How Mobile Computing Helps to Increase Operational Efficiency

Mobile computing is a recent and versatile technology that helps the management of a business make effective improvements in information quality and accessibility, operational efficiency, and staff productivity. Organizations are able to connect securely with field staff, increase sales and provide faster customer service with the use of various field mobility solutions.Mobile computing involves the use of mobile computing devices that interact with a central information system when the user is away from the normal, fixed workplace. It is a combination of computer hardware, system and applications software, and some form of communications medium. Extremely powerful and small computing devices enable the mobile staff to create, access, process, and store information without being constrained to a single location. With the help of these devices, as well as specialized software, many customized field mobility solutions can be designed.One of the major benefits of using mobile computing systems is that they eliminate paperwork, as data is collected and transferred electronically. Freeing mobile employees from burdensome paperwork adds many hours of productive work. Data transfer through mobile computers is fast, accurate, and evades repetitive data entry, which is prone to transcription and interpretation errors.To demonstrate how mobile computing improves the operational efficiency of an organization, here are some examples from a few fields in the real world.Retail and sales: The use of mobile computers in a retail arena is an effective way to stay competitive in the field. Especially in retail stores, the best way to complete inventory management is by utilizing mobile computers. They ease the work of store managers by performing inventory functions such as replenishment, shelf stocking, item labeling, stock management, shelf price audits, and so on. These tasks can be completed with increased speed and accuracy, while aiding in the exchange of data in real-time with in-store servers.Mobile computing also increases the operational efficiency of the sales personnel by allowing them to access and update customer information on the spot. Updated information is sent immediately to the company’s central computer. In addition, a sales person can also print invoices or other information to give to the customer.Transportation and shipping: Implementation of mobility solutions in the transportation and shipping industries improves overall performance by helping companies in fleet management and operations, yard and asset management and driver communication. Using mobile computers in conjunction with GPS and VIS enables users to manage operations of an entire transportation fleet from a central location. This significantly improves performance, as well as reduces operational costs.Field mobility components such as mobile computers, RFID readers, barcode scanners and mobile printers are well-suited for the needs of transportation and logistics companies. They assist in various logistical and inventory operations such as tracing, tracking, scanning, obtaining proof of delivery and cross-docking various products and operations. They also improve operational efficiency of various dispatch operations with enhanced customer satisfaction.Healthcare: Mobile computing is very popular within the healthcare industry. Hospitals, in particular, use mobile computing devices to track patients and emergency supplies. Mobile computing devices assist the nurses in receiving quick inputs from doctors who are away from the hospital.Mobile medical care units such as ambulances and emergency units use these solutions to access patient records for reference and to update records with current diagnosis and treatment information. Moreover, in emergency situations like accidents, they capture crucial information, such as the type of injury, the patient’s condition, treatments accomplished, and other data. These devices then transmit this information to the hospital. They also receive valuable input from the doctors at hospitals to treat the patient appropriately. This helps in saving lives that otherwise could be lost.Field service and sales workers: Mobile computing devices ease the jobs of sales workers through effective data collection and transfer facilities. For instance, an insurance agent can compare, estimate and do necessary calculations on his mobile computer after collecting data from the customer to provide the customer with the required policy and benefits information. This helps customers make decisions about the policy instantly. Upon customer agreement, the necessary information can be transmitted immediately to the central computer, automatically enrolling the customer in the insurance or financial planning program. In the absence of these computing devices, this process would take days instead of minutes.In case of field services, such as HVAC or plumbing, these devices are found to be effective in providing timely services with enhanced customer satisfaction by offering instant invoices and payment receipts using mobile printers.Law Enforcement: Mobile computing devices and field mobility solutions help law enforcement officials to accurately collect and report traffic data to local and state agencies, which leads to safer communities.Devices such as barcode scanners and mobile printers help officers by scanning the driver’s license of the person who violates traffic rules, take his/her signature using a signature capture pad, and use a mobile printer to hand out a printed ticket. They can also check the violation history of the driver using the data in their mobile computer, and can take immediate action, if necessary.Warehousing, asset tracking, and inventory control: On the warehousing floor, rapid and accurate data collection is essential for effective functioning and reducing operational costs. Mobile computing is a cost-effective solution that addresses the requirements of warehousing by offering a quick and convenient method of replenishment by using RFID devices for inventory management and hand-held devices for efficient data collection and wireless communication.Field mobility solutions also include effective devices for asset tracking and inventory control. Inventory management systems help in balancing stock levels, preventing both situations – excess of stock and out-of-stock. These solutions integrate easily with other business systems, which provides the ability to make better business decisions and increases productivity and profitability.In addition to the above-mentioned industries, many other fields are effectively reaping the benefits of mobile computing devices, including the hotel industry, media, car rental agencies and more. If your workforce is geographically dispersed, you can boost your productivity by effectively managing critical information using mobile computing devices. Nowadays, many companies even offer customized products to suit your business requirements.

