GoogleTranslate Service


Research on Mobile Learning

November 18th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

A quick summary of some of the recent research on mobile learning.

Mobile devices are becoming ever more important due in main to their ubiquity. The number of mobile phone subscribers will increase to five billion people this year thanks to the growth of smartphones in developed nations and mobile services in poor nations, according to the United Nations (2010).

Industry predictions are that the sales of smart phones, able to access internet services, will surpass that of ;ordinary’ mobile phones by March, 2011. Added to this is the rapid development and take up of all kinds of different mobile devices, ranging from tablets such as the iPad and book readers such as the Kindle.

Although in an early phase, the potential of these devices for teaching and learning is being recognised (indeed so much is being written, it is hard to keep up to date with the research)
Alan Livingston, writing in Educause Quarterly (2009) says:

“The past decade has witnessed two revolutions in comunication technology. The first — the Internet revolution — has changed everything in higher education. The second — the mobile phone revolution — has changed nothing. We’re vaguely aware that our students have mobile phones (and annoyed when they forget to turn them off in class), but it hasn’t occurred to us that the fact they have these devices might have anything to do with our effort to provide them with educational experiences and services.

HELLO? as our students sometimes say when trying to communicate with someone who’s being particularly obtuse. Mobile phone usage among our students has become virtually universal. Isn’t it time for us to stop ignoring and start taking advantage of this fact?”

The definition and scope of mobile learning is central to the debate over the pedagogic use of such devices.
According to MoLeNet, mobile learning can be broadly defined as “the exploitation of ubiquitous handheld technologies, together with wireless and mobile phone networks, to facilitate, support, enhance and extend the reach of teaching and learning.”

The London Mobile Learning Group (LMLG) have been working on conceptualising pedagogies for mobile learning.

“Mobile learning – as we understand it is not about delivering content to mobile devices but instead about the processes of coming to know and being able to operate successfully in and across, new and ever changing contexts and learning spaces.m And, if it is about understanding and knowing how to utilise our everyday life-worlds as learning spaces. Therefore in case it needs to be stated explicitly, mobile learning is not primarily about technology (Pachler, Bachmair and Cook, 2010, p6)

The London Mobile Learning group have developed the idea of a “social-cultural ecology of mobile devices” based on the  triangular relationship between structures, cultural practices ad the agency within which they conceptualise the use of mobile devices.

In this approach they say “learning is understood as the process of coming to know and being able to operate successfully in and across ever changing contexts and learning spaces as well as understanding and knowing how to utilise our everyday life worlds as learning spaces. It is viewed as a process of meaning making through communication / conversation across multiple contexts among people within a triangle of social structures, cultural practices and agency as well as an augmentation of the inner, conceptual and outer semiotic resources – increasingly with and through mobile devices.” (Pachler, 2010)

Socio-semantic tools including language, material artefacts and technology mediate the actions of learners as they seek to augment their conceptual resources.

John Cook (UK) develops the idea of mobile phones as mediating tools within augmented contexts for development further through a re-conceptualisation of Vygotsky’s notion of a zone for proximal development as “responsive situations for development’ in recognition of the socio-cultural, economic and technological conditions of the early 21st century.” (Cook, 2010)

Other writers have looked at mobile devices as offering a pedagogy for the social inclusion of at risk groups or people socially marginalised.. Margrit Boeck (2010) says mobile devices are:

  • making learners mobile so that they are able to expand their horizons
  • engaging learners on their own ground and addressing them as people who are learners already and as knowledge makers;
  • according them full recognition in their position and achievements in their lives; as well as of their position as learners and makers of knowledge. In this context,learning means being mobile, being able to change.

Reporting on a symposium on m-learning, Laurillard (2007) reports Geoff Stead as arguing that mobile learning is important for access, personalisation, engagement and inclusion providing learners with control over learning, ownership, and the ability to demand things, and thus meeting the rights of the learner.

Naeve (2005) points to the ability of mobile learning to support more learner centric interest oriented and knowledge pulling types of learning architectures. The traditional educational architectures are based on teacher-centric, curriculum-oriented, knowledge-push. The new demands are largely concerned with a shift along all of these. (Naeve, 2010).

Diana Laurillard (2007) has highlighted the mobility of digital technologies in providing “opportunities for new forms of learning because they change the nature of the physical relations between teachers, learners, and the objects of learning.”  (p1).

Nial Winters (2007) suggests we have to address three mobilities in mobile learning – learners, technology objects, and information – and the objects can be differentiated by being in:

  • regional space – 3-dimensional physical space;
  • network space – the social space of participants and technologies; or
  • fluid space – learners, relations, and the object of learning.

