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IT Assignment Sample- Role of Mobile Technology in Enhancing Learning

1.1 Introduction

The use of mobile phones has rapidly increased in the past few decades, especially with the decrease in their prices ensuring its easy availability. With its rising demand, there has been a rapid advancement in mobile technology in the past 20 years. Some of the technological developments include MMS, internet access, touch screens, handheld computers, wireless communications like infrared and bluetooth. In addition, information and record keeping and storage applications (like Microsoft office) have also been incorporated in the phones. With these developments, mobile use has proven to be a value addition tool in learning and education. According to researchers, the use of mobile devices supports teaching and science learning as it offers mobility and innovativeness which, in turn, helps in increasing the motivational level of students with distinct and engaging activities as opposed to conventional teaching methods and classroom activities. (Uzunbolylu & Ozdamli, 2011).

The term “mobile learning” has a wide range of definitions and conceptualizations. Mobile learning is a kind of learning that happens by using mobile technology without any time or geographic constraint. Mobility, connectivity and information accessibility at all times are the key features of m-learning, providing a flexible learning environment. (Yi et al, 2009; Laurillard & Pachler, 2007).

According to O’ Malley et al. (2003), taking advantage of the learning opportunity provided by mobile technology resulting in any sort of learning is referred to as Mobile learning. Different viewpoints about mobile learning generally pertain to its technological aspect, considering the portability of devices and accessibility to information from virtually everywhere (Winters, 2006; Taylor, 2006). The literature explains these varied outlooks toward mobile learning but it is distinct in its focus on learning with no singly accepted implication or perspective (Sharples, 2006; Traxler, 2009). The most dubious viewpoint about mobile learning pertains to technology because of the continuous advancement and growth of mobile technology (Traxler, 2009).

Educational experience has been redefined with a constant increase in the use of mobile and wireless technology. Wireless networks and mobile communications coupled with personal computing devices present new means for science students to access information, research innovatively and communicate anytime and anywhere. There are certain shortcomings associated with m-learning which can distract students, for example, the battery life or screen size of device, a storage capacity and processing power limitation, but these shortcomings are negligible as compared to the advantages allied with e-learning and m-learning, expanding the boundaries of scientific education experience. However, the educational goal of using mobile learning in science is not to incorporate technology for technology’s sake but to create a meaningful learning experience for students. Different mobile learning systems are introduced for this purpose. These learning systems may vary from one subject to another and may implement alternate applications accordingly.

Various theories and research work on mobile learning helps in furnishing the key attributes and traits of mobile learning and illustrate its true meaning (Sharples et al., 2005-2006, Arnedillo-Scanchez et al., 2007, Jones et al., 2006). However, according to Traxler (2009), there is a need to spotlight the advantages associated with the use of mobile technology in education rather than focusing on the definition of mobile learning itself. Implementing the mobile learning in the higher education demands the addressing of different factors including cultural, social and organizational factors. The institutional issues are still to be discussed due to the fact that mobile learning is in its early phase of development and thus an immature field at present.

Quinn (2000) in his research describes that the concept of mobile learning is basically derived from mobile computing and e-learning. For this reason, the mobile learning is constantly focused so that it can be better leveraged for education and training. Different technologies have been derived that support mobile learning which include data protection, online communication and data transfer. The aim of this research is, therefore, to identify the value added by mobile technology in the field of education and further, to narrow down how it can be specifically beneficial for science students in higher education.

1.2 Definition of the Key Terms                               

Distance Learning: Distance learning is a name of new paradigm in the field of education which uses internet as the primary source of communication. The learning is computer based without the restriction of location of the learner. In this mode of learning, audio and video conferencing is utilized in order to have communication between the teacher and students. This concept is particularly useful in the developing countries, provided that the country has proper technology infrastructure in terms of  the internet and also easy availability of personal computers.

Distance learning can also be regarded as a process that connects the distributed learning resources with the learners (Schlosser and Simonson, 2009). The characteristic feature of this learning mode is the separation in location of the learner and the instructor or the learning resources. Besides computer and internet, paper media and print based programs are also a part of distance learning (Mantyla and Gividen, 1997). The use of distance education is very much evident, especially in order to increase global competitiveness and to remain cost effective from the learner’s perspective.

