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Wake up! Could smartphones kill alarm clocks?

This post was written by Kayleigh Tanner and first appeared on the Epic blog on 17th January 2014.
Woman using mobile phoneA sad day for some, perhaps – but will you really miss the humble alarm clock when it shuffles off this mortal coil? According to Pixmania.com, the end could be closer than we think.

The gadget retail website recently listed the top ten household items most likely to die out in the wake of the smartphone surge, with alarm clocks topping the list of endangered objects. It is easy to see why: every single smartphone has some form of alarm capability, and this is just as easy to use as a separate alarm clock, whilst also retaining its multi-purpose functionality. If we are going on a long train journey, we would choose a mobile alarm over an alarm clock if we fear we might fall asleep as we would have our phones with us anyway.

Watches, standalone sat navs and flip cameras also appear on the list. Again, this is not entirely surprising. Many of us will pull out our phone to check the time, and GPS features are vastly improving on smartphones. With the Nokia Lumia 1020 among the new wave of phones boasting spectacular inbuilt cameras, phone companies are clamouring to make their phones take better photos than ever, which could well see the more basic digital cameras shafted as photos and videos become increasingly part of the smartphone’s remit. With the smartphone clearly holding its own in the saturated tech market, what could this mean for e-learning?

The Towards Maturity Benchmark 2013-14 shows us the strong upward trend for the use of mobile learning in organisations. In the next two years, the data suggests that mobile learning will be implemented in almost all organisations.

Does this mean that traditional training and desktop-based e-learning will go the way of the alarm clock? We think not.

Mobile learning works as an excellent complement to a training programme, whether it’s as performance support, product knowledge training on the shopfloor or on-the-go bite-size modules taken on the morning commute. However, some training needs an upfront component (we all want our pilots and doctors to be fully trained!) and some subjects require prolonged study which isn’t well suited to the smaller screen.

Mobile is by no means going to kill off other forms of learning, but do expect to see mobile being used more and more frequently as a complement to well-rounded training programmes.

At Epic, we have been using mobile technology, including smartphones and tablets, for over 10 years, and are ahead of the game when it comes to finding new ways to make this technology work for learners. With smartphones such a staple device, learning professionals need to be savvy in the way we use them. If smartphones will eventually plug the gap left by today’s standard video players, sat navs and iPod docks, it will be interesting to see how the rest of the e-learning industry responds to the new opportunities this poses.

If you’re looking at updating your multi-device learning strategy or you’re just getting started, we’d love to hear from you. Or, if you’re interested in creating your own multi-device content in-team, register for more information about gomo learning, or visit stand 113 at Learning Technologies to find out more.