At a practical level there are many discussions, often in social media such as community web sites or blogs suggesting how mobile devices can be used in teaching and learning (see for example Hughes, (2010, a). Hughes (2010, b) also provides a useful summary of the arguments for and against the use of mobile devices in the classroom.

The presenters at a 2006 Kaleidoscope Convergence Workshop on Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, entitled ‘Inquiry Learning and Mobile Learning’ collectively offered a wide range of learning activities that could be supported through mobile digital tools and environments (Laurillard, 2007):

  • exploring – real physical environments linked to digital guides;
  • investigating – real physical environments linked to digital guides;
  • discussing – with peers, synchronously or asynchronously, audio or text;
  • recording, capturing data – sounds, images, videos, text, locations;
  • building, making, modelling – using captured data and digital tools;
  • sharing – captured data, digital products of building and modelling;
  • testing – the products built, against others’ products, others’ comments or real physical environments;
  • adapting – the products developed, in light of feedback from tests or comments; and
  • reflecting – guided by digital collaborative software, using shared products, test results, and comments

There is a growing body of research over the use of mobile devices for work based learning. Sharples et al, (2005) say “Just as learning is now regarded as a situated and collaborative activity (Brown, Collins, & Duguid, 1989), occurring wherever people, individually or collectively, have problems to solve or knowledge to share, so mobile networked technology enables people to communicate regardless of their location.” (p5).

Liz Kolb (2010) links the use of technologies for learning to the way we communicate, not just in education but in the world of work: “…many are still shying away from this new literacy (even dismissing it as a negative form of communication). Knowing that text messaging is fast becoming the #1 form of communication reminds me that it will also be an important literacy for the 21st century job force.”

Winters, (2007) points to the potential of mobile devices for learning in the workplace to: enable knowledge building by learners in different contexts. and to enable learners to construct understandings. Mobile technology, he says often changes the pattern of learning and work activity.

Naeve (2010) also points out that mobile devices can link learning to knowledge management.

“At the same time, within most organisations, new demands are being placed on effective and efficient knowledge management. Promoting the creation and sharing of knowledge in order to assure the right person with the right knowledge in the right place at the right time for the right cost is the overall aim of these demands.” (Naeve, 2010).
Attwell (2010) has pointed to the potential of mobile devices for developmental learning in the workplace. This allows the bringing together of learning from different context and domains, including the informal learning which is developed through work processes. He outlines the design of a “Work Based Mobile Learning Environment” (WoMBLE).

Perhaps the greatest impact of mobile devices may be in changing the relationship between institutional or classroom based learning and learning in a wider society. Steve Wheeler, in his presentation on Web 3.0. The Way Forward? (2010) says that whilst in the past we have brought the world into the classroom in the future we will bring the classroom into the world.

References

Attwell, G. (2010). Work0based mobile learning environments: contributing to a socio-cultural ecology of mobile learning, in Pachler, N. (ed) Mobile learning in the context of transformation. Special Issue of International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning

Boeck, M. (2010). Mobile Learning, digital literacies, information habitus and at risk social groups, in Pachler, N. (ed) Mobile learning in the context of transformation. Special Issue of International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning

Cook, J. (2010). Mobile phones as mediating tools within augmented contexts for development. in Pachler, N. (ed) Mobile learning in the context of transformation. Special Issue of International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning

Kolb, L. (2010). From Toy to Tool: Cell Phones in Learning. http://www.cellphonesinlearning.com/.
Laurillard, D. (2007). Pedagogical forms for mobile learning, in: Pachler, N. (ed) (2007) Mobile learning: towards a research agenda. London: WLE Centre, IoE

Livingston, A. (2009). The Revolution No One Noticed: Mobile Phones and Multimobile Services in Higher Education. Educause Quarterly, 32(1).

Naeve, A. (2010). Opportunistic (l)earning in the mobile knowledge society, in Pachler, N. (ed) Mobile learning in the context of transformation. Special Issue of International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning

Pachler, N., Bachmair, B., & Cook, J. (2010). Mobile Learning. Structures, Agency, Practices. New York USA: Springer.

