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Mobile learning definition, advantages, examples

Our learning behaviour is changing. We have long since ceased to absorb our knowledge only in the classroom, lecture hall or seminar room. On the contrary: we learn everywhere – whether in the library, on the train or outside in the city park.

Flexible learning now even has its own name. Mobile learning is what we call the new trend in knowledge transfer. But what exactly does that mean? What do I need for it? What are the big advantages? What about the disadvantages? And what are the best mobile learning examples?

Mobile Learning Definition

Mobile learning or m-learning is learning and teaching “on the go” – whether travelling or commuting. Mobile infrastructures, devices and applications are at the heart of this new way of absorbing knowledge. In other words, we need systems that allow us to communicate and retrieve data effortlessly – without any cable-based power and communication networks.

The ideal learning partner is mobile devices. They are light, handy and easy to transport. They even fit easily in a backpack, briefcase or handbag. Two further plus points: Mobile end devices have their own power supply and enable wireless communication. The best mobile learning examples:

  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Laptops

Scan the following QR code with your smartphone or tablet to view an example of a multilingual product training on your device. The training has been created responsively in SCORM format and the presentation automatically adapts to the device. At the end of the training, participants can test their understanding with a short quiz:

QR Code mobile learning - product training

QR Code mobile learning – product training

Mobile Learning Definition: When did the term emerge?

The term “mobile learning” or “mobile learning” first appeared around the year 2000. At almost the same time, the term “e-learning” became established. It refers to learning with computers. But where is the big difference to the mobile learning definition? The main difference is the place of learning. While e-learning also takes place at home, mobile learning mainly refers to learning on the go.

Mobile Learning – the advantages

Mobile learning supports us in several ways. Here are the biggest advantages at a glance:


With m-learning, our learning behaviour becomes more efficient. After all, we now use other places to impart knowledge than just the lecture hall or seminar room. For example, we learn on the train, in the underground or on the plane. In this way, “idle time” can be used in the best possible way.

Personal learning

We learn in our personal environment – for example, in the passenger seat of our car, on the way to a customer. With just a few clicks, we call up a wide variety of data and absorb the information using our own learning techniques – be it flashcards, brainstorming or white papers. This allows us to determine the transfer of knowledge ourselves – both the place and the pace.


Mobile learning is networked. Thanks to the various information and communication channels, we are in constant exchange with team members – for example, with lecturers or fellow students. Especially in joint projects, this connection pays off. Problems, wishes and needs can be communicated quickly and put into practice.
Another advantage: despite the physical distance to your team members, you don’t feel left alone. The constant communication creates a feeling of closeness, togetherness and trust.

Learning in context

You are on your way to a customer and learn that your customer is interested in another product family? You haven’t dealt with the details of this product for a while because there has been no interest from your personal customers so far?
Mobile Learning solves spatial problems, you are no longer dependent on attending product training in the office or seminar room. With Mobile Learning you can refresh your knowledge and expand your competence even shortly before the customer appointment.

Mobile Learning Management System as a motivation booster

A good Mobile Learning Management System uses push messages and bonus systems to motivate its learners.

Spontaneous learning

If you have your smartphone or tablet in your pocket, you can theoretically start learning anytime and anywhere. Even spontaneous use on the bus or train is possible. With traditional teaching aids it is often different. After all, who likes to carry a stack of textbooks around with them all day?

Mobile learning – an alternative to classical learning and teaching methods?

Mobile learning is not a substitute for classical teaching and learning methods. Rather, mobile learning is a useful addition to existing methods and allows them to be supplemented in a meaningful way by new possibilities. In difficult and complex contexts, mobile learning quickly reaches its limits – especially the size of the screen.


If mobile learning is used as a supplement to other didactic methods, it increases success and leads to sustainable learning results. With modern authoring tools for e-learning, content can be created in a mobile-friendly format without additional effort.