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25 benefits of mobile learning

Fig.1. Mindmap on mobile learning

Is learning support by text messaging mobile learning?

Must it be a smart-phone. I would have called taking an Apple Classic into the garden on an extension cable and using it in a cardboard box to shield it from the sun as mobility of some kind – indeed development of the use of laptops in the last 15 years has been mobile and in 1997 I shot a training video for the RAC on a roadside device called ‘hardbody’ that was a navigational tool to locate the breakdown, a database of parts, a diagnostic for fault finding and fixing and a way for customers to pay.

The prospects for and possibilities of mobile computing have been known for a long time.

Getting them into the hands of students has taken longer as prices have fallen and broadband made readily available.

Was a cassette on a Sony Walkman mobile learning, or more recently is something from iTunes U on an MP3 player mobile e-learning? Yes, surely if its function is educational or it is resource tailored for a specific module.


Fig. 2. From Agnes Kuklska-Hulme’s inaugural lecture on mobile learning at the Open University.

  1. Convenience and flexibility – the university in your pocket. Ditch the folders, files and print outs.
  2. Relevance – situated
  3. Learner control – mine (personalised Apps, choice of phone and case …)
  4. Good use of ‘dead time’ – on the bus, train, passenger in car … in bed, in front of TV, on the loo or in the bath.
  5. Fits many different learning styles – short burst or lengthier intense periods
  6. Improves social learning (i.e. Communicating with peers and experts)
  7. Encourages reflection – easy to take notes (audio as dictaphone or text)
  8. Easy evidence collection – photos and audio (screen grabs from online research), tag finds.
  9. Supported decision making
  10. Speedier remediation – instant
  11. Improved learner confidence
  12. Easily digestible learning – where ‘chunked’ though this should be a choice where content has been suitably prepared for web usability.
  13. Heightened engagement – feeds alerts that can be responded to in a timely fashion. Makes synchronous and quasi-synchronous forum feedback possible.
  14. Better planning for face-to-face – organiser, contactable 24/7 (almost)
  15. Great for induction – keeping in touch, easy to ask questions, familiar, universal and everyday.
  16. Elimination of technological barriers – basic, intuitive, commonplace.
  17. Designed once then delivered across multiple platforms – responsive design (using HTML 5)
  18. Easily trackable via wifi – and GPS
  19. Cost-effective build
  20. A means to recoup money
  21. Technology advances with Apps
  22. Technology advances with interface, voice command and other tools.
  23. Everything in one place, including TV, radio, podcasts, photo gallery …
  24. Assistive technology – add a micro-projector, wifi-keyboard, sync to other devices such as tablet, laptop and desktop, augmented learning …
  25. Replacement technology – starting to replace money, already replacing cameras, MP3 players, address book, organiser, games console, remote control, torch, dictaphone … pen and paper, art pad …

(In part from Dr Chris Davies, Head of the e-learning research group, Oxford, Prof. John Traxler, Prof. Of Mobile Learning (2011 )

Click to access Mobile_learning_NHS_Research_Report.pdf

(last accessed 10 Dec 2012)


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