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Accelerating the Adoption of mLearning: A Call for Collective and Collaborative Action

Perspectives from the World Economic Forums Global Agenda Council on ICT


Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world
- Nelson Mandela

With the recognition that the accessibility and affordability of global communication services is vital for achieving its transformative potential, what makes the mLearning opportunity unique is that it can inclusively serve those living in extreme poverty. The impact of connectivity in developing countries is well documented. According to the World Bank, a ten percent increase in broadband penetration can lead to a 1.38 percent increase in the GDP of low-medium income nations, says Rajeev Singh-Molares, Executive Vice President Asia-Pacific, Alcatel-Lucent and Chair of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on ICT. Whats more, many people improve their quality of life because they have easier access to services such as banking, healthcare and local information.

In Egypt, groups of young people with mobile devices took matters into their own hands to bring about changes in the political system that they believed would lead to a brighter future for themselves and their families. Scrawled on the walls of Cairo were messages thanking Twitter and Facebook , both accessible via mobiles, for their help in bringing about the changes they wanted to see in their country. Among the many profound changes it represents, the Arab Spring highlights the immense and transformative power information and communications technologies (ICT) can have on society. Accelerating velocities, borderless information flows and the empowering of individuals are just some of the ways that connectivity is redefining the underlying dynamics of society. The question becomes, therefore, how ICT can be leveraged beyond political change to redefine other areas of society. In particular, can our education systems be transformed to create employment opportunities and meet the challenges young people face as they enter the work force?

The Shaqodoon Project-Somalia

In Somalia, a country where unemployment rates often hover around 60%, EDC (a global nonprofit addressing challenges in education, health and economic development accross 35 countries) partnered with Souktel and USAID to train young job seekers in various employmentrelated work skills through interactive audio instruction delivered by mp3 player devices. The program has trained more than 9,000 young jobseekers providing a vehicle to find prospective employment, create and send CVs, and connect with jobs and internships all through mobile platforms. In nearly three years, approximately 80% of the participants using the service have found jobs or internships. Additional information can be found at

___________________________________________________________________________ Mobile learning has the potential to be equally impactful. It has the potential to accelerate access to vocational training along with informal and formal education. It represents an opportunity for people to take an active role in their own future. It can help create a more practical and current set of learning tools to match the rapidly changing skills required in todays workforce. But we need new models. We need new ways to reach and engage with the 140 million children and adolescents who are currently not enrolled in school. We need approaches to help those who already have university degrees to put their education to work. We need solutions on the supply side as well. According to the 2011 Education for All report, the world is facing a massive teacher shortage1. The planet needs roughly 5.4 million new teachers by 20152. These new teachers will need to be trained to provide the practical skills needed for contributing in todays digital economy. For starters, both students and teachers will need to strengthen their digital literacy. Digital literacy requires individuals to have the capacities to both read and write applications, notes Marc Davis, Partner Architect at Microsoft and ICT Global Agenda Council member. To ensure that everyone can fully participate in the global economy, a greater focus is needed on teaching

individuals how to both create digital applications as well as how to use them. Approaches which embrace individuals as both producers and consumers of digital content are foundational for arriving at transformative and sustainable change. Professor Sandy Pentland, of the MIT Media Lab notes, Its all about user centricity. If we dont place the individual at the center of the solution space we could unintentionally build a new generation of information silos and repeat mistakes from the past. The costs for ignoring the challenges of transforming education are great. Mobile learning represents an opportunity to systemically redefine the way that individuals and communities can contribute to society. It serves as a new way of interconnecting everything and everyone -- teachers, tutors, students, study groups, social networks, gaming communities, content creators and more -- in a trusted way for sharing information and knowledge. Its simple. During the past 100 years, no socio-economic factor is a better indicator of a nations economic success than its investment in education3. Given this, how do we foster such investment? It will require three things: 2 ibid

Edward L. Glaeser, Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics at Harvard, New York Times, October 6, 2009.