E-learning: E-learning or electronic learning is regarded as a combination of distance education and traditional learning. In this learning format, personal computer acts as a communicating tool and the discussion between the teacher and the student is interactive.  The environment of e-learning is multimedia based and media rich in nature. When compared to mobile learning, it is a more formal mode of learning. The e-learning can be classroom based with all students having the facility of computer and connectivity (Korucu and Alkan, 2011). It can also be converted into distance education which may result in reduced number of features and options.

Mobile Learning: O’Malley et al (2003) defined mobile learning as that learning routine when the learner is not a fixed and pre-determined location, using different mobile technologies. Kukulska-Hulme (2005) interprets mobile learning by associating it with the mobility of learner in a way that learners can have their educational activities without being tied to the requirement of the same physical location. Thus, with the help of wireless technology, the learners can communicate with one another in the educational perspective and can share their data via mobile devices.

Keegan (2001) defined mobile learning as a mode of learning which uses PDA’s, mobile phones and Pocket PC’s. Mobile learning has combined the features of e-learning with the mobile informatics, revealing a new notion of distance learning. The basic advantage of mobile learning over e-learning is the more easy approach of learners to the mobile devices making this mode of education more uniform and easy to access. Apart from this, students in mobile learning can demand information and data regardless of environment and time constraints.

1.3 Problem Statement:

The research available on mobile learning is mostly related to the best practices for the development of mobile learning. This was helpful; however, this helps in a limited case for having the direction of future research. More research is still needed in comparing the effectiveness of the mobile devices for education purposes with the education system without any mobile device. Also, a very little amount of research has been carried out to study the challenges related with the adoption of mobile learning. Therefore, this research highlights those challenges and suggests an education model which could be adopted for the successful implementation of mobile learning.

1.4 Research Questions:

This research seeks to answer the following research questions:

  1. What are the benefits of integrating mobile technology learning into the teaching of computer science in universities?
  2. What are the barriers to successful integration of mobile learning into the teaching of computer science in universities?
  3. What are the tools and strategies needed to induct the mobile technology in the educational system of a University?

1.5 Aim of the Research:

Following are the aims of this research:

  1. To explore the importance of mobile learning in the teaching of computer science in universities
  2. To understand the challenges and obstacles in the way of successful implementation of mobile learning in universities
  3. To evaluate strategies for the successful integration of mobile learning into university education

2.1 Current State of Mobile Learning

The term “mobile learning” refers to a learning process with portable technologies including handheld computers, note books, tablets and mobile phones generally operating on similar features and characteristics. Although handheld computer technology is not fully developed as of today, however, there has been a constant growth with respect to technological development and its key principals and functionality. The emphasis is on the “mobility” of learner, and learning that focalize on how society and its institutions can cover and work for an increasingly mobile population with these portable technologies (Brown and Green 2001; Katz and Aakhus 2002; Hewson et al 2003). M-Learning supports the learning process by providing an interactive and collaborative learning environment for both the learner and instructor, and hence functions as a value added mentoring tool for all parties involved by fostering communication (O’Malley and Stanton 2003; Perry 2003; Pinkwart et al 2003). M-Learning is contributing in almost every field of life such as medicine, education, music, all sorts of training, outdoor learning, and so on, and it is now considered as an efficient and improved approach to improve learning process at institutional level  (Gayeski 2002; Lundin and Magnusson 2003; Pasanen 2003; Seppala and Alamaki 2003, Polishook 2005; Sariola 2003). In 2000s, specializations in this field started taking place with a greater pace and redefined how information can be received and shared. Handheld learning and education was specifically being focused on and the first mobile learning handbook was published (Kukulska and Traxler 2005).

A number of studies and research work has been done on “mobile distance learning” as it is still considered a little less viable (JISC 005; Kukulska and Traxler 2005;). According to Kukulska and Traxler, following are some of the forms of mobile learning:

