Mobile Technologies Support Effective Learning

Mobile Technologies Support Effective Learning

Iris Reychav (Ariel University, Israel) and Dezhi Wu (Southern Utah University, USA)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch563
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Introduction

In today's era of dynamic technological development, mobile communication that is characterized by convenience, rapidness, multifunction, and real time access reflects the spirit of the moment (Hui-YI & Ling- Yin, 2010). The ability to learn in one's own context when on the move in time and space is arguably the central learning affordance of mobile technologies. M-learning is defined as being just in time, situated learning, mediated through digital technology in response to the needs of the user (Traxler, 2009). M-learning is different from other forms of technology-supported learning in the way it can mediate and facilitate learning experiences (Peters, 2009). The advent in recent years of an array of mobile technologies such as multimedia capable cellular phones, iPods and iPhones, iPad, other tablets, and portable netbook computers, has stimulated considerable interest within the education community. This interest revolves around the potential of mobile devices to support learning, based on their ability to enable individuals to connect with others to “produce, consume and store content and conversation” (Traxler, 2010, p.3). This potential, according to Traxler, can lead to a 'blurring' of the line between learning which occurs at the expense of real life-defined within the traditional school environment-to that which occurs as a part of real life, as learners interact with information and each other using mobile devices as part of their natural daily life.

New technologies and digital media have significantly impacted learning (Gee, 2009). Indeed, the use of new digital technology in education and training has contributed to its added value for innovative learning due to its impact on leveraging the cognitive engagement to enhance learning (Ellis & Barrs, 2008). According to Traxler (2010), unlike more traditional desktop technologies, mobile technologies (m-technologies) are more difficult to ignore. He comments that using desktop technologies “takes place in a bubble - in times and places where the user has his or her back on the rest of the world for a substantial and probably premeditated episode (p. 5).” In many ways, mobile technologies have the capacity to redefine what constitutes a learning space, away from the constraints of a fixed place and time towards a conceptualization based on connecting people with each other and information, through virtual collaborative spaces and highly fluid communities.

Recent tablet technologies such as iPads can provide an immersive multimedia experience for users. Their unique multi-touch screen, portability and many other intuitive user interaction features make them into a new type of mobile platform for education and training that will, at least in theory, offer all the functionality and connectivity of a laptop, with the mobility of a smartphone. For example, recent Apple news (www.apple.com) states the iPads have been adopted for education and training in over 1000 institutions and organizations worldwide.

In this book article, we aim to apply the uses and gratification needs (U&G) theory to interpret mobile learning experiences with a group of motorcyclists when they take their mobile training on road safety. We then propose a research study to map U&G needs with measurable constructs. In this study, we were able to test the proposed research with 182 users in the field. Current preliminary results have demonstrated the effectiveness of using tablet technologies for road safety training.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Mobile Communication: Is characterized by convenience, rapidness, multifunction, and real time access, and reflects the spirit of the moment enabled by wireless and mobile telecommunication technologies and devices (Hui-YI & Ling- Yin, 2010). M-Learning is defined as being just-in-time, situated learning, mediated through digital technology in response to the needs of the user ( Traxler, 2009 ). M-learning is different from other forms of technology-supported learning in the way it can mediate and facilitate learning experiences ( Peters, 2009 ). The ability to learn in one's own context when on the move in time and space is arguably the central learning affordance of mobile technologies.

Uses & Gratifications (U&G) Theory: Is a media-use paradigm that inquiries into the reasons why people use certain media, and analyzes the gratification derived from usage and access (Katz & Blumer, 1974).

Multimedia Effect: Multimedia delivers a multi-sensory interactive user experience. Multimedia learning is an active process of opening two separate channels (auditory and visual) for information processing” (Marshall, 2002, p. 7).

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