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Which Mobile E-learning Option is Best For You

Which Mobile E-learning Option is Best For You

With so many electronic options for mobile e-learning on the market today, it’s quite easy to get lost on which to choose to make publishing apps for. Consumers currently have the options of choosing the iPhone, Kindle or Apple’s latest invention, the iPad. However, many still ask which is the right one for them to create some sort of publishing app.

Many will probably want to try and develop e-learning solutions for iPad given it’s new and practically anything Apple releases become a best seller. However, the tablet does have quite a number of limitations with many coming to light as it ships to consumers. With the iPad, it seems Apple is now more interested in user-created apps than platform enhancements as it once centered around. As smart phones continue to evolve, things like bandwidth and endpoint constraints have taken a backseat to the quality and number of applications it offers.  BusinessWeek’s Dev Patnaik actually talked about new products and its innovation process in this new digital age and compared it to e-reader growth and mobile content for e-learning.

It turns out that the iPad (which starts at $500 and goes up in price) has actually brought new attention to e-readers, especially in the case of using it for educational purposes. Instead of having to carry heavy books around campus or spend loads of extra cash on costly books, only to resell them for a fraction of their original value, e-readers like the iPad and Kindle want to eliminate those problems for students and also wants to highlight the benefits of e-learning for any type of student, whether it be a college student or a full-time worker. Apple is actually trying to align themselves with publishers so that they can gain exclusive rights to textbooks, which is also what Amazon is doing with its Kindle e-reader.

At Oregon State University, faculty has contemplated putting their publications into e-books. They are less concerned on user preference or medium maturity since they know that their users would definitely enjoy more video and image content, with many of their users having the right bandwidth and hardware to stream such content, but rather the issues of format and gatekeeping. They need to make sure that they have enough control over postings and maintaining content from their own storage system and are excited to see some of the new technologies that address their concerns.

It seems that Apple and other manufacturers of mobile devices are trying to better define and expand their role as content controllers. The blog Flurry, which is a mobile device analytics company, posted some information on its site as a precursor into the iPad’s characteristics. Based on their analytics, the iPad would mainly support games, books, entertainment-related content, music and other lifestyle-based things, which basically means it has tons of apps for browsing, but looks like it might fall short in terms of computing and content creation. But does this move toward more entertainment-related apps and less computing deconstruct traditional e-learning approaches for those professional e-learning developers some ask?

Some see it as a way of opening up new ways to create content, especially since mobile device apps are being used more and more, with free E-readers that allow “pay-to-play” content, such as Amazon’s Kindle app for the iPhone.

As many see e-books as a way to get people excited about reading again, many do not find that devices like the Kindle are great ways to push it for educational use. Those that want to push out more of their content on the Kindle would have to place their book or content into HTML format, then import that into Amazon’s store, which then leads to handling e-commerce sales using Amazon’s proprietary billing system. Many don’t have the toolset to efficiently do this for putting their longer books into a HTML or CSS format.

However the iPhone and Android allows for more opportunities since many of their users use apps on these mobile devices as ways to find info. There is currently an iPhone app in the works that allows publishers a better understanding of promoting bigger print-based content. In terms of format, publishers are more concerned with the possibilities of the Epub format, which the iPad and other e-readers support.