During week 1 of the trial, at least 5 of the apprentices replied to food safety questions being sent out to them. I had already posted several messages to them to say that it was not compulsory for them to answer the food safety questions. So the response has been very heartening.
Text messages work better than email messages as apprentices are connected to the phone all the time. They check their phones for messages at every opportunity and I have noticed that smokers tend to check phone messages while they are on a smoking break. Several years ago, an apprentice told me that the only way he could get a break at work was to become a smoker. Otherwise, the bakers at his bakery worked from 2am to noon without a break! I think that the realities of the workplace, especially in a trade like baking, mean that being provided with the opportunity to take snack sized bites at completing work towards their unit standards works well. After a 10 to 12 hour day of hard, physical and often hot work that also demands maximum input from their cognitive senses, bakers are often too tired to make the effort to put in more hours in front of a computer to do work necessary to completing their qualification. Providing some incentive and motivation by way of sneaking in some learning moments using mlearning will hopefully pave the way for more reflective learning to take place when the time does come for the apprentice to ‘hit the books’. Therefore, I see mlearning as a good way of starting apprentices on an on going cycle of working towards their qualifications. In my context, mlearning should be used as a support tool, not be the primary way in which content is delivered to apprentices.