I remember the day I first saw it. It was big… sleek… powerful… and it had that magic key.

It was the IBM Correcting Selectric II typewriter. Press the key, and the built-in correcting tape would let you erase the last character you typed. Genius – no more messy white-out to brush on, let dry, and type over!

The Accelerating Pace of Change

Since that long-ago time (1974), I’ve seen many advances in workplace performance technology:  word processing machines, IBM PCs, spreadsheets, Macintoshes, Windows, fax machines, Microsoft Office, the Internet, email, the Web, laptops, PDAs, Google, tablets, and smartphones, to name just a few.

You’ve no doubt witnessed the appearance of at least some of these, too… and maybe you’re finding it hard to keep up with “the accelerating pace of change.” Now consider mobile learning, an advance that changes our whole paradigm of learning in the workplace – and another whole thing to learn.

Get with Mobile Now

That’s why we need books like Gary Woodill’s The Mobile Learning Edge and Clark Quinn’s Designing mLearning, both of which were published early this year. If you want to get up to speed on mobile learning and performance support, you must read these books.

The two cover much of the same ground (albeit from slightly different angles):

  • the evolution of mobile learning and concepts underlying it;
  • the history, current state, and future of mobile technology;
  • different methods of mobile learning;
  • and how to develop mobile learning and a mobile learning strategy.

Both books are rich with examples of how mobile learning is being used right now in the real world – extremely useful for getting your creative juices flowing.

Do You Really Need Both?

They do have some differences. Quinn’s book offers more case studies and contains more practical advice on how to create mobile learning, addressing analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation in depth. Woodill’s book covers development of a mobile learning strategy more extensively, and it contains chapters on managing mobile learners and implementing and managing an enterprise-wide mobile learning program.

Neither book is perfect; I could pick a few bones with each one. Overall, though, they’re both quite readable as well as extremely informative.

My advice? Read both books, whether you’re an executive, learning manager, or instructional designer. They’re available as e-books (mobile!) and in old-fashioned paper form (also mobile, come to think of it). For lots more information, visit their accompanying web sites:

In Conclusion

Someday I’ll explain my theory on how the IBM Selectric was the beginning of the end of the touch-typing system. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, Google it on your smartphone with your thumbs.

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