Web 2.0 and Emerging Learning Technologies/Different Sectors
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Technologies for Different Sectors: Business, Higher Education, Schools, Military, and Government
Military Emerging Learning Distribution (MELD)
Training and learning have become paramount in the military for personal growth and operational success. With the tasks military service people are asked to perform and the technology necessary to effectively complete it, the vast majority of military positions require extensive training and cognitive skills. Fast changing military requirements in the twenty-first century makes these skill needs more obvious and important. Training opportunities are needed for high level skills such as leadership of squads or units with members you barely know, rapid decision making, and problem solving with incomplete information. Although a priority, the strain of current military operations makes it difficult, if not impossible, for members to attend a traditional classroom setting. It is simply impractical to have members in traditional classrooms due to operational constraints. As a result, it is necessary to explore alternative and sometimes creative ways of delivering more effective instructional methods. Such change in instructional approaches relates to both personal education, which utilizes Web 2.0 tools, and personnel training, which focuses more on emerging technologies.
For a serviceperson there are two types of learning: (1) learning for self and (2) learning for country. As indicated above, these can be broken down into personal education and personnel training. All the services have recognized the need to invest in the individual. As technology improves, a more intelligent soldier or sailor is needed to operate, what were in the past, simple machines. Recognizing education can enhance problem solving and other high level cognitive skills, the military is investing in the future of the serviceperson and the organization by supporting personal education. As part of this, self-directed online learning is featured, where Web 2.0 tools are pervasive, since it allows military personnel to choose their learning when and where needed.
The other key component for a serviceperson is personnel training. Personnel training is in constant motion because the amount of instruction developed and the number of personnel needing the instruction is a consistent stream. As an example, the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Training Transformation Program, which has moved from training with individual military service units only to broader training partnerships (Kauchak, 2007). With new technologies coming into the services every day, personnel need to be trained on these systems and work with people who know the technologies best which may or may not be a military entity. This new focus is on quality of training, through emerging technologies, to keep our military sharp for the challenges ahead.
Each branch of the service is committed to the success of the individual through personal education. This perspective is prevalent in the Army’s slogan “An Army of One.” Each individual makes a contribution to the team and the team should be committed to the individuals. More and more service regulations and policies are requiring a certain education level for promotion. In the Navy, starting in 2011, one must have an Associate’s Degree (AA) to make Senior Chief (E8). This change is unprecedented because enlisted rates are typically technical and seen as specialty knowledge (US Navy Promotion Board, 2005). In the Air Force, it is an unwritten policy for an airman is to get an AA prior to a senior rating (Mckinley, 2006). The services are offering time and assistance to realize an individual’s educational goal. As an example, eArmyU is exploding with enrollments and expanding soldier’s educational possibilities. Tens of thousands of Army personnel take online courses each year in a program that did not even exist a decade ago. With the technology and educational institutions' commitment, deployments are no longer an excuse. The reason is because Web 2.0 tools, such as; wikis, Second Life, Voiceover IP (VoIP), and synchronous chat, allow worldwide discussion and collaboration. There is no longer an excuse to not pursue an education because geographic stability is no longer a necessity. A serviceperson can transfer across country or be deployed around the world and not have to drop or miss a class.
To assist the personal education endeavor, in July 2006, the DoD hosted the Worldwide Education Service Officer Symposium in Orlando, FL. There were over 100 colleges and universities committed to the educational success of the men and women in uniform. They also came with the products to deliver that success; mainly online degrees. Online degrees are especially tailored to the military because in a traditional program it is likely one will be transferred or deployed prior to degree completion. Online makes the transition seamless, through the use of Web 2.0 tools. Also, most of these colleges and universities offer in-State tuition or scholarships to assist the individual service member’s educational goal. Although they were recruiting, the universities have made their product feasible. Web 2.0 is to thank.
There was also some forward thinking to bring “any time anywhere” a reality. In a traditional on-line course, “anywhere” meant anywhere with an internet connection. However, that is no longer the case. Schools are experimenting with classes on iPods and Personal Data Assistants (PDA). The University of Western Florida, for example, has entered into a partnership with the Coast Guard (CG) to deliver a certificate in Human Performance Technology via a PDA. On CG Cutters, there are intermittent connectivity and security concerns. Consequently, a PDA with the appropriate learning materials and programs was installed to help each student to complete while underway. Bluetooth and Wireless cards were removed to alleviate security concerns (Pedraza, 2006). Not too surprisingly, this technology was highlighted at the 2005 Distance Learning Conference in Madison, WI to much fanfare (Chappell, 2005). Bringing education to the learner through mobile devices, however, remains in its' infancy.
