“M-Learning Not an Extension of E-Learning”: Based on a Case Study of Moodle VLE

“M-Learning Not an Extension of E-Learning”: Based on a Case Study of Moodle VLE

K. P. Hewagamage, W.M.A.S.B. Wickramasinghe, A. De S. Jayatilaka
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/jmbl.2012100102
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In this paper, the authors present work that was carried out to develop an m-learning extension to a Moodle based VLE at the University of Colombo School of Computing (UCSC) and its initial evaluation. They believed this new development could bring a value added service to learners and describe how mobile browsing, mobile applications and Short Message Service (SMS) were used to access learning resources and activities to interact with other users who were facilitating or following on-line courses. However, in their investigation, the authors discovered that m-learning cannot be promoted as a value added service for the current e-Learning based framework. Learners do not receive a significant benefit compared to the cost they incur to interact with the learning service. Both pedagogy and technical infrastructure must be considered together, not as an extension of existing services but to provide a new learning service for m-learning.
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Information Communication Technology (ICT) based techniques can be effectively used in the learning and training process as they minimize the limitations of time, location and pace. This was the main reason for e-Learning to become a popular alternative for traditional face to face (f2f) learning during the last decade. In the f2f learning environment, teachers, learners and resources are connected within a small physical space. e-Learning enables distance learning by making use of Web/Internet based technologies to provide a more flexible and convenient learning environment.

During the last few years, with advances in mobile technologies and devices such as smart phones and pocket PCs, the e-learning trend is mixed and enhanced with m-learning alternatives. Hence, it is sometimes difficult to understand whether a particular service is based on e-Learning or m-learning. Unfortunately, some initiatives promote e-learning as m-learning when the learning takes place through mobile devices. For example, “Mobitel m-learning” (http://www.moodle.org) is the well-known open source software that has contributed significantly the paradigm shift from classroom based learning to online learning. Many educational institutes have started using Moodle to experience online learning. University of Colombo School of Computing (UCSC) also developed their online learning service platform using Moodle starting from 2005. It was initiated with blended learning courses for internal degree programmes and later was extended to a fully online degree programme called Bachelor of Information Technology (BIT). The majority of the users who take these courses have mobile devices and the number of users possessing a mobile device is usually higher than those who possess a computer with an Internet connection. Therefore, we believed that there was a significant opportunity to use mobile devices in the learning environment.

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