  • Technology driven mobile learning: In an academic set up, technologies such as E-books, personal development assistants, handheld voting systems, GPRS and WiFi are utilized for enhanced and upgraded learning.
  • Portable E-learning: Although one of the technical challenges associated with mobile phones, tablets or handheld computers is the screen and key size, connectivity and battery life; the most significant and distinctive feature of m-learning is the portability of devices and the use of technological advancements offered by the traditional e-learning through these devices rather than being limited to a certain location.
  • Connected classroom learning: Students can use these portable technologies for enhanced group collaboration, brain storming and information sharing among themselves and the instructors, ultimately leading to better results.
  • Informal, Situated and Personalized mobile learning: Since there is no time or geographic constraint, mobile learning provides just in time learning opportunity i.e., as and when required by the learner, independent of others such as searching on a google map for a particular location on your handheld device.
  • Mobile training Support: For mobile workers, such as sale representatives, facts and information is accessible at all times which, in turn, leads to better end results and elevated performance levels (Gayeski, 2002).
  • Remote mobile learning: M-learning contributes to the overall economical and environmental infrastructure of the country as it supports the field of education with no demographic boundary as opposed to traditional e-learning technology.
  • Except connected classroom learning: Mobile distance learning can be a part of any of the above mentioned categories depending on the cost barriers, affordances and quality of environment, such as:
    • Framework i.e., connectivity, power supply to support battery life etc.
    • Inadequacy of any factor resulting in face to face contact from time to time such as any technical shortcoming.
    • The learning agenda, for example, self learning or lifelong learning
    • The affordances of mechanisms supporting mobile distance learning such a blended learning infrastructure.

2.1.1 Development of Mobile Technologies


2.2 Basic Elements of Mobile Learning

According to Ozdmali and Cavus (2011), there are five basic elements of mobile learning which are discussed as below:

Figure1: Basic Elements of Mobile Learning

Learners: The learner is an integral part of mobile learning and plays fundamental role in the learning process. All other elements function together to render service to one major element i.e., the learner. The role of learner is to:

  • Take initiative and direct own learning activities
  • Access information as and when required
  • Determine the learning speed and manner (reading, graphics, video, animation etc..) that best suits them
  • Be innovative, stay connected to associates, share info and study collectively
  • Appraise themselves

Teacher: With technological developments and introduction of information storage support systems in the field of education, the role of teacher has taken a new magnitude as teacher act as a medium to convey information to the students (Halis, 2001).

According to Ghaln (2011), a teacher’s responsibility, now, is more of a “consultant” with the advent of mobile technology, whose job is to identify the goals and interests of students and guiding them with the prospects to reach those learning goals. This role was initially referred to as “expert” whom later on, changed to that of a “presenter” and “moderator” with the introduction of television and social networks, respectively. In mobile learning, the teacher must:

  • Be equipped with the qualification required to make effective use of up to date technologies.
  • Act as counselor and demonstrate effective methods to reach desired learning objectives.
  • Use mobile learning according to the group of students involved.
  • Utilize mobile technology as part of a learning approach which uses different types of activities.
  • Establish projects and activities to reinforce communication in associates
  • Evaluate the performances

Content: Content is the information and material that the students are expected to learn. In order to reach the aspired result, the content of the study must be finalized after taking consent of all the stakeholders and subsequently, it may fluctuate in accordance with the pedagogical needs of students. Mobile learning allows presenting the content in innovative ways with the use of graphics, videos, games, multimedia presentations etc.

Environment: Environment basically refers to the area or place where students can have access to the information. It can be either online or face to face. Internet, wifi and social networks provide opportunity to the students to learn, research online and interact with one another and with the instructor. Mobile learning provides direct interaction with the learning (Siragusa et al., 2007). Since m-learning has no time and geographic boundaries, students can interact with anyone at anytime for obtaining any desired information leading to a cooperative learning environment (Uzunboylu and Ozdamli, 2011).

Assessment: Performance evaluation is one of the key components of m-learning. Mobile technology offers a number of ways to evaluate and assess end results such as online exams, chat rooms, online quizzes, discussion board etc. These advanced means not only assist in measuring the skills and knowledge level of learners precisely but also provide opportunity to the learners to assess themselves. This feedback to the learners gives them with the guidance and support to overcome their shortcomings as well as with the clarification on the courses without a feeling of discouragement (Sharples et al., 2005; Behera, 2011).