Pachler, N. (2010). Guest editorial, in Pachler, N. (ed) Mobile learning in the context of transformation. Special Issue of International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning

Sharples, M. Taylor, J. Vavoula, G. (2005). Towards a Theory of Mobile Learning

Winters, N. (2007) What is mobile learning? In M. Sharples (Ed.), Big issues in mobile learning (pp. 7–11): LSRI University of Nottingham

8 Responses to “Research on Mobile Learning”

  1. Doug Belshaw says:

    Thanks for this, Graham – timely! :-)

Tweetbacks

  1. Here is a wonderful article about the importance of teaching mobile literacies. I love the writer’s conclusion. http://tinyurl.com/2dcvbox

  2. An excellent review of the latest research on Mobile Learning http://bit.ly/cQipaR by @GrahamAttwell #mlearning #elearning

Tweetbacks/Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] Mobile Learning ist ein florierendes Forschungs- und Betätigungsfeld, dem ich neugierig und abwartend zugleich gegenüberstehe. Auf der einen Seite bin ich überzeugt, dass man die immer weiter verbreiteten Mobile-Technologien, dass man “ubiquitious computing” in die Entwicklung von Lernumgebungen integrieren sollte, wo immer es “passt”. Auf der anderen Seite bin ich noch etwas skeptisch gegenüber Initiativen, die das “mobile” in das Zentrum ihrer Überlegungen stellen – abgesehen von Konzepten wie z.B. “augmented reality”, die sich über solche Technologien definieren. Graham Attwell gibt in jedem Fall eine hilfreiche Übersicht über den Stand der Überlegungen zu Mobile Learning: Definitionen, Konzepte und Perspektiven und viele Referenzen zum Weiterlesen. Graham Attwell, Pontydysgu, 19. November 2010 […]

  2. […] Industry predictions are that the sales of smart phones, able to access internet services, will surpass that of ;ordinary’ mobile phones by March, 2011. Added to this is the rapid development and take up of all kinds of different mobile devices, ranging from tablets such as the iPad and book readers such as the Kindle. Although in an early phase, the potential of these devices for teaching and learning is being recognised (indeed so much is being written, it is hard to keep up to date with the research) Mobile devices are becoming ever more important due in main to their ubiquity. The number of mobile phone subscribers will increase to five billion people this year thanks to the growth of smartphones in developed nations and mobile services in poor nations, according to the United Nations (2010). Bridge to Learning – Educational Research […]

  3. […] to the articles “Are You Ready for Mobile Learning” and “Research on Mobile Learning” the use of Mobile Learning or M-learning will be increased sharply in near future with […]

  • Search Pontydysgu.org

    News Bites

    Teachers and overtime

    According to the TES teachers in the UK “are more likely to work unpaid overtime than staff in any other industry, with some working almost 13 extra hours per week, according to research.

    A study of official figures from the Trades Union Congress (TUC) found that 61.4 per cent of primary school teachers worked unpaid overtime in 2014, equating to 12.9 additional hours a week.

    Among secondary teachers, 57.5 per cent worked unpaid overtime, with an average of 12.5 extra hours.

    Across all education staff, including teachers, teaching assistants, playground staff, cleaners and caretakers, 37.6 per cent worked unpaid overtime – a figure higher than that for any other sector.”


    The future of English Further Education

    The UK Parliament Public Accounts Committee has warned  the declining financial health of many FE colleges has “potentially serious consequences for learners and local economies”.

    It finds funding and oversight bodies have been slow to address emerging financial and educational risks, with current oversight arrangements leading to confusion over who should intervene and when.

    The Report says the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills and the Skills Funding Agency “are not doing enough to help colleges address risks at an early stage”.


    Skills in Europe

    Cedefop is launching a new SKILLS PANORAMA website, online on 1 December at 11.00 (CET).

    Skills Panorama, they say,  turns labour market data and information into useful, accurate and timely intelligence that helps policy-makers decide on skills and jobs in Europe.

    The new website will provide with a more comprehensive and user-friendly central access point for information and intelligence on skill needs in occupations and sectors across Europe. You can register for the launch at Register now at http://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/launch/.


    Talking about ‘European’ MOOCs

    The European EMMA project is launching a  webinar series. The first is on Tuesday 17 November 2015 from 14:00 – 15:00 CET.

    They say: “In this first webinar we will explore new trends in European MOOCs. Rosanna de Rosa, from UNINA, will present the philosophy and challenges behind the EMMA EU project and MOOC platform developed with the idea of accommodating diversity through multilingualism. Darco Jansen, from EADTU (European Association of Distance Teaching Universities), will talk about Europe’s response to MOOC opportunities. His presentation will highlight the main difference with the U.S. and discuss the consequences for didactical and pedagogical approaches regarding the different contexts.


    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

  • Sounds of the Bazaar AudioBoo

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Meta

  • Upcoming Events

      There are no events.
  • Categories