Publish at April 22 2014 Updated March 16 2023

A mobile device for acting, not thinking

Chopped up into small pieces, the course.

Concept of fast business - <a href=""> alphaspirit </a>- ShutterStock

An article by Elliot Masie on the use of mobile devices for learning confirmed what many trainers had already observed: very few people use a mobile device to learn in a structured way.

He asked several young colleagues, most of them heavy users of mobile devices, how they viewed and used their mobile devices for learning. What came out, without scientific pretension, still gives some good insights:

  • Not a single person we met uses it to learn in a structured learning activity.
  • Internet searching is the most common activity, ahead of texting.
  • Few people have made phone calls in the past 5 days; the primary uses are: finding information, sending messages, using apps, and rarely making calls.

For most, the mobile device is a memory and system-expert; they keep large amounts of data on it that are useful for their activities. In terms of desires, everyone hopes for applications more geared toward their roles, jobs, and careers.

What most limits the work-assisting uses of their devices are security controls and barriers; often all it takes is a password to be inserted to interrupt a momentum and abandon the idea of using it.


An educational institution with the idea of integrating mobility into its offerings will find here the foundation for a strategy that will have a chance of success, as long as it focuses on the uses.  "Mobile Learning" seems a utopia because it is not the use that is made of the devices because of the very context of their use: in action.

Mobile devices are assistants, gifted with prodigious memory, computational capacity, translation, search, communication, recording, sensing and much more to come, but they are not tools to follow a course.

The spontaneity with which they are used is not the disposition required to study. The only real learning that can take place with these devices is necessarily very short, in response to a specific question or problem.  Learning the theoretical basics of a domain is unlikely to ever happen in a mobile situation.

Integrating mobility into a learning strategy simply means prescribing its uses through accessible and well-indexed content, domain-relevant applications, dedicated collaboration platforms and simplifying security barriers.


Rethinking Webinars, Mobile Knowledge, Video from Train - Learning Trends - Elliott Masie - April 2014

See more articles by this author


  • Entering into reflection

Access exclusive services for free

Subscribe and receive newsletters on:

  • The lessons
  • The learning resources
  • The file of the week
  • The events
  • The technologies

In addition, index your favorite resources in your own folders and find your history of consultation.

Subscribe to the newsletter
Superprof: the platform to find the best private tutors  in the United States.

Add to my playlists

Create a playlist

Receive our news by email

Every day, stay informed about digital learning in all its forms. Great ideas and resources. Take advantage, it's free!