Summary of Literature Review About Mobile Learning

Moses, Oyelami Olufemi (2008). Improving mobile learning with enhanced Shih's model of mobile
learning. US-China Education Review,5(11).p22-28.

Shih, Y.E. & Mills, D. (2007). Setting the new standard with mobile computing in online
learning. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning,8(2).

Handheld devices have revolutionized learning and the teaching setting by making “mobile learning” possible; however, these handheld devices often have limitations which can affect learning.Yushin Shih (2007) developed a mobile learning modelwhich aims to match instructional design with the mobile learning design and improve mobile learning outcomes.Shih’s model can be adapted or modified to suit university learning, for example by including additional softwares that assist with online library searches.It can also be enhanced by incorporating such things as Voice User Interfaces (VUIs) which can be used to assist blind students or students with other special needs.

Current perspectives on mobile learning generally fall into 4 broad categories according to Niall Winters as cited in Sharples (2006):
1.Technocentric – where the mobile learning is learning to use a portable device itself, such as mobile phones or PDAs.
2.Relationship to e-learning – where mobile learning is characterized as an extension of e-learning.
3.Augmenting formal education – where mobile learning devices are simply used as a tool to complement formal learning.
4.Learner-centered – where the learner takes advantage of the learning opportunities offered by mobile technologies, and the learning does not have to happen in a fixed location and instead happens wherever the learner is located.
Based on these various definitions of mobile learning Moses (2008) defines m-learning as: “a form of e-learning that involves any learning with the use of a mobile device to produce an anywhere and anytime learning experience to cater for the needs of different learners and augments their formal learning experience.” (p. 24).

Educators have always had the goal of motivating learners to become life-long learners by meeting the needs of diverse students, and the same holds true within the field of mobile learning.Shih’s mobile learning model (2007) was created to help instructors tailor teaching design to be supportive of mobile learning.The model outlines a mobile learning cycle which includes:
1.Motivating learners and triggering learning through multimedia messages sent to their mobile learning devices.
2.Including embedded hyperlinks in these multimedia messages which can lead the learners to even more information by searching the web.
3.Encouraging discussion about information found between the learning peers using a variety of methods such as texting, voice, video, or picture messaging.
4.Producing a digital “journal” of the learning experience and what they learned by blogging, or using video diary, etc.
5.And finally getting the chance to apply what they have learned in a simulated environment; whether that is a virtual classroom or lab, or an online game, etc.

Moses (2008) proposes a few enhancements to Shih’s model of mobile learning cycle to make it more adaptable to learning in the university environment:
1.Besides embedded hyperlinks to search the web, there could be the option of searching the online library for information on the topic at hand.
2.And a final step after applying what they have learned in a simulated environment would be to post and then read each other’s testimonials about positive learning outcomes.
Handheld and networking technologies have continued to redefine the way things are done, but by using a model such as Shih’s mobile learning model as a guide, educators can make modifications to suit their own teaching / learning environment and meet the needs of their students in a m-learning or e-learning environment (Moses, 2008).

We live in the era of information and technology, and learning is only one of the areas which has been affected.The learning process has been revolutionized by the new concepts of mobile teaching and learning (Shih, 2007).

McConatha, Douglas. Praul, Matt. Lynch, Michael J. (2008). Mobilelearningin higher education: An
empirical assessment of a new educational tool. Turkish Online Journal of Educational
Technology, 7(3).

Mobile learning or m-learning is a pedagogical tool that can assist both students and teachers in navigating the modern teaching and learning world which is rapidly expanding to include distance education opportunities.It is a relatively new field with the first studies being published in 2000.As with any learning environment, there are challenges and opportunities to consider, and various methods for implementation or delivery.The study in this article trialed an m-learning product with 112 students using a variety of m-learning devices such as PDAs, mobile phones, smart phones, and other internet-capable devices.42 of these students chose to use their own personal phones or devices and others used a variety of devices provided.The students formed 2 groups, those that used m-learning technologies and others who used traditional learning methods.The study found that more information was retained and test scores higher with the group using the m-learning devices, and students generally preferred learning content that was presented using a mobile learning method over more traditional methods.