A Levels Online in an ever-changing world!

Many of you often ask us if A Levels online are worth considering in order to gain a recognized qualification or if you have left it too late to study A Levels, as part of your career progression.

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A Levels, known as ‘Advanced Level qualifications’ are normally introduced for students aged 16 and above. The term of the A Level qualification would normally be two years, although learners choosing to study through online learning, can normally fast track and complete this much sooner. UCAS points will be available, which will go towards University applications.

Learners also have the option to complete AS Level only and will still receive UCAS points, depending on grades achieved.

Do I need A Levels for University?

Most universities insist that potential applicants have a good mix of basic Maths and English Level 2, together with Level 3 qualifications or A Levels in order to secure a place with them. When considering applying to University, the first thing we recommend you should do is contact them and ask what the entry requirements are for the specific degree you are considering studying as you cannot leave this to chance. We have had students come to us at the eleventh hour, desperate to study a specific subject in a short space of time because they did not ask this simple question.

Can A Levels go wrong?

In an ideal world, many would complete their A Levels in sixth form at a conventional school or college, then progress to college or university. However, this does not always go according to plan and for one reason or another, you may not have had the opportunity to gain your A Level in a school or college setting.

A classic example is a Covid-19 pandemic, where many students were expected to sit their exams in the normal way and were then told that due to the cancellation of exams, their results would be based on predicted grades. This worked for some learners as they had worked hard on any assessments submitted to their Teacher but for others who hadn’t really made the effort, relying on studying hard for their examinations; it did not bring the desired effect with low grades submitted.

We then had a second year of canceled examinations, again something that no one was prepared for. The results of this, we are still awaiting, but I am sure that there will be learners receiving grades they were not expecting.

There have also been other reasons learners have been unable to achieve their A Level qualification. As an example, we were approached by Jason, who had been keen to study A Level Computer Science at school but during his first year, he had become extremely ill and was not able to complete his second year. This is one of our extremely popular courses as this can lead to various career paths such as Application Analyst, Business analyst, Data analyst, Games developer, etc. We enabled Jason to complete his second year of A Level Computer Science and he then went on to study a degree at university managing to get himself back on track.

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Are there any age restrictions for studying A Levels?

Not everyone is suited to studying with an online learning college though and we have found that learners of all ages enrol with us, as there appears to be no set criteria for applicants. As they say ‘it is never too late to learn and everything changes so fast, we have to keep up to date with it.

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One of the things we have found with learners is that you really need to be self-motivated and able to work autonomously. This is difficult if you feel you can only work in groups with your peers and do not feel you can set yourself a timetable and stick to it, thus avoiding distractions. We have found that using your Lesson Plan helps considerably as this sets out which modules should be completed and when. This can give you a certain amount of structure and ensure that you stay on track throughout your course.

It would seem that there are always options to complete your A Levels, whether online or studying at a school or college. It is a case of you deciding the best options for yourself.

Increasing Student Success Through Instruction in Self-Determination

An enormous amount of research shows the importance of self-determination (i.e., autonomy) for students in elementary school through college for enhancing learning and improving important post-school outcomes.

Research by psychologists Richard Ryan, PhD, and Edward Deci, PhD, on Self-Determination Theory indicates that intrinsic motivation (doing something because it is inherently interesting or enjoyable), and thus higher quality learning, flourishes in contexts that satisfy human needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness. Students experience competence when challenged and given prompt feedback. Students experience autonomy when they feel supported to explore, take initiative and develop and implement solutions for their problems. Students experience relatedness when they perceive others listening and responding to them. When these three needs are met, students are more intrinsically motivated and actively engaged in their learning.

