Mobile learning for the egeneration
LLAS E-learning Conference
1 February 2007
John Cook and Cécile Tschirhart
London Metropolitan University
What is m(obile)-learning?
•Type of e-learning using mobile devices
(mobile phones, PDAs, iPods, tablet PCs and
smartphones) and wireless transmission
•M-learners are able to access a variety of
educational resources and interact with their
peers and tutors whenever and wherever it suits
Who is m-learning for?
• Formal Education:
HE/FE students; school pupils
• Informal education:
Life-long learners; tourists and visitors to
museums and galleries
• Business and workplace:
On-the-job learners; field workers
Why m-learning in HE?
• Popularity with ‘digital natives’
• One and a half billion mobile phones (more than
3 times the number of PCs)
• Mobile phone penetration among young people
75% -100%
• Learning tool in Asia
• Consensus among e-learning theorists and
practitioners: “The future is wireless”.
M-learning applications
• Mobile phone quizzes (e.g. spelling and maths tests)
• Collaborative learning activities involving camera
phones and multi-media messaging, using mediaBoard
• Use of iPods to access audiobooks and lectures
• Personalised guided tours using hand-held Augmented
Reality guides
• MILOS (mobile Interactive Learning Objects) using
graphics, animation, text, video clips, and audio
Practical Benefits
• Anywhere/anytime/personalised learning
• Portability and space saving
• Connectivity (instant access)
• Context-sensitivity (e.g. museums)
• Cost (less than PC)
• Inclusiveness/group work
Pedagogical advantages
• Consistent with socio-constructivist pedagogy
– Problem solving and exploratory learning;
– Contextualised learning;
– Independent and collaborative learning;
– Scaffolding
• Personalised learning
• Enhanced learner motivation
• Cost of device/connectivity
• Limited keyboard/small screen
• Limited functionality
• Adapting materials
• Standardisation
• Easy to lose
Current m-learning projects
• RLO-CETL: embedding of m-learning in various
HE courses
• MOBILA: Mobile phone Interactive Languages:
LondonMet e-packs (online language learning materials)
repurposed for use on mobile phones
Previous work
• Designing multimedia
learning resources and
learning objects
• For web and mobile phones
• Study Skills, Business
Studies and Sports Science
• See
Underpinning research
• Mobile phone surveys with students (117)
• 98% have mobiles
• 61% think it’s extremely useful to be
able to learn at any time and place
• 55% of the students answered positively
about the university contacting them via
their own mobile for learning purposes.
Only 23% thought ‘it would be a negative
E.G. Mobile Referencing Books
• Audio replaces/supports
content and instruction
• Interactive alternatives –
rethink the problem
• Bite sized content
E.G. SMS ‘learning hints’
Some responses from students about the ‘learning hint’ text messages
sent them
“It started to bug me but was useful.”
“I got them and I liked the ones during the
Easter break, which were giving suggestions
about the report.”
“I thought the text messages were great
because every time I forgot about it I had
someone pushing me to get on with it.
I really like to receive the text messages. I do
think it is very useful. Thank you so much to
send them to us.”
E.G.MediaBoard for collaborative work
E.G. Learner Generated Content
“I love the idea
of attending the
event! The
phone allows
us to take
pictures and
remember the
Design and development for
• Developing with
multimedia platform (see
• Also looking at how to
include students’ own
phones in learning

A blended m-learning design for supporting teamwork in