Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Advancing Mobile Learning in Formal and Informal Settings Via Mobile App Technology: Where to from Here, and How?

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Advancing Mobile Learning in Formal and Informal Settings Via Mobile App Technology: Where to from Here, and How?

Article excerpt

Introduction

Mobile learning (or m-learning) as a concept and theory has evolved rapidly, and it is no longer considered just a technocentric trend, attractive for those interested in devices and technologies. This becomes obvious due to the increased reception of mobile learning in reviews on current trends in education (e.g., Johnsson, Levine, Smith, & Stone, 2010). The most recent discussions tend to assert there has been a shift from defining mobile learning as based on the devices used (Soloway et al., 2001) towards the inclusion of context (Sharples, Taylor, & Vavoula, 2007, p. 4). Mobile learning is accepted to represent a technological advance, enabling rich, distributed and contextualized approaches to learning (Crompton, 2014). Moreover, it is accepted that m-learning is about the learner's mobility, and how we as educators can engage students and in learning activities without them being restricted to a physical location. Nevertheless, it seems that the understanding of mobile learning and m-learning is still evolving, and that there are several considerations that should be included in trying to define the term. Specifically, an educationally relevant definition of mobile learning seems to be required (Laouris & Eteokleous, 2005). Along this line, Crompton, Muilenburg, and Berge's define m-learning as "learning across multiple contexts, through social and content interactions, using personal electronic devices" (Crompton, 2013). The authors would like to extend that definition by including notions of agency and timeliness, in the following way: "Mobile learning accommodates and supports personal agency of the learner in a way that the learner can decide when, where and how he or she will learn; as such, mobile learning is instrumental in just in time and on demand learning." With this definition, we summarize notions of several research sources (Baker III, 2016; Boese, 2016; McLean, Attardi, Faden, & Goldszmidt, 2016).

A major potential of mobile technologies for learning lies in the ability to provide timely access to learning in authentic working contexts (Herrington et al., 2012; Herrington, Ostashewski, Reid, & Flintoff, 2014). Chan et al. (2006) coined the term seamless learning for this, which they define as the "ubiquitous access to mobile, connected, personal, handhelds creating the potential for a new phase in the evolution of technology-enhanced learning, marked by a continuity of the learning experience across different environments." However, this relates to the challenge of finding appropriate and effective methods to blend formal and informal learning, as seamless learning can occur anytime--in-classroom, or outside the classroom, in formal settings, or incidental within a peer group. The corresponding challenges can be classified into four categories: pedagogical challenges, technological challenges, policy challenges and research challenges (Khaddage et al., 2015). Evolutionary change usually takes place in response to ecological interactions that operate on the overall ecosystem, Zhao and Frank (2003) suggested that the process of technology integration is evolutionary, and they stated that pedagogy, and technological skills slowly build upon each other and evolve as technology is introduced into the learning environment. Therefore these four challenges, enabling the understanding of the structure and function of each one of them. Understanding the relationships between these challenges is essential for a proper mobile learning integration and a successful mobile learning ecology (Zhao & Frank, 2003; Khaddage et al., 2015).

The adoption, support and integration of mobile learning was also a topic at the Fourth International Summit on ICT in Education (EduSummIT 2015), which was held in Bangkok, Thailand, members of the Thematic Working Group 2 (TWG2) discussed methods, strategies, and guidelines for issues and challenges in the design, implementation, evaluation, and policy development of mobile learning. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.