The other side of learning in the military is personnel training which focuses less on Web 2.0 tools and more on emerging technology. The military has always embraced technology for personnel and systems. However, they have been reluctant to apply the latest educational tools to the masses. For example, in the DoD, the Army’s Armor School (AC3-DL) at Fort Knox KY, uses collaborative, blended environments to deliver instruction in logistics and leadership to Junior Officers (Bonk, Olson, Wisher, & Orvis, 2002). The instruction used three phases of learning, Phase 1 and Phase 2 are asynchronous and synchronous and the final phase is a face-to-face experience. This blended training is only now being regularly deployed even though success was noted over five years ago. A search on the Navy Human Performance Center’s Spider website show all the services are busy with projects and initiatives but finding an actual product or implementation is rare (Navy HPC Spider, 2005).
Projects such as AC3-DL indicate the military is often on the cutting edge of training with technology. When blended learning moved into the limelight a few years back, the Army was already using it effectively. They coined the word hybrid before anyone knew what it stood for. In 2001, Sander and Guyer (2001) and a second report from Sander and Burnside (2001) came out that used the same group with similar outcomes (Bonk, Olson, Wisher, & Orvis, 2002).
Face-to-face learning continues to be the method of choice for instructional delivery. Across all military training situations and trades, the environment typically includes some component or activity focused on peer interaction. These peer interaction episodes are for networking as much as they are for learning. Here camaraderie is born and career collaboration starts. Such sense of collaboration is especially apparent in a highly networked field such as the CG Marine Inspectors who regulate commercial vessels. The CG wants to meld these individuals together to form partnerships and a web of knowledge and expertise for a broad range of regulatory mandates which only face-to-face inspectors can accomplish initially. However, there is no real professional development beyond the core courses. This is where advanced technologies and learning strategies can assist. Perhaps communities can be created where people post questions and respond to a wiki, certain times when an expert is available for synchronous chat, or hold nationwide training in Second Life. These are some Web 2.0 tools that can be used to foster a community beyond, or as an alternative, to face-to-face that have yet to be analyzed.
As indicated earlier, in the military, there is now a move to online training or e-learning, especially redundant mandatory instruction. In fact, online learning is now a mainstay in military environments. In the CG, there are critical e-learning programs for delivering annual training such as Information Security and Sexual Harassment. As noted, e-learning is also employed on a wider front by the Army within the AC3-DL program. Bonk and Wisher (2000) stated; “As training in the military setting becomes increasingly distributed through the Internet or intranets, it is advantageous to understand the documented Web-enabled instructional approaches and learning results.” It is not only important to use the web but to identify what instruction works using the web (constructivism) and track the results of the learning (Human Performance Technology). Online we can deliver and measure performance easier than ever before and this benefit has being realized by the military enhancing accountability. However, most of the training online is straight computer base learning where designed instruction is delivered through an application or from a distant server. There is no real Web 2.0 interaction, only the web as a delivery tool or Web 1.0.
Blended learning is becoming also more prominent in all military settings. Through blended approaches, it is now common for instruction to begin prior to arrival at a military school. As an example, the CG deployed a blended learning course for its Boarding Officer Program within the last year. The instruction is only open to reservists who do not have the time to go to five weeks of residential instruction. One completes an on-line computer-based learning course then goes for two weeks to the Federal Law Enforcement Center in Charleston, SC to complete instruction. If this program is successful the CG plans to open it to the Active Duty because less time away means more time to the mission and family. However, blended or hybrid learning is more synonymous with asynchronous and synchronous conversations.
If one is sent to a military school today, the standard practice is for minor preparations to be done by the student, learning key terms and concepts prior to arrival. The method is more than likely to be asynchronous chat, such as through email. There are synchronous chat systems designed, for the military, such as the Virtual Tactical Operations Center (VTOC) for the AC3-DL, but it is not yet common (Bonk et al., 2002). Synchronous chat has been verified as an effective means of communication but there remain concerns about the deployment and the security (Orvis, Wisher, Bonk, & Olson, 2002). However, instant messaging is slowly emerging; the CG has recently initiated an instant messaging function through its main portal, CG Central. Also, IM is becoming common in gaming and simulations which are both, the premier learning emerging technologies for the military. I foresee, as gaming and simulations become more prominent, the tools used in the technology (IM, discussion boards, VoIP, etc.) will move into the main operations of the services.