___________________________________________________________________________ 1) Robust collaboration among governments, teachers, private sector and individuals. 2) Globally scaling mLearning projects, particularly those serving the most vulnerable segments of society 3) The ICT sector taking a much more active role in the success of mLearning. In other words, we need to bring together a community ready to embrace technology and co-create relevant education models for all.

Logical reasoning and problem solving aptitude games Multiple choice tests to reinforce content learning Audio- to-text or text- to- audio applications Mobile whiteboards for interactive discussions

Education You Can Hold in Your Hand

mLearning refers to the ability to access educational resources, tools and materials at any time, from anywhere, using a mobile device.4 Mobile technology devices for mLearning range from basic mobile phones to tablet PCs, and include PDAs, MP3 players, memory sticks, ereaders, and smartphones.5 mLearning can include: Simple SMS messaging Multimedia live classroom sessions Web and podcasting to audio Text recaps of lessons Educational video games

Because of mLearnings ubiquity and diversity, it offers fascinating opportunities for new learning modalities. It can change the nature of the relationship that exists between teachers, learners, and content. From a pedagogy perspective, teachers can take on mentor and facilitator roles instead of simply transmitting knowledge. mLearning blurs the line between formal and informal learning. But technology alone doesnt change the educational paradigm. It must be combined with well-designed, locallyappropriate content and well-prepared teachers to realize its full potential. Or as Paul Kim from Stanford University says, A well-developed, adapted pedagogy must go along with the technology. A number of specialists have researched mLearning and many advocates have worked for years to raise awareness about its promise. This work combined with efforts from the private sector -- has resulted in a large number of successful projects. However we are still in the early adoption phase, particularly in emerging and developing countries where isolated and relatively small-

GSMA mLearning: A Platform for Educational Opportunities at the Base of the Pyramid-December 2010.

Note that there are a number of different definitions of mLearning and that some that also associate portable PCs for example. For the purpose of this paper, we are limiting it to the above listed devices

___________________________________________________________________________ scale donor-funded projects remain the norm. The problem is that small-scale projects mean small-scale impact. While pockets of success show promise, the large number of unemployed or underemployed young people demonstrates that the situation requires urgent attention. The good news is that the past year has seen a surge in activity and interest in mLearning. The GSM Association has recently engaged in a number of initiatives to increase awareness of mobile learning6. USAID has recently prioritized mobile learning through the launch of its Mobiles for Education Alliance program. UNESCO has expanded its mLearning department and is increasing its efforts to highlight the promise of mLearning to governments7. Academic interest is also growing as demonstrated by the recent launch of the new Center for Mobile Learning at MIT. Dedicated to transforming education and learning through mobile computing, one of the initial areas of focus will be App Inventor. App Inventor is an open source environment that makes it easy for individuals to create mobile apps through an intuitive graphical user

interface. The tool has attracted a community of nearly 100,000 educators, students, and hobbyists. MIT plans to actively promote and scale it while leveraging its historic track record in educational technology and open software innovation. MIT is also exploring innovative ways in which the personal data and metadata generated by mobile devices and services can be more effectively leveraged in a secure, principled and permissioned manner to improve education-related outcomes. Dr. John Clippinger Executive Director of MITs ID Cubed Organization, and member of the Global Agenda Council on ICT, is working with the Boston School System on a trial to develop a mobile application for sharing personal data and school-related data among students, parents, teachers and designated third parties. The goal is to provide a trust framework that would allow protected data sharing among different agencies about students and to provide students with the ability to participate in after school programs and third-party services. This is part of a broader effort of collaboration with the City of Boston to develop a trust framework and mobile platform for civic participation.

Recently completed studies available at: and 7 A set of guidelines for mobile learning policies will be released by the end of 2012, with a first set of working papers to be released in the 2nd quarter of 2012 which will present a scan of policies related to mobile learning, as well as a scan of how mobile technologies are being used to support teacher training, in the five major world regions

What Does mLearning Do That Traditional Classrooms Dont?

