Toward a Framework and Learning Methodology for Innovative Mobile Learning: A Theoretical Approach

Toward a Framework and Learning Methodology for Innovative Mobile Learning: A Theoretical Approach

Ebba Ossiannilsson (The Swedish Association for Distance Education, Sweden  & The Swedish Association for E-Competence, Sweden) and Nicolas Ioannides (University of Nicosia, Cyprus)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2953-8.ch014


The purpose of this chapter is to identify, analyze, and present multiple learning methodologies and frameworks that are available to academics today. The chapter begins with the presentation and analysis of a range of learning methodologies, such as mobile learning, micro learning, personal learning, challenge-based learning, collaborative learning, and ubiquitous learning. In addition, the purpose of higher educational institutions and the use of emerging technologies are discussed. Based on the findings, a theoretical framework and learning methodology for innovative mobile learning are proposed to meet the challenges of enhancing and cultivating innovative mobile learning in the 21st century. Finally, suggestions are provided regarding the role of academics and how mobile technology could be incorporated into the overall learning experience.
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Because of the rapid advancements in the economy, technology, and society that occurred during the last century, the 21st century demands on the educational system increased exponentially in several ways. Critical thinking, collaboration, innovation, information and communication technologies (ICT), digital literacy, and adaptiveness are some of the basic skills required by students and citizens today and in the future. The need for these skills extends beyond enhancing the learning experience; they are essential in the labor market and, increasingly, in everyday life (European Commission, 2013, p. 31). In other words, today’s educators are being asked to equip students with the skills and attributes necessary to address problems, challenges, and opportunities that we know little about because technology and digitization are continuously transforming our lives at an unprecedented rate.

Both Johnsen et al. (2016) and Sharpels et al. (2016) argued that with the emergence of innovations and technologies, the obvious question that academics and education policy makers must answer concerns which ones to adopt, based on what rationale, and based on what benefits for learners. Because students learn in diverse ways, the environment needs to facilitate each learner’s needs; hence, design for learning is crucial (Conole, 2012; Laurillard, 2012). For academics to cultivate learning in an educational environment, whether conventional or virtual, the priority should be to comprehend fully the meaning of learning, the context in which it takes place, and the parameters that may affect it.

The process of learning has been a major subject of psychological research from the inception of the discipline. Researchers and professionals have attempted to categorize, describe, and conceptualize this process. Learning, as described by Gross (2012, p. 235):

is the act of acquiring new, or modifying and reinforcing existing knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences, which may lead to potential changes in synthesizing information, depth of knowledge, attitude, or behavior relative to the type and range of experience.

Although traditional research on learning was focused on mainly early childhood and adolescence, scientists now acknowledge that learning is a lifelong, lifewide, and daily process. Lifelong learning was underscored by UNESCO as one of the most important keys to reaching the educational goals of 2030, which include education for all and sustainability (2015a, 2015b). Accordingly, the current technological, economic, and social changes have triggered the need for new concepts and strategies to support lifelong learning (Buchem & Hammelman, 2010). Education, including work-based learning, must be transformed. This transformation, however, requires renewed and innovative ways of relating appropriately to the ways in which we live, work, and learn today.

The purpose of this chapter is to propose a framework and learning methodology for innovative, challenged based, personal mobile learning through incorporating elements from a variety of existing methodologies by taking into account the changing landscape of higher education. Following a short introduction, the methodology used for the data collection is explained. An outline of the changing landscape of higher education is followed by a section on mobile learning, micro learning, and emerging innovative technologies. Throughout the chapter, the methodologies and frameworks analyzed are self-determined learning, personal and collaborative learning, challenge-based learning, ubiquitous learning, authentic learning in the social context, and cross-action learning spaces. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the proposed framework and recommendations for its implementation.  

Key Terms in this Chapter

Social Networking: Social networking refers to a social structure that is made up of individuals or organizations that often have similar interests.

Cross-Action Learning Spaces: By using social media, learners and academics can collaborate with peers, colleagues, and networks outside the traditionally defined group or class. In cross-action spaces, professional expertise can be brought into the classroom. Jahnke stated that cross-action learning spaces bring the world into the class to enrich learning possibilities.

Challenge-Based Learning: Challenge-based learning (CBL) is a learning methodology in which learners are presented with a real-life problem or issue and then are asked to examine, research, and identify its main components. In a collaborative setting, through discussions, the exchange of ideas and research, learners develop a set of questions that have to be answered in order to solve the problem or issue.

Personal Learning: In personal learning, the role of the educational system is to support learning ( Downes, 2016 ). Decisions about what to learn, how to learn, and where to learn are made outside the educational system by individual learners.

Quality in Mobile Learning: The traditional features of quality in mobile learning are course design, learning design, media design and content. Recent features of quality include security, accessibility, interactivity, flexibility, personalization, the devices and its interfaces, and so on.

Mobile Learning: Mobile learning (M-learning) is an approach to electronic learning (e-learning), which utilizes mobile devices. It can be described as another channel for delivering content.

Emerging Innovative Technologies: This term used to describe the latest available technological developments and tools. Innovative technologies focuson various tools that can be incorporated in course curricula and used to enhancing the learning experience.

Unbundling: This term refers the to ubiquity of mobile devices, Internet connectivity, consumer web technologies, social media, and information access in the 21st century and how it affects traditional institutions (education, broadcasting, newspapers, games, shopping, etc.) by ”break[ing] up the packages they once offered (possibly even for free), providing particular parts of them at a scale and cost unmatchable by the old order.

Micro Learning: Micro learning is a learning strategy that is easily accessible via mobile devices to provide just-in-time performance support. This support involves bite-sized learning nuggets (i.e., small and focused segments) that are designed to meet a specific learning outcome. The learning content is segmentalized to reduce the learner’s cognitive overload, making it easy for them to absorb and recall.

Heutoagogy: The term refers to self-determined learning in which the is be at the center of his or her own learning. Hence, learning should not be teacher- or curriculum-centric, but learner-centric.

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