Mobile Learning

Interesting paper about a mobile learning project in Malaysia. Zoraini Wati Abas explains how the students received text messages about courses they attended. The objectives of the mobile learning project were to:

  1. enhance the blend of learning modes currently used at OUM
  2. increase the flexibility of learning
  3. encourage and support ubiquitous learning

5 categories of content were provided. Students received an SMS about:

  • Content: helping learners locate/remember important course facts
  • Forum: reminding and motivating learners to participate in discussions on the forums
  • Tips: providing hints/strategies to learners on how to do well in their studies
  • Motivation: motivating learners to persevere in the learning process
  • Course Management: providing timely announcements/reminders on tutorial dates, assessments and other aspects related to course management

I must admit I was a bit sceptic about this way of learning. I couldn’t see any way such a popular communications device as a cellphone could be used in the learning process. It seemed to me that learning through it would be very limiting, due to the limitations of the device. But, I stand corrected. Cellphones were not used in an intrusive or dominating way. They served a supporting role, guiding the students towards the course material. And not only that, but doing so in a motivating way, making the students hungry for more… Relying on intrinsic motivation rather than “forcing” them to study. The story of the carrot and the stick applies, I think. And what a lovely carrot it is!

It’s amazing what results came out of the project. Students saying they were actually motivated to go online and participate in the debate on a forum, look up some course materials, discovering new items concerning the course, etc. It strikes me how simple these solutions are to help students engage with content. And that’s what it’s all about, right? Engaging with content, not slavishly memorizing information, but to really interact with it!


One thought on “Mobile Learning

  1. As much as the high school students in the US rely on their cell phone for social connections, i found this a great way for a school to become more of a “trusted ally” in student learning–test reminders, reflection prompts, “new information” available etc. A grad student or Instructional Systems Technologist could help the teachers determine how to develop and time the messages.

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