GoogleTranslate Service


The use of mobile devices for learning and the importance of context

May 4th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

The next in what will, I suspect, be a series of short posts from the Mature project meeting in Barcelona. Last year, the project reviewers asked us to develop more challenging social and technical scenarios for our work around using Information and Computer Technology to support knowledge development and maturing in organisations. As a response to this we started looking at the use of mobile devices for Organisational and Personal Learning Environments.

One key affordance of mobile devices, a number of us felt, was the ability to capture context in learning and knowledge development. Yet exploring and extending our understanding of the nature of context has proved challenging. In terms of mobile applications, the best developed aspect of context is location. Through GPS mobile devices are location aware. This has led to the development of context push services providing information dependent on geographical location. Users are also able to contribute data, for instance reviews of restaurants or services based on location. And GPS has facilitated the development of applications, such as On the Road, which allow users to generate personal stories including multi media, based on their location.

How importance is the context of location for learning. In some cases it obvi9usly is. Mobile devices can be used in museums for example, to provide information about exhibits. John Cook and Carl Smith have experimented with location aware learning tours, for instance for archaeological students visiting a Cistercian Abbey in Yorkshire.

But, in much of our (academic) learning location is not a key context factor. Indeed, one of the attractions of mobile devices is that learning can take place anywhere at any time. However location is important for much work based learning. E-Learning works well for vocational and occupational learning for tasks that involve the use of a computer. In this case we are using a computer to learn about computer based work tasks. Practice and learning are brought together. In other cases it may be possible to simulate work based environments through a computer. But for many work based activities a computer is not involved. In this situation, the use of a computer for learning only takes place away from the actual practice. Mobile devices have the potential to be used in proximity to practice. Furthermore, the ease of use of multi media allows the recording of learning and practice without the intervention of a keyboard. it allows us to ‘show’ and model practice, in ways which are not possible through print media. Thus mobile devices have the ability to capture the context of practice and extents Technology Enhanced Learning into the daily practice of the workplace. In so doing, we can overcome the unsatisfactory separation between formal learning and informal learning. The formal can become informal through practice and the informal, formal through reflection on that practice.

One Response to “The use of mobile devices for learning and the importance of context”

  1. fred garnett says:

    Hi Graham, I think it is time to move on from a location-based view of context to engage with the cultural dimension and the distributed cognition of available actors (more able partners?) in those spaces. Good discussion of broader, and deeper, views of what context means in the first chapter of Redesigning Learning Contexts;
    http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415554428/
    A debate on how we might now conceptalise context would useful; see Drew Whitworth and my forthcoming “Learner-Generated Digital Libraries” Happy to email
    Plus the Augmented Context for Developmented Framework you reference seems like a less articulated version of Rose Luckin’s development of Vygotsky’s ZPD into the Ecology of Resources using “more able partners” which we have been using as the basis for Learner-Generated Contexts work for some years; see slides 9-12 here for example;
    http://www.slideshare.net/lgc/learner-generated-contexts?src=related_normal&rel=246027
    Good questions posed about learning trails and multiple contexts of learning, however, which certainly need answering if we are to make post-institutional (liquid) learning work.

  • Search Pontydysgu.org

    News Bites

    Digital Literacy

    A National Survey fin Wales in 2017-18 showed that 15% of adults (aged 16 and over) in Wales do not regularly use the internet. However, this figure is much higher (26%) amongst people with a limiting long-standing illness, disability or infirmity.

    A new Welsh Government programme has been launched which will work with organisations across Wales, in order to help people increase their confidence using digital technology, with the aim of helping them improve and manage their health and well-being.

    Digital Communities Wales: Digital Confidence, Health and Well-being, follows on from the initial Digital Communities Wales (DCW) programme which enabled 62,500 people to reap the benefits of going online in the last two years.

    See here for more information


    Zero Hours Contracts

    Figures from the UK Higher Education Statistics Agency show that in total almost 11,500 people – both academics and support staff – working in universities on a standard basis were on a zero-hours contract in 2017-18, out of a total staff head count of about 430,000, reports the Times Higher Education.  Zero-hours contract means the employer is not obliged to provide any minimum working hours

    Separate figures that only look at the number of people who are employed on “atypical” academic contracts (such as people working on projects) show that 23 per cent of them, or just over 16,000, had a zero-hours contract.


    Resistance decreases over time

    Interesting research on student centered learning and student buy in, as picked up by an article in Inside Higher Ed. A new study published in PLOS ONE, called “Knowing Is Half the Battle: Assessments of Both Student Perception and Performance Are Necessary to Successfully Evaluate Curricular Transformation finds that student resistance to curriculum innovation decreases over time as it becomes the institutional norm, and that students increasingly link active learning to their learning gains over time


    Postgrad pressure

    Research published this year by Vitae and the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) and reported by the Guardian highlights the pressure on post graduate students.

    “They might suffer anxiety about whether they deserve their place at university,” says Sally Wilson, who led IES’s contribution to the research. “Postgraduates can feel as though they are in a vacuum. They don’t know how to structure their time. Many felt they didn’t get support from their supervisor.”

    Taught students tend to fare better than researchers – they enjoy more structure and contact, says Sian Duffin, student support manager at Arden University. But she believes anxiety is on the rise. “The pressure to gain distinction grades is immense,” she says. “Fear of failure can lead to perfectionism, anxiety and depression.”


    Other Pontydysgu Spaces

    • Pontydysgu on the Web

      pbwiki
      Our Wikispace for teaching and learning
      Sounds of the Bazaar Radio LIVE
      Join our Sounds of the Bazaar Facebook goup. Just click on the logo above.

      We will be at Online Educa Berlin 2015. See the info above. The stream URL to play in your application is Stream URL or go to our new stream webpage here SoB Stream Page.

  • Twitter

  • RT @socialtheoryapp The Configuration of the Spanish Public Sphere From the Enlightenment to the Indignados Edited by @djtorres86 and Leticia Villamediana González berghahnbooks.com/title/Jimen…

    About 3 hours ago from Cristina Costa's Twitter via TweetDeck

  • Sounds of the Bazaar AudioBoo

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Meta

  • Upcoming Events

      There are no events.
  • Categories