Usefulness of Smartphone Apps as Learning Aids in Professional Development

Learning is a lifelong process that has evolved over the years, accommodating the use of technology in professional development (PD). In this regard, smartphone apps have become a learning aid in ensuring professionals access educational materials. 

Mobile learning today allows individuals to access expertise over a range of areas and allows broader interactions with people (Aubusson et al. 2009). Different professionals need help to combine learning and their professional objectives, so there is a rising demand for easier access to learning materials. Smartphone apps allow these kinds of individuals to learn on the move. They also make it possible to align learning objectives with their busy schedules. 

Smartphones allow professionals to learn flexibly. Mobile learning will enable individuals to choose when they would love to gain a new skill, eliminating the assumption that ‘it’s a must’ to learn a skill and promoting a positive attitude towards professional development. Research conducted by Hinze et al. 2022 revealed that this flexibility motivates learners. Smartphone apps allow immediate feedback, record tracking and badges for different stages of learning. Once professionals achieve these simple milestones, they gain a sense of accomplishment and positive reinforcement, further translating into their positivity towards professional development. This approach allows individuals to learn conveniently without adhering to a fixed schedule. Asynchronous learning models enable users to access course material at any time and from any location, as long as they have an internet connection. This approach provides flexibility and convenience, making it an increasingly popular learning method. 

Smartphone apps additionally allow different learning formats, including videos, recordings, podcasts, articles and quizzes. These enable learners in professional development to choose the most appropriate mode of learning that works for them. For instance, Moodle App offers videos, quizzes and notes that allow learners to access learning materials even on the go. For example, if one travels to a remote area and requires study, one can download notes and videos and easily access them, even offline. 

Since many professionals require an affordable and effective learning mode, apps are convenient for learning. It is a cost-effective measure to provide all training and learning resources without relying on heavy budgeting. Additionally, it allows the learners to access lessons and resources without worrying about physical attendance. It requires a smartphone, which most professional individuals can access, and an internet connection to begin a successful learning experience. This cost-effective mode of accessibility helps professionals to enhance their professional development easily. 

While smartphone apps have become essential in professional development, they pose challenges that some must consider. A digital divide is likely to occur when incorporating this mode of learning. For instance, an individual without reliable internet, a smartphone or digital literacy cannot benefit from smartphone apps as learning aids. As a result, this limits access to knowledge and resources dependent on smartphone apps. Nonetheless, it’s still possible to address the digital divide using offline solutions such as Raspberry Pis and Moodle Boxes, which have shown promise over the years, drawing from our experiences in places like the Daadab Refugee camp. These compact, affordable devices can host educational content locally, providing access to learning resources even in areas with limited internet connectivity or smartphone access. While working towards identifying what works, it’s essential to consider factors that might otherwise lead to less desired outcomes because of internet connectivity challenges.

In conclusion, smartphone apps have revolutionised professional development by providing flexible and convenient learning opportunities. They offer various learning materials in various formats, catering to individual preferences and schedules. Moreover, smartphone apps promote a positive attitude towards learning by providing immediate feedback, record tracking, and a sense of accomplishment. Despite the challenges of the digital divide, solutions such as offline e-learning offer promise in bridging the gap. 

For those eager to explore the potential of smartphones as learning aids and discover best practices in eLearning, we invite you to contact us. Whether you seek engaging content, interactive courses, or a comprehensive Learning Management System like Moodle or Moodle Workplace, we’ve got you covered. Our team is dedicated to tailoring educational experiences that align with your objectives.