Last updated: 20.10.11

Rise in smartphones and tablets 'makes mobile learning easy for all'

Mobile online learning will continue to grow in popularity in the future, according to one information provider.

The rise in handheld, portable and mobile products such as the iPhone, iPad, smartphones and Kindles has meant that e-learning students can gain access to their course materials on the move and can approach the tasks in a flexible, independently-managed way.

David Patterson, director and consultant with, an online database providing information about e-learning to teachers and students, said the hype surrounding mobile learning - or m-learning as it sometimes known - is not new, but it has been the arrival of 3G networks and smartphones that has turned the promise of greater on-the-go learning into reality.

He added: "M-learning will grow in usage and grow in popularity and importance, and the e-learning industry is already very effectively unlocking the learning potential of these devices."

Faster internet platforms such as the emerging 4G networks promise to bring mobile internet connections to the same level of quality as standard home wireless networks.

"Virtual classrooms will become increasingly popular - rather like webinars have become popular in the last five years - for training seminars delivered by real tutors," Mr Patterson said.

Applications such as those found on Apple's iTunes are also growing in importance when considering techniques for online learning. Such apps can be accessed remotely via tablets and smartphones. Mr Patterson said that perhaps the new phrase "p-learning" should be coined, standing for portable learning.

However, there are some limitations to the success of mobile learning. Smartphones may not have screens big enough to show the required data and some programmes may not be able to gain access to some mobile internet providers.

According to comma it is important to maintain the quality of teaching materials by making sure that the device used to view them will not compromise the images and texts.

The e-learning app by Apple provides industry news, trends and top stories within the online learning sector.