Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Effects of Mobile Instant Messaging on Collaborative Learning Processes and Outcomes: The Case of South Korea

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Effects of Mobile Instant Messaging on Collaborative Learning Processes and Outcomes: The Case of South Korea

Article excerpt


Many researchers have claimed that mobile learning will greatly influence the future of teaching and learning in collaborative learning contexts (El-Hussein & Cronje, 2010; Huang, Yang, Huang, & Hsiao, 2010; Ryu & Parsons, 2012). The main reason behind many researchers' enthusiasm about mobile based collaborative learning stems from its spontaneous, portable, personalized, ubiquitous and situated characteristics (Motiwalla, 2007; Patten, Arnedillo Sanchez, & Tangney, 2006; Rau, Gao, & Wu, 2008; Ryu & Parsons, 2012). Moreover, mobile learning has gradually become stable and mature (Huang, Yang, Huang, & Hsiao, 2010) and has attracted an increased number of learners in recent years.

Educators in South Korea are particularly fascinated by the concept of mobile learning due to its potential to overcome the limitations of traditional education and web-based learning. According to Korea Internet & Security Agency (2011), the infrastructure for mobile learning (e.g., WiFi networks, high-speed internet connection) is well established in South Korea. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) also recently reported South Korea has the most mobile wireless broadband subscriptions of 34 OECD counties (OECD, 2012). South Korea has 104.2 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants. Additionally, several South Korean universities have distributed free iPhones or smart phones and encouraged students to utilize them to participate in lectures, to access library sources, and to access educational administration system (Lee, 2010). Students' adoption of mobile technology is not surprising, given recent statistics on Internet usage. The Korea Internet & Security Agency (2012) finds that the internet usage rate for university students is almost 100% (99.9%) and among instant message users, 49.4% use mobile instant messaging services. The rapid diffusion and use of mobile devices suggests students may be receptive to educators' incorporation of these tools for learning or ubiquitous learning in South Korea (Park, Nam,& Cha, 2012).

However, the true extent of the impact of mobile learning on education is still contested, both theoretically and empirically (Motiwalla, 2007, Ryu & Parsons, 2012). Moreover, previous research is limited to two specific themes - the effectiveness of mobile learning and the design of mobile learning systems (Wu, Wu, Chen, Kao, Lin, & Huang, 2012). Researchers have typically measured the effectiveness of mobile learning using learning outcomes rather than learning processes (Chen, Chang, & Wang, 2008; Hwang & Tsai, 2011). These outcomes comprise motivations, perceptions, attitudes, academic achievement, and satisfaction of students.

In this respect, various research topics that can uncover the potential of mobile learning are warranted to present more practical guidelines in this area. To address this gap in the literature, the present study explores how mobile learning affects collaborative learning processes and outcomes. Specifically, we examine the extent to which students' cognitive, metacognitive, and social/affective interactions vary in mobile-based collaborative learning environments. We also examine the quality of cognitive messages and the level of team effectiveness in order to measure taskwork and teamwork, respectively.

Theoretical background

Mobile-based collaborative learning in social and situated learning frameworks

It is important to emphasize that the use of technology in educational settings must be in accordance with educational theories and specific pedagogical considerations (Patten et al., 2006). According to Ryu and Rarsons (2012), social and situated learning can be experienced through mobile-based collaborative learning since mobile learning facilitates seamless social interaction in learners by providing them advanced functions such as mobility and instant connectivity. …

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