Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Richard Clark: mLearning on multiple devices: a practical guide at mLearnCon

Again blogging live, so excuse me for short sentences, mistypes...

A very intelligent and sharp minded man with glasses, with kind gestures to give energy to his words, mainly elaborating with iPhone examples.

He will talk about strategy if you want to make native, or near to native applications.
First: what role do these mobile phones play in your strategy? what is it aimed for? what do the other academics, organizations do? how do you support it? these things are set on a mini video with possible feedback (says Richard Clark) E.g. use the CellCast player (
mLearning platforms: you could use mobile podcast to keep people up to date.
Turning up your web development skills, will enable you to prepare cross platform content for smartphones.

Key questions to ask: comfort level with technology, approach (direct instruction (not really great learning, dixit Richard, for mobile learning), performance support, gateway to existing), online versus offline (sync issues), range of devices (take into account the lowest version of the operating systems), fidelity to device conventions.

Learning objectives: each module should be linked to one particular learning activity. So taking the main objectives apart and paste them with different sub learning objects with relevant learning activities. A quick reminder of the overall linkage of all the learning objectives works enlightening and repetitive for learners.

interesting: instapaper (interesting online, offline page reader, for iPhone, iPod, iPad)
Apple: when launching the 4.0 version of the OS, apple launched a different developers agreement: for the OS4.0 you can ONLY use apple development software and developer tools. This is done so the adoption of Apple OS4.0 would not be held behind by 3rd party software, and also to keep the look and feel of Apple sofwares.

development options: front end - back end: common data, built-in viewer, common data, custom viewer. Cross-platform: lowest common denominator and no common denominator.
Webkit: apple, RIM (just bought a company which will make the new blackberry phones probably full webkit), google, Nokia, some of WebOS from Palm.
So if you use the Webkit for testing, it will be 85 to 95% cross platform: local database, html5...

Development options 2: html5 + javascript, html + graphics + javascript.
Tools: appcelerator ( great analytics which is embedded in the framework, with lots of data on the use and access of your users) = logic in javascript + user interface in html or Rhomobile = logic in Ruby, programmatic UI in Ruby (I would go for the first one).
If you are going to build cross platform be sure not to get only into the logic of one OS more than another.

Testing: unit testing using javascript (with program for getting bugs out), simulator-based testing (with for instance EggPlant (testplant: = automated test protocol, that will save an enormous amount of pain and time, remote device testing (perfecto mobile, inge look it up), manual testing versus VNC-based tools.

Or like it was mentioned in the mLearnCon program: Unlike e-Learning on the desktop, where a couple of platforms predominate (Windows and Mac OS X), mobile platforms come in many different forms with differing programming requirements and user interfaces. Unless a developer is going to go for a simplistic “lowest common denominator” approach, he or she will have to find a way to create, test, and maintain the same application on multiple platforms.