The most progressive moves in personnel training and emerging technologies are through simulations and gaming. Simulations and gaming within the military are now considerable in the training and education realm. However, there is a distinct division. Games involve strategy or problem solving, like a puzzle that can be real or not. Simulations, according to Bonk and Denning (2005), “… attempt to provide an environment that represents or mimics reality so as to facilitate learning of the player or user.” An example of a game is the Army’s “American Army” which is a popular game that is free for anyone to download. Within the game, one must complete basic training before they can obtain a specialty and deploy on missions. This is different from Massive Multiplayer Online Gaming (MMOG) where people are typically networked--potentially throughout the world--in an interactive virtual game competing and/or collaborating, in real time. This has potential benefits for the military to launch month or yearlong games where people make decisions about certain logistic or combat situations. The data from the game can then be reviewed for feedback (Bonk & Denning 2005). As stated, this is also the gateway for Web 2.0 tools to make their way into the military learning environment as they are embedded in games and simulations.
It is important to note model and simulations (M&S) is the leader of open source software use in the military. The DoD has allowed the use of open source, in training, since 2003 and has realized a flurry of applications. To get away from contractors “locking in” applications, the military initially allowed and later encouraged open source initiatives. The problem is security, the use of GNU, a substitute for Unix, requires the source code to be open. “Open,” of course, does not interest the military. However, Linux is used frequently in training. According to Frank Boosman (2007), “this (Linux) is not only acceptable, but even desirable, given the well-documented suitability of Linux for many tasks.” However, he argues, building a secure system with Linux is not feasible in the defense environment. There are alternative programs that do not have as strict licensing restrictions such as FreeBSD (Berkeley Software Design) and an operating system called Croquet, the military is investigating (Boosman, 2007).
Simulations have been used extensively, by the military, for decades training personnel in emergency and technical techniques. However, they are becoming more realistic and elaborate. For example, the Navy has opened a new ship simulator at its Enlisted Training Center in Great Lakes, IL. This is a vessel mock-up to give recruits the feeling they are by or on a ship. The simulator is housed in a 157,000 foot building and inside resides a pier and a ship. According to Scott Gourley (2007), “recruits find themselves walking along “Pier 8” gazing at the USS Trayer, a 210-foot-long replica of a guided-missile destroyer.” To enhance the effect, the smell of diesel and the sound of waves slapping the hull are introduced and it is made to look and feel like a pier and ship in Norfolk, VA. Here, they will be shown the most mundane of tasks, loading stores, to the most intense emergency scenario, fighting an onboard fire. It is highly realistic for recruits to see and feel what it is like to work and survive on a US Navy Vessel.
Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL)
In the search for personnel training in the future, one needs to look no further than the Advance Distributed Learning (ADL) Lab. It used to be the enemy was highly apparent, but not in our current world. Today, there is a wealth of issues involved. As a result, the military needs to be prepared for the unknown. To succeed, the military needs vision and plans which encourage jointness and lifelong learning. Such joint planning is accomplished by ADL. ADL is mandated (through an Executive Order) to assist and develop instructional products for the DoD (Reiser & Dempsey, 2006). ADL holds the knowledge and foresight on how the military will use face-to-face, Web 2.0, gaming, distance collaboration, and simulations that integrate into personnel training. This is the future! All military services are mandated to employ content objects when building training that use the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM), which ADL oversees (Bonk & Graham, 2006). These content objects can and will be many or all of the Web 2.0 tools discussed.
ADL’s plans are built around repositories where SCORM content objects are stored. This vision has been underway since 2003 and is growing exponentially with all the services onboard. The repositories, ADL has built, had to deal with meta-data management, content management, and interoperability (Holden, 2004). Content management has been addressed by each service having a specific repository they can upload to and control. Interoperability was addressed through standards so everyone can access everyone else’s content. It is the meta-data, or a Registry, for accessing and retrieving the content that has been an issue. To mitigate the problem ADL is building the Content Object Repository Discovery and Registration Architecture (CORDRA) as the final link.
