Application of Mobile Learning to Universities
Table of Contents
Mobile Learning holds an immense amount of exciting opportunities if the essence of this huge phenomenon is understood by educators and learners. In this report we will discuss two different studies and based on that, we will try to get proper knowledge of the core fundamentals and insight of m-Learning.
By using a critical reflection, this report will clarify some invalid misperceptions about m-Learning in order to eliminate the pitfalls, and the involvement of m-Learning in higher educations will be discussed as well.
Finally, a brief overview of the future possibilities and opportunities of m-Learning and how to gain pedagogical and social changes by minimising probable negative technological effects will be elaborated.
Keywords: Mobile learning; misperceptions of mobile learning; misperceptions of mobile learning; future of mobile learning; m-Learning; Wireless Technology; Higher Education.
Mobile learning (M-Learning) is a term that refers to the teaching and learning system with the use of Mobile Phone and Digital Device Platforms.
M-learning is the Pandora’s box in this modern era which encompasses both opportunities and natural pitfalls. It is the world in our palm that can catch the world with wireless connectivity called the internet. Nevertheless, the exponential increase in the aspect of its handy feature makes it o convenient to everyone.
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Mobile Learning has become a force to be reckoned with at the very end of the previous century. While the educators are trying to evolve, the process of spreading knowledge has been developing. The use of Mobile technologies in the education system by the teachers/lecturers/practitioners is increasing its popularity. The emergence of Some crucial projects in the recent years (the early 2000s) played a vital role of the exploration of m-Learning, not only in the developed countries but also in the developing countries with limited resources and rural platforms (UNESCO, 2012a).
Compare to the other learning technologies, Mobile technology is considered as a better way of delivering the right information at the right time to the right people, (Little, 2012). What is more, the access of all available resources and information at anytime from anywhere via mobile phone and PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) is now a reality, which plays a significant role in the success of mobile Learning and its increased popularity among the students of this generation (López, et. al. 2009). This is not just a fancy way to access the information but it also helps the students to be good problem solvers and innovative. (West, 2013).
The mobile learning technology has been introduced by the well-known project named “Xerox Dynabook” which proposed a self-derived knowledge manipulation system by the help of simple and portable digital devices (i.e. notebook) that comes in a small size but helps the children to get familiar with educative games and simulations. (Kay, 1972)
Pinkwart et all. (2003) described m-learning as a part of e-learning that used smartphones and wireless network connection. As can be said from the definition, the wireless transmission system is a significant tool and a vital feature of the system.
Even though the laptop, notebook computers can be used at any place and anytime, due to their size, PC configurations etc. people do not prefer to carry them everywhere. (Caudill, 2007). As a result, sometimes we don’t consider the notebook, laptop computers etc. to be part of m-learning.
The first journal that we will discuss here, came from Tom H Brown and Lydia S Mbati of the University of South Africa. This has been done under The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning. The IRRODL is a free platform that aims the best practice of open distributed learning throughout the globe.
In this article, the authors mainly focused on the core fundamentals of m-Learning and attempt to bring out the insight of Pedagogical Affordances served by m-Learning the system. The challenges and risks that come with it has also been discussed, as well as the achievements and the changes in modern society. However, the elaboration of Misperceptions and Myths about m-Learning was also a focal point of this study.
A wonderful view and usefulness of Long Distance learning have been exemplified by the writers as they state some of the recent applications of m-Learning. Some of the museums publish their history and all the artefacts information to the visitors/learners whenever they come across a specific range of distance. This has been one of the most popular examples of m-learning while it was at the beginning of gaining popularity (Lonsdale et al., 2004).
Even though the museum application is well-admired, nowadays this procedure has gain immense popularity as many of the famous Cities, Shopping Malls, Airports and Historic places started using this location awareness information providence. For travellers, this has been a great help to learn more about the place.
As we all know, the latest smartphones and tablets include Global Positioning System (GPS) functionalities which provide information about location and time. By using this feature, the physicists are understanding kinematic graphs with the help of distance and speed time-graphs. This application is known as “MoveGrapher” and the graphs can be generated from own motion (walking or running).
In teaching and complex learning, simulations are a very impactful tool. Before implementing any technical operation, it’s important to check the concept by creating an abstract simulation. There are loads of serious games out there that help the players to engage and get competitive educational knowledge. Serious games increase the mental strength and empower the pedagogy to pour-in instructions via gameplay experience (Tsekleves et al., 2014).
