Complex Mobile Learning that Adapts to Learners' Cognitive Load

Complex Mobile Learning that Adapts to Learners' Cognitive Load

Robin Deegan (Cork Institute of Technology, Cork, Ireland)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/ijmbl.2015010102
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Abstract

Mobile learning is cognitively demanding and frequently the ubiquitous nature of mobile computing means that mobile devices are used in cognitively demanding environments. This paper examines the use of mobile devices from a Learning, Usability and Cognitive Load Theory perspective. It suggests scenarios where these fields interact and presents an experiment which determined that several sources of cognitive load can be measured simultaneously by the learner. The experiment also looked at the interaction between these cognitive load types and found that distraction did not affect the performance or cognitive load associated with a learning task but it did affect the perception of the cognitive load associated with using the application interface. This paper concludes by suggesting ways in which mobile learning can benefit by developing cognitive load aware systems that could detect and change the difficulty of the learning task based on the cognitive state of the learner.
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Literature Review

Learning is considered to be the acquisition and development of memories and behaviors, including skills, knowledge, understanding, values, and wisdom. Specifically, from the perspective of the Information Processing Model (Broadbent, 1958, Neisser, 1967), it is the changes made to long term memory, usually schema creation or automation. Learning has traditionally taken place in learning institutions or schools. However, this may not be the best place for learning (Dewey, 1916, Bloom, 1964). In modern times, not only is high literacy demanded of everyone but the ability to think and reflect is now a valued attribute in the workplace. “Knowing” has shifted from being able to remember and repeat information to being able to find and use it (Simon, 1996). The role of education now should be the development of intellectual tools and learning strategies needed to acquire that knowledge (Bransford et al., 1999).

Mobile learning can address some of these challenges. Mobile learning is defined in this paper as “Learning with the aid of a Mobile device”. In this definition a mobile device is simply a computer that is not restricted to a specific stationary environment or location. Specifically, mobile devices can be used in multiple environments; anytime, anywhere. It is this notion of anytime, anywhere, that is causing a dichotomy. On the one hand it is great that technology can enable learning to take place in multiple environments and contexts, but on the other hand it is these multiple environments and contexts that may have unintended effects on mobile learning. Some of these effects have been explored in recent research (Coens et al., 2011) where jogging can be seen to have an effect on learning from a podcast via a mobile device.

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