Editors Note: In order to inform our readers about some of the existing and new technologies that are available for mobile and e-based learning, today we feature a brief report from the ISN’s Training and ADL Competence Center.
From 6-8 November 2012, the Partnership for Peace Consortium’s Advanced Distributed Learning Working Group (ADL WG) staged its annual meeting in Vienna, Austria. The event – hosted by the Austrian National Defence Academy and organized by the International Relations and Security Network (ISN) and Partnership for Peace Consortium (PfPC) – primarily focused on mobile learning opportunities, although it also concentrated on other IT-based learning technologies, methods, tools and future standards. What follows is a brief overview of some of the key issues and developments covered during the meeting.
November 6: Introducing Tools to Support Mobile Learning
ADL WG meetings traditionally begin by introducing new tools and methods that are ready for immediate use. This year, 35 ADL professionals learnt about the specific challenges of mobile learning and received hands-on training for a range of tools. They included:
- ISN Mobler Cards for iPhones and Android mobile devices.
- SIGIL and iBook Author for the production of eBooks.
- MASLO for the production of mobile learning content.
The ISN Mobler Cards – developed by the ISN and based on US research funding – is a mobile app designed to support the PfP LMS and other Learning Management Systems. It delivers questions to a smart phone in the form of flash cards which the user can use to study and test themselves about a particular topic. To demonstrate this convenient new tool, ADL WG participants studied an experimental set of cards based on an existing “Introduction to NATO” course and then produced their own flash cards for a range of other topics.
Working Group participants were also introduced to SIGIL, a free and open source tool that can be used to produce eBooks to EBUP 2 specifications for a variety of devices. This introduction was then followed by a demonstration of iBooks Author, which is Apple’s tool to help produce electronic books for iPads.
|Introduction to NATO: eBook produced in SIGIL for mobile devices with an eBook reader software||Introduction to NATO:Interactive eBook produced for iPads with Apple’s iBooks Author(Click on images to enlarge)|
A third workshop then covered the use of MASLO (Mobile Access to Supplemental Learning Objects), an open source mobile learning development platform created by the Academic Advanced Distributed Learning Co-Lab at University of Wisconsin-Extension. It includes a desktop authoring tool, cloud storage capacity, and a distribution system and player apps for IOS and Android devices.
Please note that all of the above tools are designed to produce and share content for common educational needs, particularly in mobile environments.
November 6 to 7: Latest Learning Technologies and Projects
This year’s broader conference was attended by 53 participants from 18 countries and numerous organizations. A range of presentations from Working Group members highlighted their current activities and experiences, to include creating a fully revised “Introduction to NATO” course and a new “Introduction to Cultural Awareness” course. Several presentations also covered the training of educational staff to use ADL technologies, which is a prerequisite for establishing distance learning programs in in any organization.
|Brainstorming results: “Other forms of m-Learning” (click to enlarge)||Brainstorming results: “Success factors for m-Learning” (click to enlarge)|
In the specific case of mobile learning, the presentations focused on next-step testing of the ISN Mobler Cards app, large-scale surveys to evaluate mobile learning readiness in defense and security organizations, and experiments involving online/mobile learning content. Other presentations concentrated on multi-channel access to scientific and educational content, eBooks technology, general mobile approaches to language learning (to include designing for mobile devices), the use of ePortfolio systems, and the adjusting of current e-learning standards to an increasingly mobile world.
November 8: Special Meeting The traditional conference was then followed by a “National ADL Day” that is specifically designed to support burgeoning ADL activities and initiatives in the host country. This year participants from Austria, Switzerland and Germany identified and discussed potential fields for collaboration, the details of which will form part of follow-up talk
ADL WG Meeting 2013
The next ADL Working Group meeting will be hosted by the National Defence Academy in Warsaw, Poland, from 5-7 November, 2013 (participation is by invitation only). Interested e-learning professionals from security and defense-related educational institutions may contact the ADL WG chairman Reto Schilliger about possible participation and about the IT-based learning tools discussed in this blog.