CORDRA is the missing piece and without it all the content objects developed would be visible only in their respective repositories. “CORDRA will enable ADL to establish a network of content repositories where learning objects may be accumulated and centrally cataloged for easy discovery, distribution. and use, said Dr. Robert Wisher, Director, ADL” (Kauchak, 2006). Currently there is the ADL Registry (ADL-R) which is a basic CORDRA architecture of software, hardware, and standards. By signing up in the registry, one can access anything allowable to build training using composed content objects stored in the repositories. This is the idea behind ADL’s “Performance Aiding” delivering content where it is needed making training, skills, and performance seamless (ADL Performance Aiding, 2007). On a policy scale, it allowed the recent development and implementation of the DoD Joint Knowledge Development and Distribution capability (JKDDC) and the Joint Knowledge Online (JKO) Portal (Chu, 2007) where the services have all agreed to collaborate through the ADL repository network.
The military’s approach to Web 2.0 and emerging technologies has been discussed. However, each of the learning categories is either focused on Web 2.0 or emerging technologies. Personal learning is heavily invested in Web 2.0 tools through distance learning, allowing geographic and operational barriers to become obsolete. Personnel training is heavily vested in emerging technologies such as simulations, gaming, and the ADL repository giving service personnel an authentic look at a virtual scenario. What if these focuses were switched, Web 2.0 being brought more into training and emerging technologies into personal learning? This is the future. If technologies are employed, like the underway PDA program, every geographic barrier is going to crash. No place on earth will be inaccessible to learning. If the training side grabs Web 2.0 tools they can, and will, build specialty communities through wikis. Also, training can be conducted in Second Life where service personnel stationed around the globe can sit in a class with their avatars and learn “hands-on,” virtually. Also, the open use of synchronous chat will break down professional incompetencies as anyone can gain access to a subject matter expert through a PC or mobile technology enabling just-in-time learning. Each of these have been touched on but as more security issues become addressed watch for Web 2.0 to make a move into military personnel training and emerging technologies into the hands of service personnel for personal learning.
ADL Performance Aiding (2007). Performance Aiding Informational Page. ADL website. Retrieved October 24, 2007 from http://www.adlnet.gov/technologies/performanceaid/index.aspx
Boosman, F. (2007). Open Source, Open Standards. Military Training Technology, Volume 10; Issue 3. Retrieved October 24, 2007 from http://www.military-training-technology.com/article.cfm?DocID=1036
Bonk, C. J., & Dennen, V. P. (2005). Massive multiplayer online gaming: A research framework for military education and training. (Technical Report # 2005-1). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Defense (DUSD/R): Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative. Can download from: http://mypage.iu.edu/~cjbonk/GameReport_Bonk_final.pdf or from the ADL lab: http://www.adlnet.org/downloads/189.cfm
Bonk, C. J., Olson, T., Wisher, R. A., & Orvis, K. L. (2002). Learning from focus groups: An examination of blended learning. Journal of Distance Education, 17(3), 97-118.
Bonk, C. J., Olson, T., Wisher, R. A., & Orvis, K. L. (2002). Reflections on blended learning: The Armor Captains Career Course. (Research Note #2002-13). Alexandria, VA: U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences.
Bonk, C. J. & Graham, C. R. (2006). The handbook of blended learning: Global perspectives, local designs; Blended Learning in Military Training; Ch. 37, Wisher, R. R. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. San Francisco, CA.
Bonk, C. J., & Wisher, R. A. (2000). Applying collaborative and e-learning tools to military distance learning: A research framework. (Technical Report #1107). Alexandria, VA: U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences. .
Chappell L. (2005). PDAs add new dimension to distance learning. Wisconsin Technology Network. Retrieved October 9, 2007 from http://wistechnology.com/article.php?id=2103
Chu, D. S. C. (2007). Memorandum for the Secretaries of the Military Departments: Transforming DoD Training (T2) – New Milestone Reached. ADL website. Retrieved October 24, 2007 from http://www.adlnet.gov/downloads/DownloadPage.aspx?ID=300
Gourley, S. R. (2007). Battle Stations 21. Military Training Technology, Volume 12; Issue 2. Retrieved October 24, 2007 from http://www.military-training-technology.com/article.cfm?DocID=2058
Holden, C. (2004). What We Mean When We Say “Repositories”: User Expectations of Repository Systems. Advanced Distributed Learning website: Retrieved October 24, 2007, from http://www.academiccolab.org/resources/RepoSurvey2004-1.pdf
Kauchak, M. (2006). ADL’s Missing Piece. Military Training Technology, Volume 11; Issue 2. Retrieved October 24, 2007 from http://www.military-training-technology.com/article.cfm?DocID=1448
Kauchak, M. (2007). ITEC 2007 Highlights. Military Training Technology, Volume 12; Issue 2. Retrieved October 24, 2007 from http://www.military-training-technology.com/article.cfm?DocID=2061
JDH Technologies. United States Coast Guard Live eLearning Study Summary. Retrieved October 9, 2007 from http://www.jdhtech.com/pages/whitepapers/eLearningStudy.pdf
Mckinley R. J. (2006). The Enlisted Perspective: Senior Rater Endorsement and Stratification. August 28, 2006 edition. Retrieved October 14, 2007 from http://web.archive.org/web/20060903081518/http://www.af.mil/library/viewpoints/cmsaf.asp?id=265
Orvis, K. L., Wisher, R. A., Bonk, C. J., & Olson, T. (2002). Communication patterns during synchronous Web-based military training in problem solving. Computers in Human Behavior, 18(6), 783-795. (Special Journal Issue on Computer-Based Assessment of Problem Solving).
