Academic journal article International Education Studies

The Impact of Using SMS as Learning Support Tool on Students' Learning

Academic journal article International Education Studies

The Impact of Using SMS as Learning Support Tool on Students' Learning

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study aimed to investigate the impact of using Short Message Service (SMS) as learning support tool on students' learning in an introductory programming course. In addition, the study examined students' perceptions of the advantages and disadvantages of the use of SMS as a learning support tool in their class. The participants in this study were 52 students who were enrolled in two sections introductory programming course. For the purpose of the study, nonrandomized control group, pretest-posttest and qualitative interview designs were used. The control group consisted from 23 students, while the experimental one consisted from 29 students. A total number of 36 SMS messages were sent to each student, in the SMS group, over a period of 12 weeks. The messages contained different types of information, i.e. short review of programming concepts, hints to solve assignments, and triggering questions.

At the end of the experiment, semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten students from the SMS group. The analysis of the collected data showed that the use of SMS as learning support tool contributed significantly in improving students' learning. All the interviewed students believed that the use of SMS technology as learning support tool has more advantages than disadvantages. Based on the findings, this study provided some recommendations regarding the implementation of the SMS in the Jordanian higher education settings.

Keywords: SMS, students' learning, SMS-based instructional design, SMS as learning support tool, mobile learning

1. Introduction

In the last decade, mobile phones technologies have become very popular tools for the great majority of the Jordanian citizens. According to the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC), the mobile penetration rate in Jordan reached 123 percent by the end of the first quarter of 2012, higher than the internet penetration rate of 53 percent (TRC, 2012). The penetration rate refers to the active subscriptions within a specific population. One of the popular services of mobile phones technologies among Jordanian adults is the Short Message Service (SMS). SMS is a system that enables mobile phone users to exchange text messages. In Jordan, SMS has been used for advertising (Zabadi, Shur, & Elsayed, 2011), banking services (Khrawish, & Al-Sa'di, 2011), and governmental services (Jordanian e-Govemment, 2012). Furthermore, the use of SMS is popular among young Jordanians for chatting, participating in TV shows, and for sending greetings (Ibrahine, 2008; Mansur, 2010).

The worldwide popularity of SMS has motivated some educators to explore the use of SMS in educational settings: SMS technology, for example, has already been used to communicate administrative information for students (Naismith, 2007), to send small bites of educational contents to students (Lu, 2008; Zhang, Song, & Burston, 2011), to create and enhance in-class discussion (Markett, Sanchez, Weber, & Tangney, 2006; Goh & Hooper, 2007), to send persuasive and motivational quotes to students (Goh, Seet, & Chen, 2012), and to send quizzes to students (Shahreza, 2006).

However, educational and administrative applications of SMS in Jordanian higher education are very limited. The researchers examined the provided electronic administrative and educational services of all of the Jordanian public universities and they found lacking of SMS services. Furthermore, there are quite limited research studies that investigate the applications of SMS and their advantages and disadvantages in the Jordanian higher education (Al.Qomoul, 2011).

As a communication tool, SMS has been perceived as an everywhere, immediate, convenient, unobtrusive, and cheap mode of communication (Leung, 2007; Rau, Gao, & Wu, 2008). However, SMS has some limitations as communication tool. SMS has limited number of characters that can be sent via one message (160 characters in Latin alphabets and 70 characters in non-Latin alphabets) and it cannot be used to send pictures and visual stimulation (Leung, 2007; Bieswanger, 2007). …

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