Mobile & the transformation of learning

GSMA McKinsey

It’s a couple of years old now, but this McKinsey and the GSMA report presents compelling research to suggest the transformative power of mobile learning.  So we thought we should include it in the Resources section of EdTech Futures.  [Thanks to Charles Wiles at for the reminder!]

It’s probably not surprising that the GSMA – the trade association for mobile operators globally – wanted to support this research, but the report is valuable nonetheless.

The authors define mLearning as:

technology-enabled learning solutions available to learners anytime, anywhere. Any portable device, such as a tablet, laptop or mobile phone, that provides access to educational content through mobile connectivity (2G, 3G, or 4G complemented by mobile-based Wi-Fi) can be a tool for mEducation. Mobile technology’s power to transform education is difficult to overstate, given the importance and impact of learning that takes place outside a traditional classroom environment.

The report argues that mEducation offers three advantages with the potential to improve education delivery and thereby enhance learning outcomes:

• It simplifies access tocontentandexperts,overcoming traditional constraints of time, location and collaboration

• Itpersonalizeseducationsolutions for individual learners,helping educators customize the teaching process, using software and interactive media that adapt levels of difficulty to individual students’ understanding and pace

• It addresses specific challenges thatlower the efficiency of educational systems worldwide. Casein point: MIT’s Education Collaboration Services gives teachers access to best practices. 

According to the report, the market is “worth approximately USD 3.4 billion—a sliver of the USD 4 trillion spent on education globally.”  But the potential for growth is huge.

The report’s authors claim there are 5 trends that they think present a fertile environment for growth.  They are:

• Portable device form factors are rapidly evolving. Increased availability and penetration of smart portable devices with advanced functionalities, such as accelerometers that sense motion, will lower costs and open a world of new possibilities for mEducation solutions

• A digital native and technology-literate generation is fast emerging.We are adopting mobile solutions and devices in our lives at a faster pace. Children will adapt especially well to learning through mobile devices

• Governments are turning to the potential of mEducation. Many countries are promoting the use of information and communications technology in schools and investing in portable devices that enable new ways of learning – all in a bid to improve learning outcomes

• Mobile applications are increasingly popular for educational content. More recently,mobile device users are downloading educational apps at higher prices than entertainment or gaming apps

• Pilots areleading to viable products with commercial potential, such as mobile-based learning management systems, game-based applications, and voice and text-based solutions. This is in turn attracting more investment into mEducation providers.

A link to download a PDF version is here:

GSMA and McKinsey: Transforming learning through mEducation | Connected Living

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