Designing for Active Learning: Putting Learning into Context with Mobile Devices

Designing for Active Learning: Putting Learning into Context with Mobile Devices

Carl Smith (London Metropolitan University, UK), Claire Bradley (London Metropolitan University, UK), John Cook (London Metropolitan University, UK) and Simon Pratt-Adams (Anglia Ruskin University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-080-4.ch016

Abstract

This chapter will focus on the design, implementation, and evaluation of a recent location based, context aware system for urban education students, trainee teachers, and language learning students. We first describe the detailed design of a case iteration centered on urban education and then move on to briefly describe how the design was iteratively adapted using evolutionary prototyping for language learning. Evaluation results are presented which detail the range of learning outcomes achieved from the point of view of the students. We then discuss future work that incorporates social media and augmented reality. The chapter concludes by discussing the active learning that our design appears to encourage. A major conclusion is that there is much to commend the Zone of Proximal Development context sensitive design as a catalyst for active learning.
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Background

Design Based Research: Evolutionary Prototyping

At the core of this research is the design of mixed reality scenarios to explore the relationship between contextual factors and knowledge formation. “The skill of writing is to provide a context in which other people can think” (Schlossberg, 1977). The dynamic creation of context using print has now radically evolved under the influence of mediums such as augmented and mixed reality. These new mediums provide information which is “inherently about who you are, where you are, what you are doing, and what is around you”. (Shute, 2009) Context is central and being able to adapt and manipulate the elements of the context has never been easier and more accessible.

An example of this is how the physical use of space can be altered to reflect the subject content under review. For instance the context of one subject (language learning) can be transferred to another (urban education) through a rapid reconfiguration in the attachment of required information within the augmented space. However whilst learning in these new forms of augmented spaces represents a paradigm shift for education it also provides a new set of design challenges for the educational technologist. All aspects of the user’s context (physical, technical and social) should take an increasing role in the design. Design-based research was introduced with the expectation that researchers would systematically adjust various aspects of the designed context so that each adjustment could be tested and fed back into the next iteration of the intervention (Plomp, 2007). Mixed reality scenarios allow for this infinite adjustment in the contextual design and form the basis of this research.

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