Are you putting together an online course? Maybe you have something that you’d like to teach other people?
If so, e-learning is the ticket. Or perhaps m-learning is?
In theory, they’re both educational platforms that rely on the internet to teach their respective curriculum.
But there are differences between the two – certain types of courses are more suited towards m-learning, while others should be exclusive to e-learning.
It’s not just a matter of personal preference – there are critical aspects to consider when choosing one over the other.
Perhaps you’re now beginning to have doubts about which platform to choose?
Perhaps your course is more suited towards e-learning, but then again, maybe m-learning is more appropriate?
If that’s the dilemma you’re facing, then this blog post is for you.
In this blog post, you’ll learn:
- What e-learning and m-learning is and how they work
- Differences and benefits of e-learning and m-learning
- 2 vital things to consider when choosing one over the other
What is e-learning?
E-learning is a teaching method that uses electronic resources, such as computers, to teach the course curriculum.
Instead of going to a classroom to learn something, you can access the course material by logging into an online learning platform.
Since these courses often require the student to sit down to consume hours worth of material (usually delivered through online video), e-learning tends to favor desktop and laptop computers.
Advantages of e-learning
Students can access the course remotely
One of the biggest advantages of e-learning is that the material can be accessed online, eliminating the need for on-site instructors and printed course material.
It can be difficult for someone who’s already working a full-time job to make room in their already busy schedule for a full-time studying program.
E-learning can therefore be a great way to keep a sharp mind (or learn a completely new skill).
E-learning courses are self-paced
Another benefit of e-learning is that students can go through the course material at their own pace since e-learning courses are often self-paced.
Unlike traditional education, there are no deadlines or designated class hours. You don’t need to worry about missing an important lesson – you can go through it at home when you have the time.
It’s also common that these courses utilize video, meaning that it’s possible to go back and re-watch them – making revision much easier.
What is m-learning?
M-learning or “mobile learning” has one thing in common with e-learning – both use digital resources. In fact, m-learning is sometimes considered a byproduct of e-learning.
Unlike e-learning, however, m-learning mainly provides the learning material through a mobile device, such as a tablet or smartphone.
Some e-learning platforms also have an m-learning equivalent. For instance, Skillshare and Udemy both have apps available on Google Play and the App Store that you can download to access their courses on the go.
Advantages of m-learning
More accessible than e-learning
M-learning is often considered a byproduct of e-learning. Thus, many of the advantages of e-learning still apply to m-learning – from the self-paced structure to the accessibility.
In fact, in the case of m-learning, accessibility is even more of an advantage.
Since the student has access to the learning material through a mobile device, they can access the course wherever they are.
This can turn a tedious wait at the dentist, or a long public transport commute into a fun and productive learning session.
E-learning vs M-learning – 3 Vital Things to Consider When Making Your Choice
There are 3 main things to consider when deciding whether or not to use e-learning or m-learning as the platform of choice for your course:
1. The length and complexity of your course
E-learning is more geared towards courses requiring students to sit down and consume large chunks of content (20-30 minutes).
By contrast, M-learning is more suitable for quick, short courses that students can view when they have a bit of extra time (3-10 minutes).
2. Screen size
The average computer monitor has a size between 21-30 inches [source: store.hp.com]
The average tablet has a size of 10 inches [source: lifewire.com]
The average smartphone has an average screen size of 5 inches [source: znet.com]
Because of this, your course’s structure and design must be a deciding factor when choosing your platform.
Smartphones often have great difficulty trying to display and run larger graphics on their small display.
Because of this, you need to redesign your course to cater to those limitations if you decide to use an m-learning platform.
There are also some scenarios where you might want to reconsider using an m-learning platform at all.
Suppose your course contains plenty of media (e.g., images, video) and detailed information. In that case, e-learning is a much better choice.
To make sure that you get the most out of your online courses, it’s important to remember when to use an e-learning and m-learning platform. To recap:
- E-learning is more suited towards more complex learning material that demands that the student sits down for longer periods of time
- M-learning must have simple navigation and is more suited for courses with short lessons that can be accessed when the student has extra time