Pedraza, J. (2006). Coast Guard Members Continue Education Using PDAs. UWF News. Retrieved October 9, 2007 from http://uwf.edu/uwfMain/press/topstoryarch.cfm?emailID=16453
Reiser, R. A & Dempsey J. V., (2006). Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology: Instructional Design in Military Education and Training Environments. CH. 19, pp. 185-196. Prentice Hall.
Singer D. (2006). U.S. Coast Guard's Boarding Officer Job Performance Aid Wins an ISPI 2005 Award of Excellence. Information Mapping. Retrieved October 9, 2007 from http://www.infomap.com/index.cfm/Expertise/CaseStudies/U.S._Coast_Guard
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US Navy HPT Spider (2003). Human Performance Center Spider. Navy Human Performance Center. Retrieved October 14, 2007 from https://www.spider.hpc.navy.mil/index.cfm?RID=WEB_OT_1001333
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Wisher, R.A (2006). ADL Advocate: Making the Vision of Learning Anytime Anywhere, a Reality, an interview with Dr. Robert A. Wisher. Military Training Technology, Volume 11; Issue 4. Retrieved October 24, 2007 from http://www.military-training-technology.com/article.cfm?DocID=1800
Wisher R. R. & Freeman M. (2005). Advanced Distributed Learning. Military Training Technology, Volume 10; Issue 4. Retrieved October 9, 2007 from http://www.military-training-technology.com/article.cfm?DocID=1111
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Trends and Possibility of Technologies for Different Sectors in Business and Government
Mobile Technologies in Business and School
Advances in wireless technologies and mobile networks have brought about new opportunities and research attention into an area of business known as mobile commerce or m-commerce. Commonly, m-commerce is considered to be a new application of existing web-based e-commerce onto wireless networks. Web-based e-commerce is proliferating, and the market potential and possible impacts continue to expand. Because of this growth, it is not surprising that private business sectors are looking for ways to maintain competition by building the information-communication infrastructure and promoting electronic commerce as a way to venture into new business opportunities.
But what elements should be considered when building an e-commerce infrastructure? According to Inman and Daniel (1990), “Foresight identifies priorities for national infrastructure, and gain commitment to action.” These authors suggest that foresight methods should encourage direct interaction between people. This is due to the fact that the benefits of foresight can only be gained through active participation. Further, Inman and his colleague argue that individuals should participate actively in examining trends and new technologies in the business sector.
Mobile technology is changing our life styles, our learning styles, and training methods in different settings. But what will mobile technology look like if incorporated into a business model? First, in this chapter, we examine the literature to determine the definition of mobile technology and technological change brought about by mobile technology innovations. Then, we focus on the characteristics of mobile technology that is altering the new technologies today. And finally, based upon the findings concerning the benefits, constraints, and applications of mobile commerce in our current society, we calculate trends and possibilities related to mobile business and its subgroup – mobile commerce.
Process of Technological Change
The word technology has various meanings, ranging from references to hardware to a way of solving problems. The latter is exemplified in the often-quoted definition given by economist John Kenneth Galbraith who defines this term in the following manner: Technology is “the systematic application of scientific or other organized knowledge to practical tasks” (as quoted in Heinich, Molenda, Russell, & Smaldino, 2002).
