Academic journal article Higher Learning Research Communications

What Is mLearning and How Can It Be Used to Support Learning and Teaching in Econometrics?

Academic journal article Higher Learning Research Communications

What Is mLearning and How Can It Be Used to Support Learning and Teaching in Econometrics?

Article excerpt

Abstract

This research project analyzed the integration of mobile learning technologies in a postgraduate course in Finance (MSc in Finance) at Dublin Institute of Technology, where econometrics is an important course component. Previous experience with students undertaking econometrics modules supported this analysis, where the researcher detected a clear need for learning support. Econometrics courses are heavily supported by the use of sophisticated statistical software, the availability of which is normally restricted to designated labs in the college. As a result, this project has developed an application that facilitates students' access to econometrics course work, where a mobile device was used. The main objective of the project was to enable students to bring their course material home with them and use it anywhere, at any time, so that the basic material covered in class could be consulted and reviewed as many times as the students need. The results of this project are very encouraging, as evidence suggests mobile technologies can play a positive role in improving students' learning experience. Teachers should consider using mobile technologies to support their work in the classroom. In this context, smart phones and PC tablets, the devices used during this study, have proved to be particularly effective.

Keywords: eLearning, mLearning, iPad, iPhone, website, action learning and econometrics.

In Friedman's (2005) vision of a globalised future, the two main drivers of change include economic competition and technological advances. In this context, science, engineering, and technology education are arguably the key to success. Accordingly, the education system needs to be adjusted by integrating new technologies into its structure, programmers, and instructor training. The aim of this study is to explore the positive and negative effects of new technology in higher education. It specifically focuses on analyzing the concept and practice of mobile learning (mLearning) in higher education, and exploring how blended learning could be used to enhance students' progress. In this respect, it is important to consider where technology might take the academic community, whether we want to go there, and whether we have a choice.

In the last few decades, numerous studies illustrated the various ways our technologically informed society has affected the system of education. Previous research showed that new technologies are conceived to be the panacea to minimizing education costs and maximizing students' learning experiences (Naismith, Lonsdale, Vavoula, Sharpies, 2004). Nevertheless, other studies showed that there are important limitations associated with the use of technology when supporting learners (Kukulska-Hulme, 2009; Lowendahl & Harris, 2009), and that barriers must still be overcome in order to achieve success in this domain. As a result, the main focus of this project is to examine whether blended learning can help integrate the use of technology (with a special emphasis on mobile learning technologies) into students' learning experiences.

Project Context and Rationale

This section provides a general evaluation of pedagogical and andragogical teaching, as well as learning models and their importance in higher education. As it is a common trend among teaching professionals to confuse these methodologies, it is not infrequent that inappropriate teaching methods are used in higher education (Pew, 2007). A major problem "arises when pedagogical methods and practices are applied (in whole or in part) to situations that require" andragogical dynamics" [emphasis added] (Pew, 2007, p. 14). It is therefore necessary that higher education institutions analyze and assess the needs of potential students and adjust their teaching methodologies accordingly. Neglecting to do so will contribute to the risk of offering a product that does not satisfy students' or employers' demands.

Universities and colleges need to adjust their teaching systems in order to provide products tailored to individual student needs. …

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