There is a documentation of one systematic literature review which had been carried out by Connolly et al. (2012) in order to investigate the positivity of gaming in the field of educational learning, engagement and skill enhancement. The result showed that most of the serious games have motivational and knowledge derived outcomes. This sums up the development of psychomotor skills and learning ability (Moos and Marroquin, 2010).
There are some Misperceptions and belief about mobile learning which has been discussed and clarified. One common myth is that Mobile-Learning is Learning while “on the move”. As Parsons (2014) pointed to a fun fact that we rarely learn while in motion (physically). We prefer taking learning resources to the place where we think we can study/learn. However, carrying the learning tools in transport and using it while travelling falls in the field of m-Learning and it’s not a misapprehension. One other thing is noted is that the users need not be on the move, in fact, the learner can be in a static place while performing the activity.
One other thing is noted is that the users need not be on the move, in fact, the learner can be in a static place while performing the activity.
The success and effective results do not come across automatically by using some technology; efficient and meaningful learning and accomplishment can only be gained by practising pedagogical use of the techniques (Ng’ambi, 2013).
Social constructivism means, learning by participating in an active community where the learners co-construct new meanings and findings (Brown, 2006). This kind of learning activity strengthen the skills and improve critical thinking of researchers and provides scopes to work on their self-publishing. The learners share information in an informal self-derived manner and it helps to get emotional satisfaction in this pedagogical world (Ashton and Newman, 2006).
The second study here emphasizes the importance of mobile learning in Higher Education.
Authors Ligi B , Dr B. William Dharma RajaLigi B have given an insight on the role played by M learning in the educational system and how wireless technology has created new learning methods in the traditional educational practice.
From the publication, we can learn that M learning is not only providing flexibility but also creating vast opportunities for the students to develop and acquire knowledge remotely from anywhere, anytime. It is a breakthrough in the new era of education where both teachers and students can access learning resources, engage in various interactive platforms and exchange views, learning practices.
M learning is viewed as a successor E-learning. In other words, we can say that Mobile learning is the amalgamation of technology in the methodology of learning. Be it the student or teacher, it serves as a medium for both to explore and acquire information.
The citation addresses the Scope of M-Learning in Higher Education. Here, we can see that higher educational institutions are constantly finding effective methods for the disposition of learning in the students. The increased reliance on technology in imparting education on higher education systems is based on the associations of three areas: technology, theories of learning and issues of educational practice. We can safely determine that M learning is a revolutionary instrument in providing education to both students and teachers. This small compact learning medium is a means of freedom to have knowledge anytime, anyone want.
There are a few key factors that decide the usage of M learning amongst educators. The user-friendliness of the mobile device in learning process serves an important characteristic.
Three aspects, namely: usability, functional and Privacy (Economides and Nikolaou, n.d.) must need to be taken care in incorporating M learning in the educational system.
To make learning an easy process M- learning tools are small, light, and portable (Ahonen, 2004; Cavus & Ibrahim, 2009). This not only frees the learners from the baggage of books and other materials but also enables the flexibility and availability of information and resources anytime and anywhere.
Another key factor is the Functionality. Users need to have access to information instantly. The mobile devices help the learners to access information when they require from any location. To be able to continue with the learning without the constraints of time and place is an important element that affects how learners may be motivated to use their mobile applications (Lan & Sie, 2010).
When using a mobile device amongst other popular devices like PC/Laptops, mobile provides the user’s credibility and reliability in terms of privacy. The users of mobile devices can download any learning material independently without their privacy being compromised.
Having control over their learning experience is another factor discussed by the authors. If the users are provided with an active role in the learning environment they will be more inclined towards M- Learning. From goal determination to reaching the final stage, mobile technology gives ample opportunities to learner to make a significant impact on the learning process. They can be easily carried around and hence provide the users with a sense of control.
Mobile learning is providing broader pathways to users in acquiring knowledge from any designated place at any time. It is removing the constraints of traditional learning and is helping the learners in creating a more interactive learning experience. The compatibility, user-friendly and the degree of privacy provides the users of the mobile device a new perspective in the educational system. The rise of using internet technology in higher education should be taken in a positive note and steps and measures should be taken to monitor the correct usage of mobile technology.
After reviewing both of the journals from the scholars, it is safe to state that if the structure is designed and implemented carefully, m-learning will play a crucial role in the field of education and learning for the educationists. This allows the student to explore the resources and submitting the work electronically on time without being worried about the place.
