Supporting Distance Users of Mobile Learning Technology

Supporting Distance Users of Mobile Learning Technology

Yong Liu (Åbo Akademi University, Finland) and Hongxiu Li (Turku University, Finland)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-613-8.ch017
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With the rapid deployment of mobile devices, mobile learning emerges as a promising approach giving rise to a wide spectrum of new education possibilities. It serves as an effective conduit to deliver education to civilians of all social-economic levels, in particular the learners previously unreachable from traditional education systems, such as problem teenagers, social employees, and ageing people. Hence, unlike traditional education approaches, it is considered to be a good alternative to deal with the challenges posed by demographic shifts and social transformation. The purpose of this chapter is to: (i) identify the theoretical and technological underpinnings for delivering mobile learning to the distance learner, and (ii) discuss the possible learner communities that can benefit from mobile learning technology, with regard to their unique learning requirements and features.
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Enabling Mobile Learning In Social Contexts

Knowledge has an inherent nature to mobilize in concert with people’s increasingly mobile lifestyle. Research indicates that learning activities happen frequently in daily lives. It can take place as long as people hope to start and adapt their activities to enable educational behavior and outcomes. Vavoula (2005) conducted a study on everyday adult learning episodes in which 161 learning episodes were reported from 15 participants in a research period of two weeks. Of the total 161 learning episodes, 51% of them took place at learners’ home or workplace, while 21%, 6%, 5% and 2% of episodes happened respectively in a workplace outside the office, at places of leisure, outdoors and in a friend’s house (Vavoula, 2005). Other locations took 14%, including places of worship, the doctor’s surgery rooms, cafes, hobby stores, and in cars. In addition to this, 48% of mobile episodes were found to be associated with work. Note that only 1% of the self-reported episodes occurred on public transport, indicating that there may be a chance to explore learning opportunities for people to utilize unproductive travelling time. These findings indicated that there are many learning episodes in daily lives where mobile learning can probably be involved and lend a helping hand.

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