An Innovative Approach of Applying Knowledge Management in M-Learning Application Development: A Pilot Study

An Innovative Approach of Applying Knowledge Management in M-Learning Application Development: A Pilot Study

Mostafa Al-Emran (Universiti Malaysia Pahang, Gambang, Malaysia), Vitaliy Mezhuyev (FH Joanneum University of Applied Sciences, Kapfenberg, Austria) and Adzhar Kamaludin (Universiti Malaysia Pahang, Gambang, Malaysia)
DOI: 10.4018/IJICTE.2019100107

Abstract

The development of mobile learning (m-learning) applications is not a new research topic. However, the development of m-learning applications from the perspective of knowledge management (KM) processes is a new research trend that has never been tackled in the existing literature. The main objective of this study is to develop an m-learning application that enables KM processes (acquisition, sharing, application, and protection) to evaluate the students' perceptions and acceptance towards its usage. A pilot study was conducted in two different universities in two developing countries, namely Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP) in Malaysia and Al Buraimi University College (BUC) in Oman. A questionnaire survey is used to collect data from 51 IT undergraduate students. The findings provided empirical evidence that the developed m-learning application has raised the students' acceptance towards the application and enhanced their intent to use such applications in the future.
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1. Introduction

The proliferation of m-learning in the higher educational settings has brought several opportunities to both learners and educators (Gikas & Grant, 2013). In that, m-learning facilitates “just-in-time” learning, where students can take the advantages of the learning process wherever and whenever they prefer (Ferreira, Klein, Freitas, & Schlemmer, 2013). M-learning also assists learners in making their conversations, joining social media, finding responses to their queries, enabling team collaboration, facilitating knowledge sharing, and thus, raising their learning outcomes (Al-Emran, Mezhuyev, & Kamaludin, 2018a). Due to the extensive coverage of m-learning features, it becomes an essential part of the institutions of higher education (Al-Emran, Elsherif, & Shaalan, 2016). M-learning refers to “the learning across multiple contexts, through social and content interactions, using personal electronic devices” (Crompton, 2013). M-learning application refers to the use of SMS, discussion forums, video classes, podcasting, games, learning management system (LMS), quizzes, and social networks to support teaching and learning activities (Ferreira et al., 2013). Several research studies were interested in developing m-learning applications in various contexts for different purposes (Dong & Liu, 2013; Kamaludin, Kasim, Selamat, & Hui, 2012; Oyelere & Suhonen, 2016; Oyelere, Suhonen, Wajiga, & Sutinen, 2017). This interest was boosted due to the availability of mobile devices, their low costs, learners’ motivation, and mobile infrastructure accessibility (Oyelere, Suhonen, & Sutinen, 2016).

In terms of m-learning, in order to reinforce the learners’ capabilities through the use of mobile devices, knowledge management (KM) processes (knowledge acquisition, knowledge sharing, knowledge application, and knowledge protection) should be incorporated in m-learning applications (Al-Emran, Mezhuyev, & Kamaludin, 2018a; Al Sagri & Zemirli, 2015). KM process refers to “the process of capturing, storing, sharing, and using knowledge” (Lee, 2001). In terms of KM, m-learning is one of the KM initiatives that supports a reliable learning environment, in which knowledge has been easily gained and shared among users (Jeong & Hong, 2013; Viberg & Grönlund, 2013). Knowledge acquisition refers to the process that utilizes the current knowledge and captures new knowledge (Lee, Lee, & Lin, 2007). In addition, knowledge sharing is defined as the process that disseminates knowledge among all individuals taking part in the activities of a particular process (Lee et al., 2007; Migdadi, Abu Zaid, Al-Hujran, & Aloudat, 2016). Besides, knowledge application refers to the process that enables the institution to access the knowledge smoothly via its efficient storage and retrieval techniques (Lee et al., 2007). Furthermore, knowledge protection is defined as the process of preventing the inappropriate or illegal use of knowledge (Lin, 2013).

According to the extant literature, various research studies were carried out with the aim of developing m-learning applications. However, these studies neglected to examine the impact of KM processes on m-learning acceptance from the theoretical and practical sides. The main objectives of the current study are to develop an m-learning application that enables KM processes (acquisition, sharing, application, and protection), and to analyze the students’ perceptions and acceptance towards the use of the developed application into their learning activities using the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) constructs. A pilot study was carried out in two different universities in two countries, namely Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP) in Malaysia and Al Buraimi University College (BUC) in Oman in order to implement the developed m-learning application. The users of the developed application are the IT undergraduate students in both universities. Specifically, this study attempts to answer the following research questions:

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