Numerous studies have found that students who are more involved in setting educational goals are more likely to reach their goals. When students perceive that the primary focus of learning is to obtain external rewards, such as a grade on an exam, they often perform more poorly, think of themselves as less competent, and report greater anxiety than when they believe that exams are simply a way for them to monitor their own learning. Some studies have found that the use of external rewards actually decreased motivation for a task for which the student initially was motivated. In a 1999 examination of 128 studies that investigated the effects of external rewards on intrinsic motivations, Drs. Deci and Ryan, along with psychologist Richard Koestner, PhD, concluded that such rewards tend to have a substantially negative effect on intrinsic motivation by undermining people’s taking responsibility for motivating or regulating themselves.

Self-determination research has also identified flaws in high stakes, test focused school reforms, which despite good intentions, has led teachers and administrators to engage in precisely the types of interventions that result in poor quality learning. Dr. Ryan and colleagues found that high stakes tests tend to constrain teachers’ choices about curriculum coverage and curtail teachers’ ability to respond to students’ interests (Ryan & La Guardia, 1999). Also, psychologists Tim Urdan, PhD, and Scott Paris, PhD, found that such tests can decrease teacher enthusiasm for teaching, which has an adverse effect on students’ motivation (Urdan & Paris, 1994).

The processes described in self-determination theory may be particularly important for children with special educational needs. Researcher Michael Wehmeyer found that students with disabilities who are more self-determined are more likely to be employed and living independently in the community after completing high school than students who are less self-determined.

Research also shows that the educational benefits of self-determination principles don’t stop with high school graduation. Studies show how the orientation taken by college and medical school instructors (whether it is toward controlling students’ behavior or supporting the students’ autonomy) affects the students’ motivation and learning.

Self-determination theory has identified ways to better motivate students to learn at all educational levels, including those with disabilities.
Practical Application

Schools throughout the country are using self-determination instruction as a way to better motivate students and meet the growing need to teach children and youth ways to more fully accept responsibility for their lives by helping them to identify their needs and develop strategies to meet those needs.

Researchers have developed and evaluated instructional interventions and supports to encourage self-determination for all students, with many of these programs designed for use by students with disabilities. Many parents, researchers and policy makers have voiced concern about high rates of unemployment, under-employment and poverty experienced by students with disabilities after they complete their educational programs. Providing support for student self-determination in school settings is one way to enhance student learning and improve important post-school outcomes for students with disabilities. Schools have particularly emphasized the use of self-determination curricula with students with disabilities to meet federal mandates to actively involve students with disabilities in the Individualized Education Planning process.

Programs to promote self-determination help students acquire knowledge, skills and beliefs that meet their needs for competence, autonomy and relatedness (for example, see Steps to Self-determination by educational researchers Sharon Field and Alan Hoffman). Such programs also provide instruction aimed specifically at helping students play a more active role in educational planning (for example, see The Self-directed Individualized Education Plan by Jim Martin, Laura Huber Marshall, Laurie Maxson, & Patty Jerman).

Drs. Field and Hoffman developed a model designed to guide the development of self-determination instructional interventions. According to the model, instructional activities in areas such as increasing self-awareness; improving decision-making, goal-setting and goal-attainment skills; enhancing communication and relationship skills; and developing the ability to celebrate success and learn from reflecting on experiences lead to increased student self-determination. Self-determination instructional programs help students learn how to participate more actively in educational decision-making by helping them become familiar with the educational planning process, assisting them to identify information they would like to share at educational planning meetings, and supporting students to develop skills to effectively communicate their needs and wants. Examples of activities used in self-determination instructional programs include reflecting on daydreams to help students decide what is important to them; teaching students how to set goals that are important to them and then, with the support of peers, family members and teachers, taking steps to achieve those goals. Providing contextual supports and opportunities for students, such as coaching for problem-solving and offering opportunities for choice, are also critical elements that lead to meeting needs for competence, autonomy and relatedness and thus, increasing student self-determination.