Mobile learning provides a level of scope, reach and flexibility that is largely unattainable through traditional

___________________________________________________________________________ classroom environments. It provides many other benefits, including the following. Immediacy and Convenience: Because mobile devices are typically carried at all times, individuals have immediate and constant access to vast libraries of the most current electronic textbooks, journals, magazines and other digital assets. With convenient access, the classroom follows the student not the other way around. This has special relevance in developing countries and rural areas where transportation can be long, expensive and inconvenient. Reach: In developing countries, only 25 percent 8 of homes have computers. One of the most important benefits of mLearning is its ability to reach people through devices which will soon be in the pockets of every human being on the planet. Mobile Learning can have special relevance in addressing the challenges that come with distancelearning. The mobile platform can build virtual communities and help reduce feelings of isolation among students. Collaboration: Students and teachers can connect and co-create with each other to form communities of interest, learning and practice. Leveraging the network effect, the global communications platform exponentially grows in value as each individual joins, contributes and interacts with one another. As the web of documents connects with the

web of people, the web of things and the web of location, the intersection of these four creates transformative opportunities. In the context of education, when a student searches on the Internet it will soon reveal not only the relevant content, but also the relevant people connected to that content, where they are located and any related objects in the physical world. Customization: Teachers can provide unique and customised learning experiences based on the needs of each individual student something that is always a challenge in the traditional classroom. It can also free teachers from routine (non-core) tasks and give them more time to be coaches and mentors and provide more discussion and exploration in class.

Nokia Life Tools Launched in 2009 and available in four countries, Nokia Life Tools provide an interesting approach to distributing content related to agriculture, education, entertainment and healthcare. Providing multiple education services for learning English, individuals can obtain the content either as combo (included with the price of the device) or as a paid subscription. Two and half years after first launch, Life Tools has reached 48 million individuals.

ITU Facts and Figures 2011


___________________________________________________________________________ tremendous impact in making it easier for parents to pay for their childrens education. From the educators perspective, PesaPal automates backoffice processes, reduces operational expenses and creates greater transparency and accountability. Commenting on the value of this increased visibility, Juliana Rotich, Executive Director of Ushahidi and World Economic Forum ICT Global Agenda Council member notes, Whenever there is greater transparency there is greater trust. Trust is the foundation for delivering complex social services at global scale. Three Minutes for Three Cents in Bangladesh
In 2009, the BBC in partnership with local operators launched an English lesson service offering 3-minute voice lessons for less than $0.03 on mobile phones. English language skills are very important to secure jobs in most sectors in Bangladesh. In August 2011, the USAID symposium reported that Approximately 26.3 million Bangladeshis have used BBC Janala programs to date. The British Council which runs over 80 schools worldwide, has another widely-used service English by SMS, which is being implemented in Sudan with low- cost subscriptions that deliver English-language content to users on a daily basis.

Costs and Savings: As it does with many other services, the mobile platform creates significant new cost efficiencies for the delivery of educational experiences. Dr. David Ngaruiya of the NIST in Kenya observed as a faculty member that the [typical] mLearning student saved more than 80% of the cost of traditional classroom training.9 Much of this can be attributed to the elimination of the cost of travelling to attend courses in specific locations. Other costs savings come from students being able to use their existing device instead of investing in expensive hardware and computer labs. The University of Ibadan in Nigeria announced in late 2010 the launch of mLearning with the intent to bypass eLearning due to a number of constraints associated with infrastructure such as cost, lack of computers and lack of electricity.10 Additionally, because mobile devices can be used for mobile payments and the transfer of electronic funds, they can also provide an effective way for parents and students to save and pay for education-related expenses. Mobile applications such as PesaPal (which provides individuals in Kenya with the ability to pay school tuition via the mobile phone) are having a

Dr. David Ngaruiya. Kenyan Faculty member of NIST, in an interview with David Rogers, University of Central Florida.

