I’ve decided to look at mobile learning … or simply learning on handheld and portable devices. The same thing, or different.
I’ve been informed by the OU’s ‘Learning at Work Day’ on the 19th May and a presentation by Rhodri Thomas at a stand that showcases the research and work being done in relation to mobile learning.
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The shift towards mobile learning, using these devices to complement course work, or to carry out or engage in learning styles made uniquely possibly by highly portable, networked devices, is evidence by the figures and perhaps inevitable now that mobile phones at almost universal (93% UK penetration by 2008, presumably more in 2011).
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2% of OU students (4,000 or so) use tablets (not just iPads). 11% use SmartPhones (not just iPhones).
All coursework development/availability is ‘device agnostic’
I’m impressed how it is driven by student use – this drives the response from the OU, rather than clever folk buried in the OU thinking ‘this’ll work, developing something, adding bells and whistles andexpeting students to leap to attention when it is presented.
The OU has been tracking use of mobile devices for learning by 35,000 students.
Are they calling it cellular learning in North America?
Kind of misses the point about mobility. This is the key, not a device to take slightly reversioned module content, but to permit content, communication and development exploiting the affordances of a handheld or pocket-sized device that you might have with you up a cliff face, on an oil-rig, or in a crowd of protesters – were the learning, and writing and researching can all take place in situ.
The key points (largely from an IET Agnes Kukulska-Hulme Report Kukulska-Hulme, 2010:10)
Mobile learning is:
- Very flexible
- Has its own unique affordances/advantages
- Extends access to materials not replacement technology)
- Universal (ish)
- Leap-frog technology in Africa
I liken it to having a tour guide with you, rather than the book. So learning in the field, human or physical geography, history of art, archaeology and history, for example, can all be brought to life with this ‘expert in your poket’ to refer to.
A distance learner’s mobile device (at the Open University) can be used as a way to:
- carry around study materials
- aces new or additional content
- build up a series of personal notes
- help make or maintain communications between different contexts
Supported by VLE 2.0 and Moodle 2.0
- organised personal learning schedules
- give feedback, opinions or answers
- get quick information or support
- communicate with other learners or tutors
Coming from advertising where ‘testing to destruciton’ is a favourite way to promote some products, I wonder if a new module can be ‘tested to destruction’ by making it mobile? The stresses or rather the robust nature of the course, and the support provided, my be tested to extreme, for example by someone studying for an OU MBA on an oilrig, or a BA in History while cycling through Europe?
Designing for mobile learning
Designing for mobile learning should follow established principles of good pedagogical design, or ‘learning design’, in terms of first specifying objectives, outcomes, resources and interactions; then engaging in piloting or developmental testing where possible; followed finally by evaluation and fine-tuning. (Kukulska-Hulme, 2010:10)
Mobile devices are often used in the midst of, and in support of, some kind of ‘action’.
How will you evaluate it?
A synthesis of usability issues across a range of mobile learning projects (Kukulska-Hulme, 2007) found that issues reported in the research literature, in relation to what is required in the activity of learning, could be summarised under four main headings:
- the physical attributes of mobile devices
- content and software applications
- network speed and reliability
- the physical environments of use
The key issues relate to six aspects of mobile learning: (2008:11)
- The learners
- Other people
- Tasks engage in
- Device being used
- Connectivity/networks used
- Locations of use
In addition, there is a cluster of questions to be asked about the longer term requirements and outcomes of mobile learning
In general, materials designed for print or online delivery are not likely to be ideal for viewing or interacting with on mobile devices.
A key desire for students is to be alerted when assessment results come through.
They can track their progress also using reversioned VLE content directly on their device of choice.
LEARNING AND TEACHING GUIDES FROM IET. MOBILE LEARNING. Agnes Kukulska-Hulme, with case studies by Anna Page.
Date ? I’ve calling it 2010 for now.