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Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) for learning

This blog on the power of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) for elearning first appeared on the Epic blog on 14th August 2013.

Today I was issued with my very own company iPhone. Don’t tell the IT department but actually I’m wondering how much use it’ll get.

It’s not that I’m not into mobile working – I’m very happy working from the train, home or wherever else I end up. But so far I haven’t needed a company iPhone to do it. I connect to the office network via VPN from my desktop at home, pick up my emails on my personal phone and write documents from the train on my tablet. Ironically this is one of the rare blog posts I’ve actually written on a company device.

The power of BYOD for learning

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is a trend that’s becoming more common in many organisations and involves employees carrying out work on their own personal devices. There are legitimate security concerns and issues with BYOD but it’s likely that your IT department already has a policy to manage these. So what about the opportunities for learning design?

In organisations where not everybody has work-issued mobile devices or where those devices are limited, BYOD can be a great way to bring the freedom of mobile learning to your learners. In some organisations, such as hospitals, even access to desktop PCs can be limited. BYOD learning means that learners can complete the learning on their own terms – at the best time for them and using a device that they’re comfortable with.

BYOD learning is not without its challenges though

Rather than supporting one standard setup, we’ve now got to cater for potentially any device. That means devices with Flash or without Flash, different screen sizes, different operating systems and different browsers. A multi-device authoring tool like gomo uses responsive design to automatically organise your learning to suit the device it’s being used on, bypassing many of the issues you might face around BYOD.

Good news – gomo doesn’t require Flash and it’s been tested with a whole range of devices and browsers already.

From my own experience, most of my learning takes place via my personal tablet. I pick up and share interesting articles and websites on Twitter and discuss learning issues on various forums or by email. So for me BYOD is great for social and informal learning. The only type of learning I find doesn’t work so well is streamed video; my 3G connection just isn’t up to it.

My most recent learning activity (watching a YouTube video about Tin Can and Open Badges) was actually done on my work laptop.

Woman using mobile learning

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