A Step by Step Guide to Design and Delivery of Mobile Learning Content

A Step by Step Guide to Design and Delivery of Mobile Learning Content

Serge Gabarre (University Putra Malaysia, Malaysia) and Cécile Gabarre (University Putra Malaysia, Malaysia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-198-6.ch015
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Abstract

Mobile learning is more than a trend that follows today’s lifestyle. Learning on the go with mobile internet offers advantages that were not even thought of a few years ago. Current literature on the topic has demonstrated its usefulness as well as its limitations. In a context where learners do not have access to mobile internet it is still possible to deliver course notes in a mobile format. The authors created portable lecture notes that were distributed to their students via the multimedia messaging service (MMS). With these notes, the students were able to take advantage of the ubiquitous nature of their mobile devices and thus started to learn anywhere and anytime. This chapter proposes a simple method to create lecture notes for mobile devices and suggests several methods of delivery.
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Background

Definition of m-Learning

Mobile learning commonly referred to as m-learning, is intrinsically related to mobile devices. These are generally cell phones but also comprise PDAs, advanced MP3 players such as the iPod Touch and even portable video games player. Since the technology involved is related to information and communication (ICT), using mobile devices to teach can be interpreted as an evolution from e-learning (Holzinger, Nischelwitzer, & Meisenberger, 2005).

More precisely, Sharples, Corlett and Westmancott (2002) defined eight requirements for the design of a mobile learning resource. They should be “highly portable, individual, unobtrusive, available, adaptable, persistent, useful and easy to use” (Sharples, Corlett, & Westmancott, 2002, p. 223). These requirements were completed by Ally (2005) who suggested that the content should be adapted to the small size of the device, make use of multimedia, allow ease of navigation, and put a minimal load on the devices’ processing resource.

At the turn of the century, Judith Boettcher (2001) envisioned that through future development in teaching technology, learning could happen anywhere and everywhere. Today, m-learning fulfils this forecast. It is interesting to point out that, using cell phones in the class rooms is conventionally considered inappropriate (Campbell & Russo, 2003). Yet, with mobile learning, the situation is paradoxically opposite where students are required to use their cell phones to learn.

Using Cell Phones Beyond a Personal Use

Although mobile learning may seem to be the natural evolution of e-learning, we must first emphasize the social acceptance of cell phones beyond personal use. Indeed, for instructors to adopt a new method of teaching using cell phones, they must first accept the notion that this personal device needs to be used professionally. Current literature (Campbell, 2007) reveals that using cell phones for work-related tasks is culturally dependant. Campbell (2007) highlights that for Italians and French users, cell phones should be restricted to personal matters whereas Chinese find it normal to receive professional calls after office hours. From our own observations, Malaysian learners consider appropriate calling their lecturers during the weekend or sending them text messages after midnight.

Learning Anywhere and Anytime

The ubiquity nature of mobile devices fits a fast paced lifestyle where one has several short lapses of idle time. This down time could happen in urban commuting, or while waiting for something such as an appointment or even while queuing for any sort of service. It is an educator’s dream come true to have learners retrieve material at any moment. Although this is possible with the use of a computer in any e-learning setup, the ability to be free from grounded infrastructures and to engage in nomadic learning is an added advantage. This is particularly true when fieldwork is required (Sato, Ohshika, & Ikeda, 2004) or even in specific domains such as medical studies where learners are mobile (Holzinger et al., 2005).

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