4Cs of mLearning Are a Guide for Content Creation

Recently, I received a surprise email from an instructor at Vancouver Island University asking for permission to borrow my infographic for his class, OLTD508 - Mobile Technologies and Game Based Learning. The infographic summarizes Clark Quinn’s “4Cs of mLearning.” I was honored and astonished that someone would ask me for permission, not because it was polite and professional – but because this infographic was obscurely tucked away in an old blog I formerly wrote for my previous employer three years ago! How did he find it?! But of course I allowed him.

His discovery of the graphic made me rediscover Quinn’s framework for mLearning. The infographic briefly describes each of the 4Cs: Content, Compute, Capture, Communicate.


As I reexamined my old artifact, I was reminded that three of the four Cs (Compute, Capture, Communicate) contribute to read/write (or remix) culture. To satisfy learning objectives, an instructor might ask that learners to strictly, though conveniently, consume content via their mobile devices.

However, a more astute instructor redefines learning objectives by prompting learners to create or remix content with their devices by using photos, video, and the plethora of apps available to them.

Furthermore, “Communicate” may be mLearning’s most impact-ful component as the culturally-transformative powers of social media enhance the mobile learning experience’s social presence.

An astute instructor implements social media to allow learners to share their content, provide one another feedback, and grow peer networks.

Quinn’s 4Cs are not a guide for how to access and consume content. It reminds us that that mobile devices can be used to create content, a basis for several instructional design models and practices, such as SAMR, project-based learning, and Community of Inquiry (in particular, social presence).

Mitchell WollComment