ScotMKLS – engaging employers about mobile learning

Mobile learning fits easily around work. It’s there and is constantly there. People can easily refresh their knowledge anytime. These were the key messages from the ScotMKLS conference held on 9 and 10 January 2014 in Dundee.

11857600403_8a3574942cOver 100 social services workers from across Scotland attended the two day mobile learning solutions event organised by the Scottish Social Services Council’s learning technology team.

The first day of ScotMKLS offered attendees explanations and showcases of emerging technology. Through presentations and workshops people were shown how mobile devices are changing the way we learn for the better. On the second day, people had the opportunity to come up with their own ideas for a mobile app they thought would make their jobs easier.

Day one – developing mobile learning solutions

Day one started with SSSC Convener James McGoldrick talking about his own experiences of learning.

Keith Quinn, a Senior Workforce Development Adviser at SSSC, spoke about how mobile learning can help improve memory retention and allow people to learn within workplace. He also spoke about the MKLS project. A UK-wide project, led by Scotland, to develop a range of learning resources for social services workers designed for delivery on a range of devices including smartphones, tablet computers and other readily available handheld consoles.

Workshops followed on Active Spaces, SANSSpace video, digital storytelling, game based learning and re-imagining credentials with Mozilla Open Badges.

The director of Scottish Government’s digital directorate, Mike Nielson, finished up the first day of ScotMKLS with his keynote speech. He spoke about how digital creates opportunities to deliver, improve and find alternative ways to do things. During his talk he emphasised that digital connectivity, participation and access to data and information will be the key to improving services and increasing efficiency within public services.

A brief question and answer session followed the keynote with participants coming to a consensus about the importance of people having access to the websites and tools they need for learning. Some of those websites and tools are blocked over many corporate IT networks.

Day two – disruptive learning solutions

11927840413_d801cc55e8_bThree teams had three hours and the help of three experts to come up with a viable idea they could pitch to a panel of judges.

Attendees were given a brief talk on mobile apps and future workforce skills before breaking into their groups to start the design process.

For many of the attendees, this was the first time they had been involved in creating concepts for a mobile app. Yet participation levels were high in all three groups and the final concepts were all deemed viable by the judges.

The ideas presented to the judges by the three teams were:

  • SSSC Codes of Practice simulator How would the SSSC Codes of Practice apply in certain scenarios? This was the question asked by our first team. Their idea was for an app that would allow you see the Codes of Practice in action. This interactive app would present you with a scenario where you would be asked to make decisions. It would give you feedback on how your decisions meet the expectations of the Codes of Practice.
  • Jargon and Acronym Buster (JAB) We all hear jargon in our day-to-day jobs, but how confusing can this be to new members of staff? A web based jargon buster for social services was pitched by the second team. Accessible from mobile, you would just type in some jargon or an acronym to get an instant explanation and even some pointers on where the jargon can mean different things depending on context. You would even be able to contribute your own explanations and view a league table of the most widely used jargon.
  • The learning game Our third team felt that gathering evidence of continuous learning can sometimes be a struggle. So they created a concept for an app to suggest things you can do to learn and develop, help you keep track of learning, share accomplishments with colleagues and award you badges along the way.

The second day of ScotMKLS ended with the consensus that you don’t need advanced technical skills to come up with a great mobile app idea. All it takes is a handful of people who work in the sector and three hours.

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