Friday, 23 December 2011

mLearning is set to become a $9.1 billion industry - what is your game plan?

In our last post we discussed big questions to think about when planning a Campus wide mobile initiative, including:

  • Ø      Understanding potential bottlenecks
  • Ø      Be diligent in your upfront planning
  • Ø      Be aware of scope creep

This week, I’ll socialize the value of the untapped education mobile app community and the potential opportunity this creates to drive incremental revenue.

It is hard to imagine that four years ago there was no app store – no angry birds and no easy way to consume mobile apps on the fly. I cringe to think about the 3 hour plus car drive with my six year old without mobile technology.  

Her world revolves around Phineas & Ferb, Scooby Doo and smart mLearning apps like PBS Kids. Learning can take place anywhere – in the class room, at home and on the go. 

The same mobile device also contains Daddy’s stuff like my honey do list, social media, hobby apps, (guitar tuner / chords) games (WSOP) and TV Shows. (BSB) Add in my productivity apps, calendar, emails X3 accounts (personal, family - work) and workflow apps (expense approval / travel approval) - my device is an essential extension of my life. It is the medium that I use to interact with my friends; (Facebook / Foursquare) track updates (Twitter and LinkedIn) and communicate via SMS / TXT. 

In the case of a College or University student, accessing information relevant to their academic institution at the touch of a button is an expectation. How the content is delivered and managed greatly impacts the student’s experience and interaction with each school. In a recent survey by the University of Colorado Boulder (and other US local Institutions) provides a glimpse into the lives of students using mobile.

Based on this study we should consider 10 guiding principles when developing mobile apps for higher education.

Ø  Keep it simple and straight forward (minimize registration / sign in)
Ø  Students – grew up in digital & internet age (great creative –use media mix – audio and video)
Ø  Students are social (identify news ways to connect to their peers)
Ø  Empower the Student ( crowd sourcing – keep admin accountable – report on facilities via LBS)
Ø  Integrate with Campus systems (SIS, Admissions, Bookstore, Varsity and Library)
Ø  Allow for content submission
Ø  Provide a framework where applications are easily accessible vs. having to discover and find them
Ø  Provide value added services (bus schedule, community news, electronic book store)
Ø  Consider all platforms (Android, iOS, Blackberry and Windows)
Ø  Think security and protecting sensitive data

Accordingly to Ambient Insights mobile learning is set to become a US$9.1 billion industry in the next 5 years. This presents a massive opportunity to shape, design and build simple (free) and complex (premium - $) mobile applications for the education market space.  In our world of LMS / eLearning we touch ~ 7 million students @ ~10 % adoption x $1.00 = $700,000. Surprising SMB and independent mobile developers are thriving in this community providing nimble and targeted applications.

Are you considering building mobile applications for the education community?

How are you currently marketing and promoting your applications? Are you seeking additional channels of distribution?

What mobile application or process is needed to transform education?

If mLearning is not on your radar today – it should be!

Happy Holidays


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