University of Ibadan, EAC and eXact learning solutions start African mobile learning initiative-Dec 2,2010

Equal Opportunity and Gender Parity Mobile Learning can help achieve a number of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals related to universal primary education and gender equity. The World Bank estimates the economic cost of failing to educate girls to the same standards

___________________________________________________________________________ as boys is US $92 billion each year.11 mLearning can also overcome the barriers of physical disability. WorldVision estimates that one third of children who are not in school have a disability which prevents them from attending.12 The Mobilink literacy project in Pakistan provides a use case where semi-literate women were given a simple mobile phone and received mobile-based Urdu language messages every day covering a wide range of topics. Using interactive questions and quizzes, the results showed that m-Learning was more effective than conventional approaches in post-literacy programs for having a positive impact. rate of 158 percent13 will also help drive mLearning. Cheaper, faster and better, todays mobile devices are increasingly powerful and possess the computing power of mid-1990s personal computers. The wireless networks to which these devices connect now have more coverage and capacity than ever before. The extraordinary growth rate in mobile broadband adoption, including 3G and 4G, means that within four years, mobile broadband will compose about 80 percent of total broadband subscriptions to become the dominant means of Internet connectivity. 14 One of the most important technology drivers behind mobile learning is the advent of eBooks and competitively priced tablets (such as the recently released $35 Aakash tablet in India). Tablets provide the convenience and utility of a phone but hold unique potential as tools for education as they can deliver content in a more intuitive manner and on a larger screen. Cloud computing will also be a major force as it unlocks scale economics so that the costs of devices can be streamlined. Content pricing can also play a significant role in accelerating the adoption of mLearning. Providing individuals with access to free learning materials or the ability to rent a textbook can significantly reduce cost

A $9.1 Billion Opportunity

The good news is that mLearning has a chance to truly develop and scale. The reason: economics, local demand and technology are all coalescing at the same time. Mobile learning represents a significant opportunity for the private sector. According to Ambient Insight, the worldwide market for Mobile Learning products and services reached $3.2 Billion in 2010, demonstrating a five-year CAGR of 22.7 percent and revenues that will reach $9.1 billion by 2015. The report adds that mobile learning products sold directly to consumers by network operators have spread quickly in the last year. The application market growing at a compound annual growth

Children in Focus, Paying the Price, Plan 2008, Plan, International Headquarters, Chobham House 12 World Vision, Educations Missing Millions: Missing_Millions_-_Main_Report.pdf

( _broadband_west.aspx#_edn2 8

___________________________________________________________________________ barriers and improve access to educational content. Recent announcements in the U.S. by leading device manufacturers and online retailers to partner with leading educational content publishers hold unique promise15. Partnerships of this nature could provide individuals with greater access to digital textbooks and reduce the bottleneck state and local school districts have in procuring textbooks. Tightening its relationships with the gaming and entertainment industries also holds unique promise for the mLearning community. Human beings are wired to play. Using the unique and varied approaches gaming provides to engage individuals (over extended periods of time) to achieve goals and objectives should not be readily dismissed. But gaining consensus among gamers, parents and educators on what constitutes a compelling piece of edutainment is difficult. Some argue that its been 25 years since that collective consent has been achieved with the debut of Where in the World is Carmen San Diego. But putting aside the issue of how to strengthen effective cross-stakeholder collaboration, the gaming industry can provide unique insights into the needs, behaviors and values of how young individuals engage with networked digital technologies. The ability of todays youth to multi-task, to selforganize for achieving shared goals