While the possibilities and positivity’s are immense, there are few factors and issues to be handled in order to pace the progress.
Here are some interesting key points that need attention in order to utilise the advantages of m-Learning:
- Poor communities of the academics who live in rural part of the countries cannot afford high-speed bandwidth and expensive resources (smartphones, PDA etc.). As a result, they are not getting the proper benefits of m-Learning.
- A bigger challenge needs to take care of is the Digital Literacy of tutors due to lack of funding (Johnson et al., 2014). Nowadays, most of the educators are less digitally literate than the learners. This can be observed in the usage of social media platforms.
However, there are some well-researched reports out there which clearly contradicts with these two studies that have been discussed here. Such an article published by Kuznekoff & Titsworth (2013) and Chu (2012). By doing their in-depth research, they concluded by stating that mobile learning doesn’t affect the academic achievement of the learners.
Nevertheless, everyone has a different view of every perspective. Moreover, depending on such disagreement, we can’t deny the crucial part of m-Learning in modern lives. Even though some valid examples and facts were mentioned in the research, it should be noted that circumstances, time and way of assessment can provide verity in results for research.
This is a goal driven project aims to get a clear knowledge of m-Learning. In establishing a proper understanding of the topic, two different studies have been reviewed. While comparing both of the journals, one thing is common in both of the Articles which is the fruitful future of m-Learning if it can be designed correct way. Even though it is mentioned that there are some myths and facts still lies on the way but these are not impossible to get on top of. Nevertheless, by taking proper steps the immense positive influence can easily be explored and this will lead to a prosperous future for distance learning. The community will grow bigger by participating in this global phenomenon.
- UNESCO (2012). Turning on mLearning in Africa and the Middle East. Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002163/216359e.pdf
- Little, B. (2012). Effective and Efficient Mobile Learning: Issues and Tips for Developers. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/00197851211267983
- López, G. J. L, Royo, T. M., Laborda, J. G., & Calvo, F. G. (2009). Methods of Adapting Digital Content for the Learning Process via Mobile Devices. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2009.01.472
- West, D. M. (2013). Mobile Learning: Transforming Education, Engaging Students, and Improving Outcomes, Centre for Technology Innovation at Brooking. Retrieved from https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/BrookingsMobileLearning_Final.pdf
- Pinkwart et all. (2003) Defining mobile learning. Retrieved from
- Caudill, J.G. (2007). The growth of m-learning and the growth of mobile computing. Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/348/913
- Lonsdale, P, Baber, C, Sharples, M, Byrne, W, Arvanitis, T, Brundell, P and Beale, H (2004). Context awareness for MOBIlearn.
- Tsekleves, E., Cosmas, J. & Aggoun, A. (2014). Benefits, barriers and guideline recommendations for the implementation of serious games in education for stakeholders and policymakers. British Journal of Educational Technology. doi:10.1111/bjet.12223
- Connolly, T.M., Boyle, E.A., MacArthur, E., Hainey, T. & Boyle, J.M. (2012). A systematic literature review of empirical evidence on computer games and serious games. Computers & Education, 59, 661-686.
- Moos, D.C. & Marroquin, E. (2010). Multimedia, hypermedia, and hypertext: Motivation considered and reconsidered. Computers in Human Behavior, 26(3), 265-276.
- Ng’ambi, D. (2013). Effective and ineffective uses of emerging technologies: Towards a transformative pedagogical model. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(4), 652-661.
- Ashton, J. & Newman, L. (2006). An unfinished symphony: 21st-century teacher education using knowledge creating heutagogies. British Journal of Educational Technology, 37(6), 825-840.
- Economides, A.A., & Nikolaou, N. (n.d.): Evaluation of handheld devices for M- learning. International Journal of Engineering Education (Forthcoming). Retrieved from http://www.conta.uom.gr/
- Ahonen, M., Pehkonen, M., Syvanen, A., & Turunen, H. (2004). M- learning and evaluation. Digital Learning 2 project working papers (Interim report). University of Tampere: Hypermedia Laboratory.
- Lan, Y. F., & Sie, Y. S. (2010). Using RSS to support M- learning based on media richness theory. Computers & Education, 55(2), 723-732.
- Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V. & Freeman, A. (2014). NMC Horizon Report: 2014 Higher Education Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.
- Kuznekoff, J. & Titsworth, S. (2013). The Impact of Mobile Phone Usage on Student Learning. Retrievd from http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03634523.2013.767917