According to Mark Weiser (1991), computing technology went through two key waves. One was the mainframe era, which was characterized as a system that involved one computer and many people. The other was the personal computing era, which was described as a one-person-one-computer model. Currently, we have moved into the ubiquitous computing era. In a report on emerging technologies for learning, David Ley (2007) discusses ubiquitous computing and asserts that the “most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it” (p. 64). It is hardly to feel the terrain of ubiquitous technology nowadays. Based on Ley’s assessment, there are three stages for ubiquitous computing: (1) inventions, (2) innovations, and (3) diffusion. Adam Jaffe and his colleagues (2002) also refer to the stages of ubiquitous computing and contend that they are what bring about the cumulative economic or environmental impact of new technology.
File:圖片 5.png Slide source: Ley (2007).
These authors continue by outlining the diffusion process of new technologies, which form an S-shape when charted over time. Jaffe and his group describe the research on this process as one that has moved “from the mechanical reaper of the nineteenth century (David, 1966), through hybrid corn seed (Griliches, 1957), steel furnaces (Oster, 1982), Optical scanners (Levin et al., 1987) and industrial robots (Mansfield, 1989). Each wave of technology not only impacts on business and industry, but also on the learning opportunities of the citizens of this planet. Mobile technologies offer such learners access to educational resources wherever they are. And when the diffusion process related to mobile technologies nears the upper edges of the cycle in third world countries and rural regions and territories previously untouched by such technology, educational change and transformation on massive scales is possible.
Combined with the diffusion of mobile telephones and the Internet, today’s technological change has been recognized by Barnes (2002) as one where modern wireless communications represent the convergence of two key technology trends of the 1990s: (1) portability and (2) networking. A recent report by the International Telecommunication Union (2006) found that one-third of the individuals that make up the world’s population (much more in developed countries) now have mobile phones; within two years, though, that number is expected to increase to over 50 percent (Ley, 2007). As these figures and the chart below imply, an increasing number of people are using mobile devices as a way to access technology. Again, a plethora of interesting and engaging educational opportunities are within the fingertips of each connected learner. Of course, teacher and learner trainer and support will be required to take full advantage of such opportunities.
Slide source: Molyneux (2007)
Characteristics of Mobile Technology
Mobility provides individuals with a variety of options, including the freedom to choose. The results of a study conducted by Jarvenpaa and his colleagues (2003) suggest that Western participants placed more significance on freedoms related to effectiveness at work and opportunities in the individual sphere. Asian participants, on the other hand, especially valued new freedoms in interpersonal expression. In addition, these authors argue that mobile communications and information services have increased users’ freedoms in a psychological, social, and physical way (p. 44). Lee and Benbasat (2004) agree and further this line of thought by noting that “context-aware applications enhance the interactive communication of members of a community” (p. 90). For example, these devices enable users to control a remote display board and get information of their immediate positions in virtual space or to vote anonymously.
Lee and her colleague also believe that customization is another major character that is applicable to m-commerce. They point out that “the mobile device always carries its user’s identity, an essential condition for customization” (p. 90). As a result, we can utilize mobile devices to facilitate the process of user’s identity. Furthermore, it also might be possible to provide customized project that satisfy clients’ varied needs related to learning and working.
Benefits of Mobile Commerce
Jakka Sairamesh (2002) and his colleagues' state are adamant that it is the time to witness an emergence of various applications in m-business along with advances in computing portability and communication capability, and with the wireless environment’s support. Consumers and businesses are willing to adapt them into their daily business and recreational activities as the mobile devices becoming as powerful as laptops and desktop PCs. Evans (2003) believes that these applications extend “beyond being an additional channel for communications” in that “mobile business enables the enterprise to think about the powerful combination of business process, e-business, and wireless communications.”
If we look back to the history of the technology in business, e-commerce brought the powers of a web-based economy to both employees and the consumer, and made the desktop computer the means of access to the web. As Jarvenpaa and his group (2003) stress, “with the addition of mobility, m-commerce lets the Web come to the user, at any time, at any location” (p. 44). In addition, as Evans (2003) points out, benefits of mobile commerce include improved data accuracy, reduced costs, increased productivity, increased revenues, and improved customer service.
Constraints of Mobile Commerce
Jarvenpaa’s group (2003) begins their article by stating, “The advent of M-commerce has fueled much anticipation of its future possibilities” (p. 41). However, as these authors also point out, a delay in realizing the vision of mobile commerce has occurred because of a number of factors, including inadequate information, cost and speed issues, uncertainty of technology standards, the complexities of interactive multimedia applications, and the threat of governmental regulation. Other threats to m-commerce exist, such as the risk of losing the device, as well as its data. Furthermore, the possibility of data access by unauthorized parties may result in potential safety issues. In addition, Tarasewich (2003) examines the role context plays in mobile devices and found that there are serious problems and consequences with Web access diverts diver's attention from the task at hand; namely, to drive. Browsing while driving is handy, but simultaneously extremely dangerous!
