“On-the-job training has been the educational ‘delivery’ [method of] choice over many years”, however, work-based mobile learning appears to be gaining interest as “one of the most important means of providing knowledge, skills and competencies” in the workplace observe Auer, Edwards and Zutin (2011: 219). His shift is due to increased wireless networks and mobile technology developments.
Apprenticeships represent a rudimentary form of work-based education. Modelled on the mediaeval guilds, the artisan personally tutored those wishing to learn the craft. They learned through “observation, imitation, practice and feedback” (p. 220). The increased pace of progress; greater volumes and complexity of learning required; and obsolescence of jobs resulted in more frequent career changes and the need to acquire entire new knowledge and skills.
Whereas traditionally work-based training consisted of formal education followed by organisational specific orientation and training; life-long learning became a necessity. Both individuals and organisations are more and more required to adapt—often quickly—to evolving situations in order to retain relevance in the marketplace.
Work-based mobile learning emerged as means to enable people to continue to function optimally. Unfortunately mature workers may oppose these developments due to fear for the unknown. To overcome this potential ‘fossilisation’ learning should be stimulating and enjoyable in order to become a habit of continuous growth and development. Furthermore, certain learning cannot be acquired in the confines of the workplace. This is where mobile learning allow for workers to learn and experience situations not commonly available in the workplace.
Auer, M.E.; Edwards, A. & Zutin, D.G. 2011. Online laboratories in interactive learning environments, pp. 219-248. In N. Pachler; C. Pimmer & J. Seipold (eds). 2011. Work-Based Mobile Learning— Concepts and Cases. Oxford: Peter Lang.