case study has the following structure:
• An overview of the development approach (whether development was internal, outsourced to a supplier, or a mix of both)
• The training need that prompted the mobile initiative
• How the mobile solution worked and whether it is mobile Web or a native app
• The development tools used to create the solution
• The key outcomes of the initiative
• Key points to apply to your own thinking
With lots of graphs, charts and screen shots, this report will be of value to anyone in the planning stages of mobile learning. The report is only available to Guild members, but it is just $99 a year to join to receive all of the Guild’s more than 50 research reports.
If you have a mobile learning case study that you would like to publicize, please send it to me – gwoodill[at]floatlearning.com – and we will see that it is shared with those who are looking for case studies.