The On-the-Go Learner


You must have noticed people reading a newspaper, a magazine or a book while travelling. You must have even read some of those yourself. In recent times, you must have noticed people reading on their smartphones too.

What could be the motivation behind people opting for such reading options while travelling or even at home? Killing time, killing Boredom, finding solace in their world, experience has taught them better ways to utilise time, they’re habituated, the need of the hour for work or an upcoming exam/interview. All of the reasons revolve around personal or professional realms and groups a person belongs to.

When people think of their own areas, they tend to be better off compared to when they think inside the strange or uncommon surrounding around them. So comfortable at times as though they’re reading and learning at a library desk, that they even overcome their comfort zones as far as learning new concepts is concerned. They’re self-motivated also due to the environment around them because they trade it off with learning. Even in a noisy environment at times, one could manage to accomplish certain tasks on a smartphone and even learn something that’s created with great visuals and other e-learning material creation best practices.

With the emergence of e-learning on a mobile device, there lies a great opportunity in a market for anytime anywhere learning. The best part of learning on a computer or handheld device is that it acts as a one-stop shop for both learners and e-learning material providers. The devices are capable of working with not just mobility but all of the rest of the digital five forces viz., social, analytics, cloud, and artificial intelligence. The learners use their devices to access materials and apps while the e-learning material providers use them as well to create befitting materials and apps and connect with the learners via social platforms as well. Imagine yourself receiving on your smartphone an SMS confirming your payment as you enrol in a course. You begin the course and exit it for some work, automatically bookmarking where you leave. You receive an email about the status of your ongoing course. You ignore the email because you’re socialising on Facebook. A colleague on Facebook sends you a chat message about completing the first module of the same course he/she has enrolled in as well. You are motivated to continue. On twitter, as you follow some accounts related to the course subject, you get reminded of your course from their tweets. You’re motivated to continue. You take up the course assessments and receive results at the comfort of your home or while travelling. You are motivated to continue, although probably at a later stage this time.

The On-the-Go learner is not just learning while moving in a vehicle or taking a safe walk, the learner is even doing so when stationary at home or any other place where the trade-off between the external environment and learning is in favour of the latter. And to help the trade-off work for it, even more, a number of factors come into play. They are factors like good infrastructure for connectivity, free Wi-Fi zones, the ability of smartphones to playback downloaded multimedia, facility to download any video on YouTube temporarily, etc. Moreover, the cherry on the top that could get people’s foot in the door is that learning online or offline using mobile devices comes at a cost much lower than taking up the same course in a classroom.

The reach of such learning is much higher and even people in rural areas can jump on the on-the-go learning bandwagon, provided the trade-off enhancing, manmade factors are in place. The rest of the trade-off enhancing factors are all human psychological.

With falling mobile device prices and increasing coverage of networks, the on-the-go learner community is increasing like never before.

About the Author:

Abhishek Jha is a faculty member at iON Academy that conducts training and creates e-learning content for the various divisions of iON. He has been involved in training programs at TCS over several years and has actively participated in the design phase and now, the launch of TCS iON’s Manufacturing Courses for engineering and management college students. 

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