As smartphones and tablets become ubiquitous, parents and educators can choose to provide children with content that purely entertains or educational content that may help learning and development. However, the question arises, how do parents and educators ensure that mobile media applications are developmentally appropriate, educationally sound and offer a real learning potential?
One way is to develop standards for them. Standards set clear, measurable benchmarks for what students should know and be able to do. The lack of standards makes it difficult for parents and educators to know if a product lives up to its claims. A review of current standards and content guidelines shows that there are opportunities to improve educational content with an evidence-based approach to standard-setting.
Beimers et al. (2012) advocate for education standard setting based on the concept of evidence-based medicine, which combines the best available clinical evidence derived from scientific research with individual clinical expertise.
By applying an evidence-based approach to mobile device content, research-based evaluation occurs before learning begins. This ensures that curriculum developers deliver trustworthy educational content that does what it claims to do. Mobile device and app based learning is an ideal place to apply evidence-based standard setting, because it is not yet pervasive in schools.
Read more in this thought leadership piece (pdf) about the use of mobile devices and apps in early learning.