In 2011, an extra 6 million people in the UK used their mobile phone to access the Internet than reported in 2010, and the rate of growth in the use of this technology was fastest among those aged 16 to 24. In addition, mobile internet use via a laptop, tablet or other portable computer also increased, with 38% of internet users using these mobile devices (Office for National Statistics, August 2011). As new mobile technologies have been adopted, studies have shown that learners’ study habits are also changing; with a demand for resources and other information to be available as and when required (Belshaw, 2010).
Furthermore, surveys from Mobile Learning Network (MOLENET) research have found that learners overwhelmingly felt that mobile learning: helped them to learn; made their learning more interesting; and wanted to do more mobile learning (Attewell et al, 2009)
In addition, the research found that mobile learning had many benefits for teaching and learning: greater learner engagement and motivation; higher retention, achievement and progression; personalisation; learner enjoyment and improved confidence; and improved communication between teachers and learners. Nevertheless, as Attewell et al (2009) stress, it is important that existing learning materials are not simply converted for use on a mobile device, for example accessing an existing VLE by a mobile device. Rather, the lesson objectives and the needs of the learners should be taken into account to establish how specific mobile technologies can enhance delivery. Neither should mobile learning be seen as a single solution for delivering or supporting learning.
Indeed, as Belshaw (2010) suggests, mobile devices can help to develop learning strategies within existing pedagogies. For example, mobile learning supports social interaction, as defined by Koole’s Model for Framing Mobile Learning (2009 in JISC, 2011), and collaborative learning as suggested by Laurillard’s Conversational Framework (2002). In addition, mobile learning supports situated learning, where students can work on problems in contextual situations, as well as supporting reflective, informal and lifelong learning. Evidence of successful use of mobile technologies which supports these pedagogies can be found in the case studies undertaken by Leicester College and University and the University of Bath Molenet projects (Arrigo et al, 2009)
Clearly then, mobile learning has, and will continue to have, an impact on teaching and learning. However, it is important to recognise that adoption of mobile technology by institutions faces many challenges, such as staff training and development, privacy issues and copyright issues. Initiatives such as ‘Collaborative Approaches to the Management of e-Learning’ (CAMEL) which was adopted by Sheffield College, and described by Duggleby and Pickersgill (2009), may help to ease the transition by collaborative sharing best practice in the adoption of e- and m-learning strategies to support staff in confidence and skills to support learners.
- Learning Delivery on Mobile Devices? It’s time to take it seriously.. (e3bpl.com)
- So you think you are a Mobile Learning Expert? Prove it! [Rich Wootten] (ecademy.com)
- A End-of-Course Student Survey: The Use of Mobile Devices for Class Activities (usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com)
- Launch of the Mobile Learning infoKit (dougbelshaw.com)
- EdTech Roundup: OER, Mobile Learning and E-Textbooks (edreformer.com)
Arrigo, M., Di Guiseppe, O., Fulantelli, G., Gentile, M., Merlo, G., Seta, L., Taibi, D. (eds), (2009) Mobile Technologies in Lifelong Learning/Best Practices, Italian National Research Council – Institute for Educational Technology, Palermo
Attewell, J., Savill-Smith, C., Douch, R., The impact of mobile learning: examining what it means for teaching and learning, Learning Skills Network, London.
Belshaw, D., (2010), Mobile and Wireless Technologies Review, JISC [online] Available at: http://mobilereview.jiscpress.org/ Accessed 29th December 2011
Duggelby, J., Pickersgill, D., “Covering the angles – a multi-pronged approach to staff development” in Parker, G (ed)., MoLeNET Mobile Learning Conference 2009, Research Papers, Learning Skills Network,
JISC Infonet (2010), Mobile Learning Infokit, [online]. Availtable at: http://issuu.com/jiscinfonet/docs/mobile-learning-infokit-v0.1/31?mode=embed&viewMode=magazine Accessed 29th December 2011
Office for National Statistics (2011), Internet Access – Households and Individuals, Statistical Bulletin, [online]. Available at http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778_227158.pdf Accessed 29th December, 2011