and to understand (and act upon) complex interdependencies are seen as being fundamentally different generational traits in the way that information is processed and understood16. In South Africa, a new mobile tablet solution called eLimu aims to address these concerns by maximising the interest and engagement of children. By using a combination of static and dynamic content the device can be used as a catalyst to support educational reform within South Africa and as a learning tool in the classroom17. Leveraging social networks the ways in which individuals and communities self-organize and share educational content is also highly important to understand. Collectively understanding how communities of interest can more effectively link and work together to share content and achieve common goals is an untapped resource for creating value. Distribution models based on pushing out content in a centralized, top-down manner need to be revisited, says Rob Conway, Chief of International Affairs, Vimpelcom and ICT Global Agenda Council member. Bottom up approaches built on leveraging the trust, reputation and social capital of individuals and communities of interest need to be more fully explored. The markets for simpler forms of mLearning such as informal education,

What Apple Is Wading Into: A Snapshot Of The K12 Textbook Business, Paid Content: The Economics of Digital Content, January 12, 2012

Zichermann, Gabe. TEDxKids@Brussels, June, 2011 17 Colaco, Jessica ihub Research, Kenya, 9

___________________________________________________________________________ health information, vocational training, language training and standardized test preparations are likely to develop more quickly as they sit at the periphery of the traditional education system. Matthew Kam from Carnegie Mellon says, It has been more challenging to have schools integrate technology into their regular activities because technology usage competes with classroom teaching and exam preparation for the same slice of limited classroom time, besides other requirements such as teacher professional development. Increased development and adoption of open innovation is another major opportunity to explore. If educators or learners are developing the apps or tools, it ensures a user-centric approach and engagement which can make adoption more effective. Matthew Kam, warns there is a real market failure in creating high-quality education apps for those living in extreme poverty and we have to find a way to create incentives for developers. But despite the fact that many applications and services never achieve scale due to limited awareness and poor marketing, there is hope. An example is Khan Academy, an online university made available through YouTube which offers more than 2,800 tutorial videos to 500,000 students every month for free.18

From Pilot Projects to Critical Mass

From a public policy perspective, investment in education increases outcomes in two ways. It adds skills to the labor force and in turn increases output capacity. It also increases innovation capacity as ideas and skills enter the workforce and add to both individual and group productivity. At a time when donors are reducing their aid to education by nearly $20 billion annually19 and governments are faced with restricted budgets and economic crisis, the cost efficiency factor of mLearning makes sense for governments. Three factors will catalyse the rollout of mLearning in developing countries: 1) Developing Policy Supportive of mLearning Most agree that two factors the cost of access - and inadequate connectivity - remain the two biggest factors that limit mLearning. Although there has been much progress, the digital divide remains a reality with only 4 percent of mobile-broadband penetration in Africa - compared to over 90 percent in Korea20. The ITU reported in 2011 that in many developed countries, broadband connection costs are equivalent to 1 percent of average monthly income, while in the 19 least developed countries the price is still more than


Vander Ark, Tom- Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World. 2011.



EFA Global Monitoring Report 2011 ITU-ICT Facts & Figures 2011 10

___________________________________________________________________________ 100 percent of monthly income21. This is clearly untenable. Governments and regulators have an important role here. They must seek ways to decrease the cost of access at appropriate bandwidth levels; liberalize markets and provide efficient spectrum management with long-term social benefits in mind; explore and support the use of shared infrastructure; help ensure connectivity to rural zones and school; and work to minimize taxes on mobile devices and services. Unfortunately there is no single recipe of business models and policy interventions that can currently solve this concern. Investments in core telecommunication infrastructure are so large that it is difficult, if not impossible, to close a business case that meets both short-term financial requirements while also achieving long-term social outcomes. However technological progress paired with the evolution of legal and regulatory frameworks hold much promise to address this challenge over time. protecting incumbent interests rather than fostering sector-wide investment. Breaking through this log-jam will require the opening up of infrastructure enablers and moving past legacy notions of service delivery via integrated telco value chains. Equitable value distribution for all actors in the ecosystem is critical for a healthy sector. Mobile Learning is one of those areas where greater coordination between the public and private sector yields significant returns. To date, specific policy frameworks designed to advance mLearning are generally nonexistent22. Government policy can be instrumental in directing private sector investments and creating incentives for investing in mobile education. Koreas recent policy decision to digitize all educational content and books by 2015, for example, or Thailands announcement to give 5 million tablets to primary grades, are examples of government policies that can catalyse the formation of new market opportunities. Government policy is also instrumental for increasing the digital literacy for teachers and training them to integrate mLearning into their classrooms. Having teachers on board is absolutely fundamental for adoption. At the same time, mLearning policies should be integrated with national broadband strategies as a way to gain efficiencies and scale economics.

