mlearn project

Charles Sturt University's Mobile Learning Project

The New Normal

Over the life of the Project we have seen mobile emerge and blossom as a new standard. It has been a meteoric rise that has come almost out of the blue and without any precedent. Mobile has challenged all predictions, broken all records and transformed the technological landscape. What we are witnessing is the birth of a ‘New Normal’.

Mobile can no longer be considered an ‘add on’ or a ‘nice to have’. It is the standard technology that more people around the world have access to than anything before it, including phones, cars, radio and television. It is also worth noting that this is not the death of any other computing devices, and mobile will not replace the laptop or the desktop. The new normal is a user-centric ecosystem that encompasses multiple devices, and one where increasingly mobile comes to represent the primary device, because it is compact and affordable.

The statistics right across the world suggest that this is not 5 years down the line, but is happening now. The environment is not changing – it has changed already. “User behaviour always evolves much faster than companies can keep up”states User Experience and Content Strategist Karen McGrane, and this is where we find ourselves. The institution is experiencing significant cultural and technological challenges due to the changes in the expectations and choices of our staff and students. CSU is entering a stage where we need to change how we think about technology, less about single solutions, more about operating in ecosystems.

There is no single device, app or service that can provide the solution. Instead, it is necessary to take on a user-centric model and expand our experience beyond the physical device, ensuring access is available on multiple devices, key information is synced, systems are adaptable and content can take many shapes and forms.

The reality is that we are living, working and learning across multiple devices and mobile represents just the first wave of embedded and contextual technology. The new normal is inclusive rather than exclusive, complex rather than simple, expansive not restrictive.

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