Academic journal article Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia

Getting Ready for Mobile Learning-Adaptation Perspective

Academic journal article Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia

Getting Ready for Mobile Learning-Adaptation Perspective

Article excerpt

Emerging from e-learning, mobile learning is going to be a significant next wave of learning environments. This is an evolving research area and many issues regarding mobile learning have not yet been exhaustively covered. This article focuses on implementing m-learning modules using a simple case study. Most existing typical e-learning systems are tailored toward PC based web access and are not customized to be used through mobile devices such as Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs). In addition, the content developed in most of these systems is not standardized, making reuse rather difficult. We discuss here an architecture and prototype of a mobile learning system. The system performs adaptation based on the device and user profiles. The system therefore works on both PC and mobile platforms. The article also describes the underlying multidimensional adaptation framework, which is used to develop the prototype mobile learning system described in this article.

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Most existing e-learning systems are targeted toward PC users using fixed line access to Internet (KBS, 1999; CBR, 2002; SQL, 2002; RATH, 1997; BlackBoard, 2002; VEDA, 2002; Prentzas, Hatzilygeroudis, & Garofalakis, 2002). With the availability of high bandwidth wireless channels such as General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), third generation and forth generation telecommunication (3G and 4G) infrastructure and wireless local area network (WLAN), it is becoming increasingly important whether these e-learning systems can be seamlessly transformed into m-learning? Research conducted by Waycott (2002) on PDAs accessing course material suggested that users do not favour a direct porting from PC based systems. In a normal situation, direct transformation is neither possible nor efficient unless efforts and considerations have been provisioned for during the design stage. This is typically true for mobile devices that have small screen size, low bandwidth, and small memory.

The use of mobile devices has seen explosive growth in recent years. Looking at several mobile learning and teaching applications that are currently being deployed and evaluated (Roschelle, Chan, Kinshuk, & Yang, 2004; MLearn, 2004; Hoppe, Joiner, Milrad, & Sharples, 2003), one can conclude that m-learning can significantly compliment e-learning by creating an additional channel of access for mobile users with mobile devices such as hand phones, PDAs, and pocket PCs. The mobile networks can enable learners to learn anytime and anywhere. However, before one can judge and evaluate the effectiveness of m-learning, learning modules suitable for such devices need to be available and used in mobile environment. To meet the requirements of different mobile devices existing applications would need to create separate instances of the content and do not use the same content that is available for PC based applications. This creates problems of duplication of efforts, double maintenance and problems of versioning control. Consequently the creation of such modules should not be a duplicated effort but the mechanisms need to be developed by which the same content can be rendered on both PC and mobile platforms by seamlessly adapting to the device and user profiles. This article presents the architecture of a system that is capable of adapting to the device and user profiles. The prototype implementation uses Extensible Markup Language (XML), Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) transformation, Document Object Model (DOM) and Active Server Pages (ASP) for dynamic interaction. In the next section a review of mobile learning is presented, followed by a section which addresses a framework that intends for multiplatform e-learning adaptation. The next section addresses technical issues and compares implementation methods. Another discusses some experience learned and then a section discusses a preliminary evaluation and findings. Finally, the conclusion provides some insight into future work to be carried out. …

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