The past two years have been revolutionary for education. In 2012 and 2013, innovations in learning technology exploded and learners moved online by the millions. Now, more than one-third of college and university students take at least one course online, and for adults in continuing education, job training, and personal and professional development programs, the percentage is even higher. People are taking online courses for credit, for work, and often just for fun. The demand for learning is immense and predicted to grow even bigger.
But 2014 will be different. Instead of turning on their computers and laptops, more learners will access their course materials on their smartphones and tablets. This trend has already started—students are demanding mobile support and course providers are rushing to ensure their sites are compatible with the various platforms.For those of you ready to jump into mobile learning, here are five top apps for online learners.
iTunes U is the ultimate mobile app for online learning. This app, which is compatible with the iPad, iPhone, and iPod, gives learners access to more than half a million free educational resources, including lectures, reading materials, quizzes, and even full courses from many of the top high schools and universities in the country. No matter what you want to learn, you can find it here.
Many schools and instructors also use iTunes U to deliver traditional online courses. The app is integrated with iBooks and various social media platforms, so you can keep your resources and contacts together in one place. So whether you are enrolled in a course that uses the app or just want to learn new things in your spare time, this is your one stop shop. And best of all, it’s free.
The rest of your course is online, so why should you lug around a heavy textbook? With CourseSmart, you can read textbooks anywhere—on your iPad or iPhone, Android device, or Kindle, or even in a browser. You can easily navigate, save bookmarks, and take notes, and many books come with enhanced interactive features like videos and quizzes. With the mobile app, you don’t need an Internet connection: you can access all of your books offline. Looking for more textbook options? Chegg is an online textbook rental service that is also available for mobile devices.
Want to create an online quiz, course, survey or poll that you can share with other learners in class? Or are you just looking for something like Flashcards that will help you study better? If yes, then say yes to ProProfs. The website is loaded with a quiz library offering 3000.000.000+ free quiz questions and allows you to easily create study material and share knowledge with your mates. You can choose to share your quizzes and courses online and view them on your laptops, tablets or even smartphones like iPhones, Android and more.
myHomework Student Planner
One of the biggest challenges facing online learners is keeping everything organized. Especially with no scheduled classes to go to, it can be easy to miss due dates or forget about virtual collaboration sessions. myHomework is a free course planner and management app that helps you keep track of all of your classes, online and off, so you never miss a deadline again. Using this app, you can make a study schedule, track your progress in your various courses, and get reminders for when things are due. If your instructors also use the app, you can access your class syllabus and other resources directly from your tablet or phone.
StudyBlue is your own personal study assistant, so no matter where you are you can always sneak in some extra study time. Using this free app, you can create flashcards, quizzes, and other study materials, incorporating audio, video, and other types of media. You can also access the large collection of study materials created by other members of the app community. The app also has functions for you to track your progress and, if your instructors and other students use it as well, you can access course resources and even send messages.
Mobile learning is the wave of the future. Whether you are a college student, a professional going back to school, or just taking online courses for your own personal enjoyment, these apps will help you hop aboard that wave and achieve success in all of your lifelong learning endeavors.
David Miller is an educational researcher, involved in the field of teaching and online learning. He is associated with prestigious universities and many leading educational research organizations. As an ed-tech veteran, his area of research also includes new technologies for online training. Currently David is experimenting with flipped classroom models and using online survey software to improve teaching through frequent course & teacher evaluations.