A constellation of new opportunities needs to be developed, says Simon Torrance CEO of STL Partners and ICT Council member, These new opportunities are currently constrained by policy regimes oriented to

The ITU 2011 ICT facts and figures reports: In 31 countries all of them highly industrialized economies an entry-level broadband connection costs on average the equivalent of 1% or less of average monthly GNI per capita, while in 19 countries most of them least developed countries a broadband connection costs on average more than 100% of monthly GNI per capita.

UNESCO Mobile Learning Week Report- January 2012 11

___________________________________________________________________________ More than ninety countries have embarked on such national broadband strategies. Increased public-private coordination between the education and ICT sectors can ensure that appropriate frameworks are in place for the scaling of mLearning initiatives in a sustainable manner. 2) Developing a Committed Ecosystem Mobile Learning requires large-scale, broad cross-sector coordination. That means bringing together nonprofits, social entrepreneurs, donors, international agencies, governments, businesses, research institutions and academia, as well as the public, to create collective impact. Each entity can contribute to the end result in a unique way. As discussed, governments, international organizations and policy makers can increase awareness, incentivize teacher training and develop the right policies to encourage investment in mLearning. Research institutions and academia build content, investigate theories of learning adapted to mobiles, conduct research pilots and find ways to measure mLearning efficiency and impact. Donors and aid agencies increase awareness, encourage the eco-system, and help finance the development costs of projects in early phases. Local social entrepreneurs, NGOs and citizen sector organizations develop innovative grassroots support, help develop locally appropriate content and build adoption by increasing awareness and training on the ground. Large corporations and operators invest to co-create technology innovation and develop new socially innovative business models. The mLearning Text2Teach project in the Philippines is a good example of this collaborative effort. It provides teachers with the ability to download short videos to a mobile device and screen them in the classroom. The program is doing well, in part because it has the backing of a strong consortium of local and international participants23 as well as local and national governments. Educators dont always have technology expertise and technology experts typically arent educators. The telecom industry and the education sector are unfamiliar with each other and building bridges to promote better understanding, collaborative mindset, a common language and shared objectives is fundamental to enabling mLearning. Efforts to create national, regional and global alliances would enable coordination and sharing of best practices. The mEducation Alliance launched in February 2012 is an encouraging sign. Content aggregation is another way to create economies of scale that would enable faster adoption and scaling.

Partners including the Ayala Foundation, Nokia, Pearson Foundation, International Youth Foundation, Seameo Innotech and Globe Telecom 12

