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Learning Mobility

February 15, 2011

We here at Traveling Coaches have been mulling over the mobile learning market as it pertains to the legal industry as of late. Let’s take the “what” is served up out of the equation and focus on the “how” for right now. How is content best delivered to users? Should we dedicate time and resources to a particular platform such as Apple’s iOS, Windows mobile, Research In Motion’s operating system or Google’s Android, or take a more heterogeneous approach that offers broader acceptance across numerous mobile devices? Where does Flash fit into all of this? How far along is HTML 5 and is there a standard video format yet? As with just about every decision in life, there are positives and negatives to any approach you take.

Dedicating the time and resources to a particular platform would allow us to take advantage of the development tools and hardware designed for that mobile OS. This would allow for greater interaction, tracking and personalization, but limit accessibility from other platforms without even more time and expense required to port everything over for each OS. Browsing the net will yield few solutions for providing mobile content across multiple platforms using one solution. Phonegap, Appcelerator and rhomobile hold the most promise (in my opinion), because they are built on web standards (or coming standards) such as JavaScript, CSS, Ruby on Rails and HTML 5. Using technology standards, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, just publish and go.

The more heterogeneous approach offers faster development turnaround time at the cost of a fully dedicated solution. For example, uploading content to a dedicated YouTube channel provides storage and delivery regardless of what platform your mobile users utilize in just a few simple steps. That is huge! The tradeoff for this method would be the loss of interactivity and tracking. The value of providing content to your users in a timely fashion can’t be emphasized enough. It’s all about finding that fine line between providing as much content as possible, the best way possible and as timely as possible.

What are your thoughts? Where does your firm or organization stand on mobile learning? Is it at the top of the priority list, bottom or not even on your radar?  As for Traveling Coaches, we will continue to lead the industry not only with the best content for learning, but the best content delivery for our clients as well.

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