Implementation of Mobile Learning at the Open University Malaysia

Implementation of Mobile Learning at the Open University Malaysia

Chng Loi Peng (Open University Malaysia, Malaysia), Zoraini Wati Abas (Open University Malaysia, Malaysia), Norlia T. Goolamally (Open University Malaysia, Malaysia), Yuzery Yusoff (Open University Malaysia, Malaysia) and Harvinder Kaur Dharam Singh (Open University Malaysia, Malaysia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61692-849-0.ch010
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Abstract

As part of its ongoing effort to offer an effective blend of learning modes, the Open University Malaysia (OUM) recently incorporated mobile learning into its blended learning model. Having enrolled more than 86,000 learners over the last eight years, OUM strives to continually improve its delivery mode for the benefit of its learners. Mobile learning is seen to be the next wave of learning given the fact that almost all OUM learners have mobile phones. A study conducted in late 2008 to determine the readiness of its learners for mobile learning indicates that about 99% of OUM respondents have a mobile phone. The readiness survey also found that majority of respondents would be ready for mobile learning within six months of the study. The chapter will highlight, among others, the introduction of mobile learning at OUM, the initial finding with the pilot implementation and recommendations for the way forward.
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Mobile Learning

Definition

There are many definitions of mobile learning. Mobile learning means differently to different groups of people. It can be defined as either learning that happens across locations or learning opportunities that are offered by portable devices that typically overcomes physical and geographical barriers of learning. Those found in the literature often overlap.

Geddes (2004) defined mobile learning as the acquisition of any knowledge and skill by using mobile technology; anywhere, anytime that results in an alteration in behaviour. Lehner and Nosekabel (2002) refer mobile learning as a facility that supplies a learner with general electronic information and educational content that aids in acquisition of knowledge regardless of location and time. In another definition of mobile learning, O'Malley et al. (2003) defined it as any sort of learning that happens when the learner is not at a fixed, predetermined location, or learning that happens when the learner takes advantage of the learning opportunities offered by mobile technologies and Smith (2008) refers to it as learning activities made possible by lightweight handheld device that are easily transported from place to place. According to Nyiri (2002), mobile learning is fundamentally delivered through mobile devices such as Pocket Digital Assistance (PDA), smart phones and any other handheld devices. Mobile learning is seen as the next generation of e-learning and an important instrument for lifelong learning (Sharples, 2000). Traxler (2009) defined mobile learning in terms of its technology and hardware such as PDA, smart phones or wireless laptop computers, which are portable. If the characteristics of mobile learning were considered, words to describe mobile learning would include personal, spontaneous, opportunist, informal, pervasive, situated, private, context aware, bite-size, portable and ubiquitous learning.

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