___________________________________________________________________________ The recently created iHeed institute which will focus on creating content for training Community Health Workers via mobile devices is such an example. John Traxler, a long-time mLearning researcher and specialist warns us, however, to not fall in the trap of aggregating everything and to not forget the important notion of local adaptation: my concern with this push to scale is that content will be disseminated without any differentiation or sensitivity to different cultures and personalities. The creation of global or regional funds for mLearning could also considerably accelerate mLearning projects and initiatives as much time and energy can be lost trying to locate resources during the initial development phases of projects. Many teachers and parents still view mobile devices as a disruptive element rather than a tool for more effective, collaborative education. Better coordination within the eco-system will help to share knowledge and increase mLearning awareness. However, launching dedicated information and media campaigns to heighten awareness should be considered. For example, in February 2010 the GSMA and Queen Rania of Jordan launched 1GOAL Education for All mobile campaign. A subsequent campaign by GSMA and operators serving one billion mobile users resulted in over six million mobile subscribers registering their support via their mobiles, sending a clear message to world leaders meeting to discuss their ongoing commitments to education. This unique campaign helped to secure extra aid for education at the United Nations. 3) Increased Role of the Information Communications Technology Sector The ICT sector is central to the mLearning ecosystem and strengthening the sectors leadership to increase the awareness, adoption, scalability and financial sustainability should become a top priority. The ICT sector can also take an active role in helping to build a collaborative community to unlock economies of scale, innovation and competition. A number of innovative business models and strategies such as crosssubsidization (i.e. leveraging mAdvertising or using crowd-sourcing) could be explored to reach all segments of the population. Operators can play a significant role promoting and distributing mLearning applications and services. Mobile subscribers must know what services are available and network operators could facilitate this process. The ICT sector could also help build mLearning cloud service aggregation platforms. Great economies of scale could be reached around such platforms which could be a one-stopshop for educators, app developers and operators to meet. Steve Vooslo, who coordinated one of the better known mLearning projects in South Africa (M4Litt) comments, there are


___________________________________________________________________________ too many small dispersed initiatives and governments and operators are not taking them seriouslyif projects and actors joined forces to make coherent larger scale proposals, it would accelerate mLearning considerably. At the same time the sector could work closely with governments on innovative models for the costeffective deployment of rural infrastructure and the connection of schools. In concert with this effort, device manufacturers should engage with the ecosystem to find ways to accelerate the reduction of device costs, with a focus on smart phones and tablets. Telecom companies could engage with local legislative and regulatory bodies to help create policy and models that meet the unique needs of mLearning, especially for rural and low-income learners. For example, offpeak bandwidth could be made available for the distribution of educational content at lower cost. This would result in the low-cost delivery of multimedia content to students in remote locales, while at the same time growing demand for network expansion. human capacity, especially in the developing world. The mass adoption of increasingly sophisticated and affordable mobile devices and the state of todays connectivity technology has the potential to expand education in ways never before seen. Because of mLearnings inherent quality of anytime, anywhere access to the most current content and information, it makes it possible to provide unemployed populations with the latest and most appropriate skills they need. This includes promoting entrepreneurial skills as well as initiatives, addressing youth unemployment, one of the greatest challenges facing the world today. As education is pervasive to any field, mLearning can also have a significant positive impact on global health, financial literacy and on the challenges faced in agriculture and food supply. Expected revenues for mLearning are $9 billion by 2015. This is impressive, but it could prove to be grossly underestimated if the private sector and the other members of the mLearning ecosystem, particularly the ICT sector, work collaboratively. Building innovative models around informal learning and vocational training will represent the first level of successful market segments for the industry. However, truly transformative mass-scale adoption of mLearning lies in fully integrating formal education (primary, secondary and higher education). This will require a crosssector effort with the education field

Conclusion and Next Steps

Our global educational crisis has profound negative impacts on all levels of human society. Many people are being denied access to basic practical education. If not corrected, we will widen the knowledge divide and retard economic growth and the expansion of


___________________________________________________________________________ and forming multi-stakeholder partnerships. The ICT and telecom sector must approach this in a way that brings together both profit and social good. Revenues can be generated and at the same time contribute to the quality of peoples lives. Such an approach has the potential to benefit underserved populations of the world who stand to gain so much from mLearning efforts. There is no question that the private sector can help mLearning to truly scale and have a transformative impact on education in the developing world. Although we must remember that mLearning will never replace traditional education or the role of teachers, it is a tool that can have tremendous impact on making education more accessible, more efficient, more cost-effective, and more enjoyable. Economic return is only one part of the equation. Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen advocates that we take a broader view to growth and consider human development. As an approach, human development, advances the richness of human life, rather than the richness of the economy in which human beings live, which is only a part of it." Mobile applications in banking and health have successfully combined economic and social returns. Mobile Learning has the potential to do the same. Whats more, the time is now. With youth unemployment rates high, an increasing wealth gap and a growing frustration on the part of employers, the urgency cannot be overstated. Beyond the easier forms linked to informal learning, the private sector and entrepreneurs need to also look beyond early market opportunities and take a long-term view of the market. That requires people to embrace the challenge of delivering education to students who are at the bottom of the pyramid and to work in parallel on strategies that include the formal education sector. This can only happen if the private sector works in close collaboration with governments, teachers and students.