Barnes (2002) also outlines factors have caused delays in the progress of mobile computing. These barriers include the high costs of mobile technologies and associated Internet access as well as slow transmission rates in many areas, the power consumption of mobile devices (many in third world countries simply cannot afford it), and poor or inadequate mobile interfaces. While it is true that mobile services can increase connectedness, Jarvenpaa’s group (2003) argues that another flaw is related to interaction asymmetry because the initiator who looks for rapid feedback benefits, but the recipient who is interrupted or forced to respond get pressures. (p. 43). Although this freedom suggests that anyone can decide when and to what degree he or she wants to participate in network exchanges or interactions, social norms and expectations are increasingly in conflict with such independence. In effect, in some cultures, if you are contacted electronically, you are expected to be polite and respond.
Based on the research of Lee and Benbasat (2004), though, little empirical research has been reported due to the fact that the necessary infrastructure is not yet available. They investigate different approaches and conclude that one option is to “insert a certificate of authentication into mobile phones, so that three parties—consumers, financial service providers, and mobile Web stores—can conduct mutual authentication” (p. 90).
Applications of Mobile Commerce
Tarasewich (2003) describes a number of application fields for mobile commerce, including medical, personal, exhibition, museum, and financial information. For instance, users and buyers can acquire versatile digital Expo information with mobile devices via a wireless network to search interactively and to receive the updated information and diversified location-based services from any events. Tarasewich also highlights the fact that context is more complex in mobile and ubiquitous computing situations because the use of different mobile applications can difer based on the situation and user needs. Further, Evans, (2003) asserts that there are not only functional application areas in mobile commerce such as customer relationship management and field force automation, but also horizontal application areas such as corporate email, personal information management, executive dashboards for the aggregation of business-critical information, and business intelligence applications.
The key business-to-consumer market makers on the mobile Internet are mobile portals (or m-portals). Barnes (2002) points to the work of Ticoll and his colleagues (1998) who define ‘portal’ as a “doorway or gate; mobile portals are high-level information and service aggregators…that provide a powerful role in access to the mobile Internet” (p. 101). Because their main objective is to provide a range of content and services tailored to customers’ needs, Barnes (2002) contends that m-commerce portals are important in particular for market making, along with revenues from advertising, commission from ticket sales, and subscriptions of content packaging. Barnes uses an online travel service called Kizoom to obtain personalized and time- and location-sensitive travel-related information. His company then repackages that information to better service its customers.
Other ways businesses are using mobile technologies are described in the eCornell Research Blog (2007). This resource suggests that corporations with large sales forces are now providing the latest training on new products, competitors, market possession rate, and technologies via m-learning. For example, in a post to this blog by David Shoemaker (2007), he states that companies are using mobile technologies in a variety of ways. He continues by noting “telecommunications giant Ericsson delivers all sales training on mobile phones (Sony Ericsson phones, obviously). Other companies are also using m-learning as part of blended learning curricula.” Also, after participating in a real-life instruction, field service representatives then receive just-in-time training modules or materials via mobile devices and they can refer to procedural videos if they need a refresher.
Trends and Possibilities of Mobile Business and Its Subgroup- Mobile Commerce
According to the group led by Venkatesh (2003), previous experiences of e-commerce is helping mobile Internet to scale up fast since mobile providers, customers, content providers, and, of course, investors and venture capitalists can use those e-commerce lessons in timely and appropriate places. Sairamesh and his colleagues (2002) consider mobile e-business to show great promise for the future, as well. Based upon the statement of Sairamesh et al (2002), the mobile phone and handheld market is set to explode; all that is needed is a further reduction in costs combined with simultaneous increases in computational power and, of course, increasing ease of use. With the low costs, usability, and increased capacity, here comes a huge opportunity to open the market of mobile devices for B2B activities such as purchasing, point of sales, inventory tracking, order status and order notifications, warehouse management, electronic name card, wisdom navigation, and others.
There are some technology facts supporting the trends of mobile markets. According to the group led by Sairamesh (2002), the “current estimate of number of devices sold is around 500 million, and growing to a billion in the next couple of years. In contrast, the number of desktop PCs has saturated to around 500 million” (p. 82). Japan is different in that more people use the mobile Internet than those who use the stationary Internet. Lee and Benbasat (2004) highlight the fact that in Japan,there are more than 25 million subscribers to mobile Internet provider NTT DoCoMo alone; compare with market in South Korea, there are 29 million (64% of the population) own mobile phones, and more than 18 million mobile Internet subscribers (39% of the population).(p. 79).
