The 6 Most Misunderstood Myths About Mobile Learning


There are so many (irritating!) myths surrounding mobile learning.

We love mobile learning and hate to see it get a bad press, so we’ve made a quick roundup of 6 mobile myths that we feel are the biggest offenders and then present the case against them.

If you’d like to learn why mobile learning is cheaper, safer and more accessible than you have been led to believe, read on!

Myth #1: You cannot condense real learning into a 320 x 480p screen

Mobile learning has been around long enough to have developed mechanisms that allow users to acquire rich information in brief sessions.

This may soon become a moot point, as, since the adoption of tablets, there has been a reversal in the trend of shrinking screen sizes, with newer phones getting progressively larger.

Key takeaway

  • Small screens easily compete with desktops and provide you with just as much information. If you still don’t believe me, why not have a look at this example on your phone, or drag the corner of your browser window like this:

Myth #2: Mobile learning requires some serious dollars

Mobile learning, in many cases, lowers hardware costs as either your staff can source equipment themselves or they can be given a phone at a fraction of the cost of traditional platforms.

Not only is mobile learning cheaper, but also you can pass the savings on to your clients. A growing number of people are hosting online field trips to save money and ‘in many instances, the mobile data costs are cheaper than say paper and ink alternatives.’

With mobile technology, there is no fixed location. This immediately cuts the costs of real estate for both developers and institutions.

Key takeaway

  • With mobile learning you will considerably lower your costs.

Myth #3: Mobile learning is risky

Yes, mobile devices are more likely to be stolen than desktop computers, but they do also have several additional security features, and there is a plethora of Apps available for iOS and Android devices that can be used to safeguard your organization’s information (click here for some great examples).

In addition to this, for the majority of LMS providers: ‘SSL use is common (though not necessarily enforced), passwords are always encrypted and cloud-based LMS providers rarely store credit card information.’

Many people now argue that mobile learning is in fact safer than desktop learning.

The safest option to protect your learning is cloud-based technology, where courses are delivered on demand rather than being stored on the device. This means, as compared to an app, that courses can be turned off remotely, and nothing is stored on the app in question. This means that you retain control.

Key takeaway

  • Mobile learning is safe provided you choose the correct platforms and your staff are diligent.

Myth #4: Mobile devices are unsuitable for learning as they are a distraction

Learner distraction is hardly a recent phenomena, classrooms have always had their lures, and even a desktop computer that has been stripped down to only basic programs has potential diversions (who hasn’t whiled away a few hours in MS Paint when they should be working hard?)

While yes, there is the potential for distraction, mobile learning can be done at home and is free from the distractions and stresses of the workplace.

According to Ron Yaros, assistant professor of new media and mobile journalism at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism, one of the best ways to remove distractions is to encourage users to work on tablets or phones. He explains that this is because, ‘The laptop can open multiple windows, which makes it a potential distraction, as few students can resist the temptation to open up windows in the course of a 70-minute lecture’ and because phones can open only one at a time.

Key takeaway

  • The freedom of mobile technology allows you greater control over your, and your learners’ environment, the single-window device — the phone or tablet — will get you closer to success in the classroom.

Myth #5: Students with disabilities cannot use mobile devices for learning

Apple iOS is built with numerous Accessibility features, including captioning, voice over and speech functions. Android also encourage developers of Apps to be conscious of accessibility requirements. There is now mobile learning software that provides full support for screen readers and voiceover, has well-crafted semantic HTML5 to help learners understand the structure of all pages, and allows the entry of text alternatives to assist learning.

Mobile technology brings materials directly into your learner’s home, what could be more convenient?

According a Recent paper by UNESCO:

“Mobile technologies can deliver flexible and personalized learning experiences that meet the unique and varied needs of disabled learners in ways that traditional education resources and ICT cannot.”

Key takeaway

  • Embracing mobile technology is an important step in creating an inclusive, modern workplace.

Myth #6: Mobile learning is the same as traditional learning, only portable

Yes, a key selling point of mobile learning is that it is portable, but an overlooked feature of mobile learning is how this portability exposes learners to different contexts.

The context and environment of mobile learning are in constant flux allowing it to be both an extension and an accompaniment to traditional educational distributions. Learning benefits from many of the unique attributes of mobile technology such as portability, social interactivity, context sensitivity, connectivity, and individuality.

With mobile learning, your learner’s context can vary from a mundane commute or waiting in a queue to a more relevant environment or a scenario based situation.

Key takeaway

Mobile learning feels less like learning (although the reality is closer to ‘you’re never out of the classroom!’) and allows your user to be continually exposed to fresh perspectives and personalized content.

At Elucidat we eat, sleep and breathe multi-device learning. Our team has done the research and hard work solving the technical challenges so you don’t have to. 

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