___________________________________________________________________________ The 2011-2012 World Economic Forum ICT Global Agenda Council Members: Rajeev Singh-Molares, Alcatel-Lucent* Yvette Alberdingk-Thijm, Witness Seth Ayers, World Bank Institute John Clippinger, MIT ID Cubed Rob Conway, VimpelCom Scott David, K&L Gates Marc Davis, Microsoft Roman Friedrich, Booz & Company Peter Gabriel, Real World Bill Hoffman, World Economic Forum Sanjay Kapoor, Bharti Airtel Michele Luzi, Bain & Company Nicholas Nesbitt, KenCall EPZ Sandy Pentland, MIT Robert Quinn, AT&T Juliana Rotich,Ushahidi Bright Simons, mPedigree Simon Torrance, STL Partners Hamadoun Tour, ITU
*ICT Council Chair
Heli Haapkyl-Nokia Corporation John Roberts-Open University of West Africa Gonzalo Plaza-Puentes Educativos Caitlyn Fox, Sarah Troup, Karl Brown-Rockefeller Foundation Dr Allah Bakhsh Malik PhD, Fakhar-ud-din, Jameel, Phyza -UNESCO Office Pakistan Steve Vosloo and Francesc Pedro-UNESCO Mike Sharples-University of Nottingham Kevin Mehan & David Rogers-, University of Central Florida Gannon Gillespie &Guillaume Debar -Tostan Paul Kim-Stanford University Jenny Aker -Tufts University John Traxler University of Wolverhampton Barbara Reynolds-UNICEF Anthony Bloome-USAID Steve Song-Village Telco Michael Trucano-World Bank

Writing and Editorial Support:

Christine Diamente, Alcatel-Lucent Florence Gaudry-Perkins, Alcatel-Lucent Jeanmarie Kantor, Monmouth Marketechs Heather Ritchie, Alcatel-Lucent Steven Shepard, Shepard Communications Group

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Special Thanks To:

Genevive Puisgur-Pouchin, Aprli@ Association pour la promotion des ressources ducatives libres @fricaines Jean-Claude Balmes-AFD-Agence Franaise de Dveloppement Marilyn Reznick, Jeffrey Dygert, Kevin Carman AT&T Ashish Luthra-Airtel Mario A. Deriquito Ayala Foundation, Inc Mirjam Jansen op de Haar- AMREF Tanya Cotter- BBC Media Action Matthew Kam, Carnegie Mellon University Elizabeth R. Pfifer -Catholic Relief Services USCCB Danica MacAvoy Clinton Global Initiative Ronda Zelezny-Green-Consultant ICT4D Specialty Ranga Krishnan-Duke University Barbara Treacy-Education Development Center (EDC) Eugenie Rives-Google Robert Shaw, Susan Schorr, Susan Teltscher-ITU Lauren Dawes, Jill Atteway, Chris Locke, Ana Tavares Lattibeaudiere-GSMA Chris Dede -Harvard Graduate School of Education Tom OCallaghan-iHEED Institute Christine Capota-Inter-American Development Bank Prem Kalra-IIT Rajasthan Scott Kipp & Rebekah Levi-JBS International Kathryn Steel & Meghan Trossen-mHealth Alliance Eric Klopfer-MIT Katrin Verclas- Mobile Active

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