On December 12, 2005, NTT DoCoMo, Inc. announced that it would acquire a stake in the Just in Mobile International Company Limited (JIM) for US $6 million. Docomo aims to provide JIM know-how they learned from their settlement service using mobile phones in Japan. JMI is the holding company of Chinese mobile payment service provider, Just in Mobile, and this transaction took place in January 2006.
Based on a review of the literature, mobile commerce cannot succeed without the emergence and rapid early deployment of Wi-Fi networks and Blue-Tooth LANs. Sairamesh et al (2002) argue that businesses aware of the potential of such connectivity and capability to enable business activities for their potential mobile employees and consumers. Many businesses don’t want to fall behind, so they are beginning to invest in and deploy wireless networks in cafes, airports, museum, and hotels for business travelers, not only in Japan and China but also in Taiwan and other places.These trends are based upon the mobile Internet’s unique strengths over the stationary Internet-users ability to connect to the Internet wherever and whenever they want. Given the enhanced features available on the mobile Internet, proponents claim that m-commerce will surpass e-commerce in growth and scale.
When looking to the future, the industry must move their service goal from “nice-to-have” to “must-have,” which positively affects peoples’ lives. It is also important to mention that managing the tension between greater freedoms and connectedness is vital. Additionally, Jarvenpaa’s group (2003) believe that the success of m-commerce services is likely to allow users to shape it to their individual and group needs in various social and business contexts.
For mobile to be fully exploited, basically, developers in this field need to understand people, their needs, and how they interact with their surroundings. As Barnes (2003) suggests, doing a need analysis or research for the wireless consumer with a fresh and creative perspective will probably give a hint to solve some of the technological constraints that are on the stumps. We may view this through an anthropological lens, as well. For example, anthropological perspectives, such as Structural-Functionalism, might provide a better understanding of mobile users and environments. Or perhaps, as Barnes (2002) indicates in his earlier work, using location-specific technologies as well as Human Computer Interaction may contribute to some crucial pieces to this puzzle. In addition, Location-specific technologies enable p-commerce [positioning commerce] to enhance the value in a mobile environment. (p. 106).
Relating to Participatory Learning Web 2.0
Ley (2007) believes that, unlike the PC, the social properties of mobile phone and handheld devices embed them deeply into our lifes. Such embeddedness in one's social life is especially true of students and younger generations of learners. As Molyneux (2007) argues, a learning and living transformation will occur when mobile learning tools and resources are placed in the hands of every learner.
Slide source: Molyneux (2007)
In this scenario, Molyneux argues that the “learners’ time and curricula changes from postponed to immediate and from Subject-Centric to Performance-Centric.” Not only has the environment changed, but our learners also have changed. Along with mobile technologies come unique learning opportunities. For example, students can download course podcasts to their mobile devices, control and manage learning on their own, and decide when and where and to what extent they want to absorb new information through mobile technology. Imagine that after going back home, you want to recall one thing mentioned at school. In the future, you could just check with your mobile device. In the long run, ubiquitous computing will make everything connect together tightly in an invisible way. For example, mobile technology will be tightly linked to Internet technology that enables learners to download and upload knowledge they want to learn and share. Teachers will also benefit from it since they will be able to examine their students’ process, search how other professional teachers deal with a specific topic, and find something to improve, especially in this rapidly changing world. Imagine again students sending podcasts to their teachers’ mobile devices; it might be reused or expanded upon in the next class! With mobile technologies, sharing becomes easier and quicker.
Molyneux (2007) summarize his conclusion that from the History and Biology experience of human beings, species that are most capable of adapting to change survive but not those are strongest or intelligent do. Nowadays, to build the Global Knowledge Society, we need to be imaginative and innovative, or even bold to adapt to change. He asserts that “Don’t make do with Imitation and Automation - Imagination and Innovation are the cornerstones in transforming learning in the 21st Century.” We may need to think about how to satisfy human’s desire - an optimal mix of customization and personalization both for mobile learning and m-commerce without outmoded and stereotyped thinking. He continues to assert, “It must start in the Classroom and extend beyond the School Gate and Desktop and into the pocket." Are you imaginative and innovative? Are you ready to change?
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