Mobile apps are changing how educators teach and how students access information. As schools increasingly invest in technological solutions — especially in light of the Coronavirus and the cancellation of school across the globe — mobile apps are slated for a central role in the curriculum.
This shift into mobile e-learning is a timely and much-needed help for educational organizations.
According to Harvard, student engagement is declining each year because of institutions’ focus on modes of teaching more focused on preparing students for standardized tests than practical technical skills.
“Bored” and “tired” are words that students increasingly use to describe their curricular experience.
Classrooms that include mobile technology, however, are far more interesting – especially for younger generations.
This article explores how educational organizations are investing in mobile apps to re-engage their students and enhance the learning experience.
Mobile Apps Make Educational Content More Accessible
Mobile apps are a cost-effective and flexible way to share course materials with students.
If content is online, students can access course material from anywhere and at any time.
This accessibility allows for spontaneous learning in various contexts, not just in the classroom or while doing homework.
Many schools are switching to digital textbooks and iPads to combat the increasing price of paper textbooks. While the upfront cost of iPads is high, schools hope to save money and boost the quality of education in the long-term.
At scale, mobile e-learning apps are cheaper than both paper and digital textbooks.
This affordability is because most students own a mobile device and are happy to use it. According to the Global Web Index, the penetration of mobile devices among Generation Z is 97%.
Educational institutions can provide students with mobile apps without necessarily spending on expensive tablets.
Students use the tools already available to them without having to invest further in learning material.
Varied Content Helps Students Learn
Digital content enables organizations to offer a variety of learning modules on the same budget, including videos and interactive content.
More diverse content helps educators to better engage students of every “learning style.”
Each student is endowed with unique abilities, and so, is challenged by different concepts in different ways.
For example, students who are strong readers use words to learn new ideas. By contrast, students who are visually-oriented rely on images to grasp concepts.
Unfortunately, you can’t visualize a perfect Spanish accent. Nor can a textbook provide a visualization of how to pronounce the Spanish alphabet.
Apps, though, allow teachers to provide multi-sensory lessons that are tailored to the learning capabilities of individual students, including:
- Reading (visual)
- Kinesthetic (touch)
- Auditory (hearing)
- Interpersonal (talking)
Lessons on mobile apps can improve comprehension across every topic because they are more readily understood by more students.
When students have ready access to a robust array of online content, it increases their opportunities for meaningful learning.
Mobile Apps Help to Create Engaged Learners
Multidimensional mobile apps help to make learning fun and engaging for students.
Dynamic learning is critical because “engaged learners” report higher levels of enjoyment, and, as a result, increased comprehension and retention of subject materials.
Mobile apps are already central to students’ lives, used for both fun and acquiring knowledge. This means that schools can leverage mobile e-learning apps to boost the appeal of lessons and spark engagement.
Gamification, or the use of game-like elements in apps, further incentivize participation.
In the example below, the digital magazine app Flipboard allows students to curate, consume, and discuss content from top news publications.
The app gamifies the curation of articles into three phases: seek, sense, and share. Each step is vital to help students engage critically with the information they encounter online.
Using an interface and visual cues similar to social media platforms, the app facilitates a discussion among classmates.
Students that used Flipboard displayed higher levels of engagement, enjoyment, and comprehension than those who used a traditional desktop learning platform, as seen below.
What’s more, the mobility and convenience of the mobile app increased interest and curiosity in the subject material.
Students welcome mobile apps for content consumption, making them an effective vehicle for meaningful learning experiences.
AR Creates Dynamic Learning Experiences
Augmented reality (AR) apps allow for captivating and immersive learning experiences.
AR superimposes a 3D image onto the classroom, whether an exploding volcano or a mathematical diagram.
The visual overlay helps students more easily grasp difficult or abstract concepts. Meanwhile, a compelling visualization motivates them to participate in the interactive lesson.
For example, the Froggipedia apps allows students to see and interact with the lifecycle of a frog.
Users can dissect a 3D frog to learn about anatomy or watch the 17-week transformation from a tadpole to a bullfrog. Students can test their knowledge within the app and actively interact with the animal.
Museums are also investing in AR technology to animate their exhibits and increase their appeal among younger generations.
The highly realistic graphics of AR apps help teachers to generate excitement, engagement, and boost comprehension in the classroom and beyond.
Educational Organizations Lean into Mobile Learning
Students value mobile apps as an innovative approach to education.
Schools and universities are investing accordingly, hoping to spark engagement and comprehension in their classrooms.
As mobile broadband becomes more widely available, the trend toward mobile e-learning will increase as costs lessen. Educational organizations will continue to take advantage of what mobile apps have to offer students through interactive and dynamic learning experiences.
The original version of this article was first published on Converge.