A Trend Analysis of Mobile Learning

A Trend Analysis of Mobile Learning

Serçin Karataş (Gazi University, Turkey), Onur Ceran (Gazi University, Turkey), Ülkü Ülker (Gazi University, Turkey), Ezgi Tosik Gün (Gazi University, Turkey), Nimet Özgül Ünsal Köse (Gazi University, Turkey), Mustafa Kılıç (Gazi University, Turkey), Gökçe Akçayır (Gazi University, Turkey) and Zeynel Abidin Tok (Gazi University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0359-0.ch013
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The aim of this study is to determine current tendencies regarding mobile learning in published research between 2010 and 2015. In this study, 221 articles collected from the Web of Science Core Collection database with SSCI index were examined by using the content analysis technique. In the analyses, eight criteria were used, namely; research technique, sampling size, sampling level, learning domain, topical domain, data collecting tool, data analysis method and mobile application development approach. The results suggest that the main tendencies under these categories were experimental method; sample sizes of 31-100 people; higher education students; humanities and social sciences domain; learner outcomes topical domain; mixed data collecting tools; mixed analysis methods; and native mobile application development approach.
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It is possible to say that we live the mobile age by looking at mobile phones, ATMs, mobile cars used as offices, timeless and placeless advertisements, and palmtop computer games (Sharples, 2006). The use of mobile technologies has become widespread as wireless communication technologies have improved (Chu, Hwang, Tsai & Tseng, 2010). Mobile technologies, which offer the opportunity to reach educational content at any place and time, have a great deal of potential in that they have the advantage to make learning customized for the individual, and to eliminate time and place constraints (Attewell, 2005; Kukulska-Hulme, 2005; Mutlu, Yenigün, & Uslu, 2006; Motiwalla, 2007; Demsey, 2008; Wexler, Brown, Metcalf, Rogers, & Wagner, 2008; Wang, Wu, & Wang, 2009; Wagoner, Hover, & Ernest, 2011; Roberts, 2013; Ally & Tsinakos, 2014). Many higher education institutions favour mobile learning in order to ensure flexibility in education (Tsinakos & Ally, 2013). Likewise, learners prefer mobile devices to personal computers due to the flexibility they provide (Stockwell, 2010). When considered from this perspective, mobile technologies have become an up-to-date subject of study for educators and researchers (Kukulska-Hulme, & Traxler, 2007; Wu, Wu, Chen, Kao, Lin, & Huang, 2012).

Definition of Mobile Learning

As a result of these improvements, the definitions used for mobile learning (m-learning) have also varied over time. From the technocentric point of view, m-learning is learning which takes place through using any mobile device such as PDA, mobile phone, or iPod. For instance Quinn (2000) defined m-learning as electronic learning through mobile devices such as Palm, Windows CE machines, & digital cell phones, while Keegan (2005) defined it as enabling learning through PDA, smart and mobile phones. A relationship to e-learning perspective describes m-learning as an extension of e-learning; one group of researchers views m-learning as a sub-branch of the study of e-learning (Georgiev, Georgieva, & Smrikarov, 2004). Furthermore, another group states that the reason why m-learning and e-learning are different fields of study is due to a terminology difference (Parsons, 2007). In e-learning, terms such as multimedia and hyperlink are often used while; in m-learning, terms such as mobile, portable, personal are usually used. According to the learner-centred perspective, in mobile learning not only are devices used and life-long learning supported, but also it is a learning method, which is based on the mobility of learners (Sharples, 2000; Sharples, Corlett, & Westmancott, 2002; Winter, 2006).

To sum up, it is possible to say that the descriptions created in the early years about m-learning are technology focused, and stress the learning conducted through mobile devices and wireless technologies (Quinn, 2000; Traxler, 2005), whereas in later years, m-learning is defined as a learning method, in which learners can benefit from the learning advantages offered by mobile technologies without depending on a place or time, and in this definition learning is emphasized, instead of technology (Brown, 2010). In other words, m-learning is more concerned with the learner than technology, because the learner is mobile and is in the center of the act of learning, whereas the technology is only an enable for learning in any context. Mobile learning is a social event, which includes mobile people and enables the configuration of spontaneous learning contents, rather than a technological event (Vavoula and Sharples, 2009).

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