Reflective of the shift towards mobile bite-sized learning, Gnowbe; a mobile micro-learning solution has partnered with Temasek Polytechnic (TP) to launch Gnowbe Learn; an accredited course catalogue of more than 60 Micro-learning Courses (MLC) designed for learning on-the-go in social, experiential ways. Upon completion of these courses, learners receive certificates and exemptions for TP’s diploma program.
Targeted at meeting the skills-upgrading needs of busy working professionals, this learning concept enables learners to integrate bite-sized learning into their schedules; allowing them to learn anytime and anywhere using their smartphones. By the end of the year, Gnowbe expects to have over 500 MLCs on their platform with experts and institutions around the world.
Every MLC comprises 10-20 sessions and each session can be completed in 10 minutes a day on the Gnowbe app or web. To encourage learners to pursue life-long learning through this form of learning, Gnowbe is offering one free course to any learner. You can access your free course with the promo code “SKILLUP” which will be valid until 4 June 2018.
All over the world, learners face a common problem; an information overload coupled with lack of time to sift through the deluge of information. Therefore people tend to learn on the go, using any free pocket of time that arises to whip out their smartphone and search for things they want to learn about. Unsurprisingly, more Google searches are made on smartphones than computers (Thinkwithgoogle, 2016).
Educators are also looking to harness education-technology (ed-tech) to engage with today’s busy working adult learners. A Families for Life Council survey revealed that only half of Singaporean working adult respondents spend more than 36 hours with family and 1 in 10 spend six hours or fewer; a main reason being work commitments (Today, 2016). Given that already so little time can be afforded to spending quality time with loved ones, setting aside time to learn in a physical classroom is a massive logistical and cost challenge. Therefore mobile learning is expected to grow exponentially as educators experiment with different technologies such as blended learning and microlearning to suit the time constraints of working adults. Reflecting this trend, a report by EdTechXGlobal and IBIS Capital predicts that the ed-tech industry will grow at 17% per annum to US$252b by 2020 (Channel News Asia, 2017).
Riding on the trends
Tailoring their solutions towards today’s learners, Gnowbe adopts a mobile-first design to enable quality on-the-go learning. For example learners can access course content during their daily commute or even when waiting in queue. The Gnowbe platform is optimised for quick and frequent interactions while ensuring learning transfer to the actual job by leveraging on its unique “Learn-Think-Apply-Share” approach.
Empowering educators, Gnowbe also comes with a highly intuitive web-based content authoring tool which lets them create courses in a fraction of the time as well as design a more impactful learning experience.
Gnowbe prioritises critical thinking, creativity, confidence and capability in the learning experiences they provide, which might not always align with the Asian culture of rote learning; albeit progressive shifts away (Straits Times, 2017). In particular, as an online platform, Gnowbe still faces scepticism over its ability to provide an equal quality of education without the interaction of a trainer. However Gnowbe is confident that as culture continues to shift, learners will see that while online learning does not provide access to 1 facilitator, it does provide an open platform to learn from a multitude of peers.
Governments, schools and trade associations wield immense influence as the authorities who set the standards and expectations in the market for learning technology. Naturally, these authorities are very cautious with adopting new technologies because they cannot predict mass-market behaviour. However the advent of ed-tech is clear with almost 40% of organisation using online mobile training courses (Business Wire, 2018). More than growth in popularity, the increased access to quality education that comes with mobile learning may be the answer to looming skills shortages (Hays-Index, 2017). Rather than going against innovation in mobile learning, governments, schools and trade associations need to follow Temasek Polytechnic’s visionary move to shape behaviour and enact digital transformation of the education space as we progress deeper into the fourth industrial revolution.
Future of Ed-tech
During the launch of the MLCs by Temasek Polytechnic and Gnowbe, Guest of Honour Ms Low Yen Ling; Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Trade and Industry, said “The launch of MLCs is really a positive and bold step towards creating a culture of lifelong learning with innovative and sustainable solutions so that [anyone] can learn anytime, anywhere”. Her promotion of innovating education solutions is especially apt given that by 2035, there will be an expected 2.7b students worldwide and without new innovative education-technology solution, meeting higher education demand alone will require 2 new universities to be built per day over the next 20 years (PR Newswire, 2016).
Businesswire. (2018). Global E-learning Courses Market – Increased Adoption of Mobile Learning to Drive Growth| Technavio. [online] Available at: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180323005230/en/Global-E-learning-Courses-Market—Increased-Adoption [Accessed 9 May 2018].
Channel NewsAsia. (2017). Tech start-ups cram into Singapore’s education sector. [online] Available at: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/tech-start-ups-cram-into-singapore-s-education-sector-7601786 [Accessed 9 May 2018].
Hays-index.com. (2017). http://www.hays-index.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Hays-GSI-Report-2017.pdf. [online] Available at: http://www.hays-index.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Hays-GSI-Report-2017.pdf [Accessed 9 May 2018].
Prnewswire.com. (2016). Global Report Predicts EdTech Spend to Reach $252bn by 2020. [online] Available at: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/global-report-predicts-edtech-spend-to-reach-252bn-by-2020-580765301.html [Accessed 9 May 2018].
The Straits Times. (2017). Let’s kill the drill approach in schools. [online] Available at: https://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/lets-kill-the-drill-approach-in-schools [Accessed 9 May 2018].
Think with Google. (2016). How People Use Their Devices. [online] Available at: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/intl/en-aunz/advertising-channels/mobile/device-use-marketer-tips/ [Accessed 9 May 2018].
TODAYonline. (2016). Long working hours keeping S’porean families apart: Survey. [online] Available at: https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/long-working-hours-keeping-sporean-families-apart-survey [Accessed 9 May 2018].