-Some students feel more comfortable participating and openly sharing their beliefs or opinions.
-The majority of students have access to m-learning devices such as mobile phones.
-Students can easily communicate and share ideas or learning without disrupting class or other students(i.e. by talking out loud).
-Students can access information from anywhere, they are not limited to learning in the classroom.Information is literally at the tip of their fingers.
-Mobile technology is pervasive and continues to expand into the mainstream, in fact some countries have more mobile phones than landlines now.
-Very conducive to a collaborative learning experience.
-Learners can learn in whatever setting best suits their specific learning styles.
-More professions and corporations have adopted these technologies, learning on them as students can prepare them to be able to use them effectively in the workplace.

-The relatively limited space for SMS text messages has been shown to affect grammar and spelling as students get used to communicating using “shorthand” to fit more content in each message.
-WiFi capabilities vary from place to place although this continues to improve as more and more places are embracing these new technologies.
-Older students may not be as comfortable as the younger generations, leading to a knowledge gap – especially in programs where there is a huge range in ages of students.
-There is some cost involved although this also continues to improve.
-Technology sometimes fails.
-The tool is not the content – educators must still make sure that the content is what the focus is, not the learning method.
-Face to face interaction is often missing and is still a very valuable part of student interations with each other and with the teacher.
-Some issues with memory and battery life depending on the device and the task.
-Some software is more user-friendly than others.
-Academic dishonesty issues.

Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes. (2007). Mobile usability in educational contexts: What have we learnt?
International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 8(2). P.1-16.

The success of mobile learning depends on human factors as well as technological ones.It is a combination of these human and technological factors that will determine whether a student perceives the m-learning experience as a valuable one or not.If there are weaknesses in either type of factor it can have a negative impact on the student’s learning experience.

Human factors:
-Comfort or familiarity with devices and softwares.
-Willingness to change to a new learning method.
-Fear of technology.
-Access to adequate support.
-Learning styles.
-Ability to see the value of technological innovations.

Technological factors:
-Access to wireless capabilities / devices necessary.
-Cost of devices and software.
-Usability of software - ease of use.
-Technology failures.
-Physical attributes of the m-learning devices (i.e. size, weight, screen size).
-Network speeds and reliability.

In general it was found that most mobile learning occurred using devices that were not actually designed for use in the teaching and learning environment.More issues with usability were reported by those using PDAs than those using non-traditional m-learning devices such as smartphones, or MP3s etc., however this may be due to that fact that these devices are much more frequently used in the person’s everyday life and therefore may be much more familiar to them.Another important point to note is that many advances have been made with PDAs in recent years and the usability has likely improved much since they were first introduced.There is also much more choice for consumers allowing people to find a device that is able to match their needs more closely.It is apparent that we still don’t know exactly what mobile learning devices will be used for as far as education in the future, or the extent to which they will be used.

Traxler, J. (2007). Defining, discussing, and evaluating mobilelearning: The moving finger writes and
Having writ... . International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 8(2).

Traxler (2007) states that although the delivery and development of mobile learning is expanding and increasing in practice, the theoretical and conceptual components are lagging behind along with methods of evaluating the mobile learning taking place.Advocates of mobile learning have attempted to conceptualize it within varying contexts, such as from the point of view of technologies or the devices being used, to the point of view of those learners using the technologies and their learning experiences.The very attributes of mobile learning which allow it to become a very convenient and personal learning experience for each individual are those which make mobile learning so hard to define!Attempts to evaluate and categorize mobile learning can compromise the very attributes which make it different from traditional learning.

The transformation of learning due to technologies is not occurring in a vacuum, as technologies are revolutionizing all aspects of life.With increasing popular access to information anytime and anywhere, the role of formal education is being challenged to fit in with a society that is more dynamic than ever.Societal notions of knowledge and information have transformed, and expectations have also changed within the educational environment.People who are used to instant information at the tips of their fingers in other areas of their lives will naturally begin to expect the same with regards to their educations.

New possibilities for collaborative learning have come with the introduction of mobile learning and technologies.Learners are better able than ever to direct their own learning by choosing when and where it can happen and possibly at what pace this learning can occur.The result is a more personalized learning journey, where the learner can decide if they want “hands-free” learning, or “eyes-free” learning simply by choosing the delivery tool or delivery method that best suits them at that time.They can also choose whether learning will occur in the home, while walking outside, or even in the car.Imagine education where students get to choose the delivery method which best fits their learning style(s)!

​Liz MacDougall, Master of Nursing student for conducting the literature review and developing this summary