Mobile Learning – Small Devices, Big Issue

The authors in this article attempts to address the central issues of what is mobile learning and how can it be designed and evaluated. This article aimed at educational and instructional designers and hopes to explore issues which emerge from mobile learning. Examples of European mobile learning projects are investigated to contextualize these issues.

Quinn (2000) states that it’s e-learning through mobile computational devices: Pals, Window CE machines, even your cell phone. We are in the age of personal and technical mobility, where mobile devices, including phones, MP3 players and PDAs, are carried everywhere to link people in real and virtual worlds. Moreover, it encourages people to have lifetime learning.

The authors define mobile learning from four aspects: mobility in physical space; mobility of technology; mobility in conceptual space and mobility in social space. From mobile learning, a variety of learning experiences can be accumulated. After that, the authors evaluate mobile learning from unpredictability of the context of use; unpredictability of the learning process which means that mobile learning blurs the distinction between formal and informal learning. Now students can systematically capture their experience of learning outside the classroom, through images, notes and audio recordings; unpredictability of the mode of use to illustrate how new tools and services are appropriated by people in their everyday learning practice. Finally, the excellent effect which is on the users’ enjoyment and increased motivation that mobile learning brings, however, is mobile technology effective in engaging learners over the longer term. To evaluate mobile learning, the authors used a three-level framework, usability, educational effectiveness and overall impact. At the end, three examples are shown to illustrate the application of mobile learning.

I think Smartphone are quite popular and it is useful for learning. I have downloaded different apps to learn languages such as Japanese, Korean, etc. Also, dictionary app can be used immediately. We can look up the words immediately anywhere, anytime which facilitates users to learn effectively. But sometimes annoying and unpredictable things happen like no wi-fi, no battery, etc. Mobile learning is great to encourage youngsters to have Lifelong learning through creating their life blogs by sharing images and articles.

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