AnswerPro: Designing to Motivate Interaction

AnswerPro: Designing to Motivate Interaction

Balsam AlSugair (University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK), Gail Hopkins (University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK), Elizabeth FitzGerald (The Open University, Buckinghamshire, UK) and Tim Brailsford (University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/ijmbl.2014100102
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This paper describes the design and initial testing of AnswerPro, a mobile academic peer support system for school pupils aged 11-16 years. AnswerPro is a mobile optimised web application that enables pupils to seek support with school work from knowledgeable peers on various subjects. This paper presents research findings from the project, and in particular, details the design elements embedded within AnswerPro that are based upon teacher and pupil interviews examining motivation, and also from research into academic motivation. A pilot study was conducted with 7 school pupils over 3 weeks. Participants then engaged in a focus group, which discussed their experience using AnswerPro and the motivational elements embedded within it. The authors' findings highlighted some problems with the embedded motivational features. These findings have resulted in potential solutions for the next version of AnswerPro and design implications for practitioners intending to embed motivational elements in their own mobile learning tools.
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Background To The Research

Peer Learning

Peoples’ social ties can act as potentially rich resources for information (Liccardi et al., 2007), which can be tailored to their specific needs in a more efficient manner than other resources. This has been found to be especially true for children. Various studies (e.g. Nelson-Le Gall & Glor-Scheib, 1985; Good et al., 1987) have shown that older children (from around the age of 11) consider their peers as important potential sources of academic support. This ‘peer learning’ has been shown to have many benefits such as encouraging the development of accurate and superior understanding, and promoting creative thinking (Manion & Alexander, 1997; Sporer & Brunstein, 2009). As such, social media and mobile technologies could potentially be used to support such learners, although, we believe it necessary to design specific features that would motivate pupils’ recurrent use of such systems otherwise it is possible they would not use these tools sufficiently frequently to provide an academic benefit.

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