When Learning Converges on the App

New analysis of iOS 7

September 24, 2013

Cringely has some interesting things to say about why iOS 7 demonstrates the inevitability of the iPhone replacing the laptop.   

The future that Cringely imagines is one where any local processing or storage power that you need is located in your phone. Today's iPhone 5S is as powerful as a mid-range laptop, and iOS 7 enables bluetooth connectivity for not only keyboards but mice.   

Carry your phone. Wirelessly connect to any available monitor, keyboard and mouse. Files are stored in the cloud and synced to your phone. Applications can be run either locally or in the cloud, or a hybrid of both.   

Cringely even envisions a new portable device as an iPhone accessory. One without a processor or storage, but consisting only of a (big) battery, screen, and keyboard.  

Cheap to make and cheap to buy.

Cringely never mentions what a desktop replacement iPhone could mean for mobile learning, but the potential seems clear.   

A desktop replacement iPhone and screen/keyboard/battery accessory would unite today's disparate browser based / mobile learning platforms in one device. Every e-learning platform would be an app. There would be no need to compromise across platforms, as the mobile learning platform could be designed from the ground up to take advantage of the power of the app.

This means local storage, offline capabilities, syncing, and a many more UI possibilities that we have with even the best browser based platforms.   

A desktop replacement mobile device would enable us to bundle e-learning content with the e-learning platform. All curricular materials could be delivered to the mobile device, synced to the cloud, and designed to work seamlessly with the mobile learning tools.

Converging learning platforms on the app and the mobile platform will enable both a democratization of learning (given mobile adoption in emerging economies), and a more rapid rate of learning platform evolution.  

How often do you get app updates on your mobile device? How much have the apps that you use each day improved over the past couple of years? Imagine that sort of continuous improvement in our e-learning platforms.

If Cringely is right, and we are heading towards the mobile desktop replacement, then it would be smart of e-learning companies (particularly LMS providers) to start planning for a post-browser, all app future.  

Break out a dedicated team to design your LMS from scratch for only an app. Don't try to retrofit a browser based concept for an LMS to the world of the app. The time to go up this learning curve is now.

When do you think that e-learning will converge on the app and the mobile device?

When will we give up our laptops?


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