2.3 Basic Characteristics of M-Learning

Ozdmali and Cavus (2011) further discussed the core characteristics of m-learning which are described as below:

  • Ubiquitous/Spontaneous: The portability of mobile devices makes mobiles learning spontaneous. Mobile learning can be accessed anywhere, at any time; and at the exact moment when learning is required. It has redefined the education experience which has no time or location restraint. It is the most spontaneous and on-the-spot learning type.
  • Portable size: Mobile learning can happen while travelling or waiting for a meeting to start, everywhere. The size of mobile learning tools is small filled with tailored learning contents.
  • Blended: In the blended learning approach, mobile learning can be utilized as part of a learning approach which uses different types of activities. It combines the advantages associated with the traditional learning techniques and m-learning approach and thus, enhances the productivity. (Uzunboylu, Cavus & Ercag, 2009; Ocak, 2010; Bonk and Graham, 2006).
  • Private: Each learner independently accesses required information having no connection with other learners unless he desires to do so, hence, privacy and individuality of every learner is maintained. (Chidi, 2001; Zhang, 2003; BenMoussa, 2003).
  • Interactive: Interactive learning environment adds to the effectiveness of m-learning. As discussed earlier, students can not only interact with the instructor and peers but the always available nature of mobile learning empowers the learners to initiate their own learning activities. (Sharples et al., 2005; Cavus & Uzunboylu, 2009).
  • Collaborative: Since mobile technologies provide an interactive learning environment, students and teachers can utilize collaborative learning techniques which may maximize the learning opportunity. (Virvou and Alepis, 2005; Uzunboylu, Cavus and Ercag, 2009;).
  • Instant information: Real time and immediate accessibility to information is the paramount characteristic of using mobile technology. It enables “just in time” learning i.e., learning at the point of need. (Cavus and Ibrahim, 2009; Eteokleous and Ktoridou, 2009; Cohen, 2010).

2.4 Affordances of Mobile Learning:

The fact that mobile devices are small and can be carried anywhere, makes the mobile learning a ubiquitous process and science students can have their learning process from virtually anywhere in the world (Naismith et al, 2004). Some primary features that a mobile learner has e-books, worksheets, videos, playback and imaging. These features allow the student to have access to the university data in the real time and at any time of their semester.

A Representation Tool:  By using various media sources, a mobile device can act as an effective data gathering tool. The learning process can be made user determined in terms of information gathering. The process of drawing in science subjects can be replaced by taking the pictures using high definition mobile cameras, though the merits and advantage of handmade drawing has their own place in learning process (Lai et al, 2008). This can provide the students with more speedy learning process.

Communication Tool: The students can broadcast their ideas among a group of certain people freely and without the need to gather the required people (Evagorou, Avraamidou, and Vrasidas, 2008). All the participants can access that specific information in an easy and more convenient way.

For Developing Countries: The use of mobile education for developing countries is significant. In some of these countries, it is not always possible for the students to attend a class of their interest, probably due to the lack of resources and funding.  So it is always better to have something than nothing and thus mobile learning can provide limited learning dimensions to those students (Motlik, 2008).

Keeping in view the above mentioned affordances of mobile learning; the researchers (Moore, 2008), advocating the distance learning, mention that the research is still lacking with the persuasive arguments regarding the advantages of mobile learning. However, there are some definite and well documented uses of mobile device in scientific education which may be checked again with previous results.

2.5 Constraints and Challenges of Mobile Learning

The constraints and challenges of mobile learning are somewhat similar to distance learning including lack of proper meetings between student and teacher, arising of technical issues and isolation problems (Fozdar and Kumar, 2007). However to be specific, the mobile learning offer following constraints:

Size of the Mobile Size: Although the reduced device size in mobile learning makes it a highly portable option, however, this also poses a lot of challenges for students especially for science students when it come to small screen size, tedious text input and unreliable battery timing (Ryu and Parsons, 2009). Today in the market the size of mobile devices can be found in virtually any size, still it is not comparable with the smallest of the laptops. Internet is also designed for proper screen devices and its use in mobiles is still limited in nature.

Connectivity Issue: The mobile learning for engineering and science subjects require a dedicated server as indicated by researchers (Trifonova and Ronchetti, 2003). This ensures the connectivity between the science student and the teacher without any disconnection issue. However in mobile devices, this separate node cannot be ensured and hence the problems of connectivity can arise.

Inconsistent Platforms: In a university, students may use different set of mobile devices resulting in high set of features in each device. There is inconsistency in platforms when it comes to the interconnection of different mobile devices, hindering the mobile learning applications (Churchill and Hedberg, 2008). There is a need to have a common denominator in the form of common mobile application platform, instead of having all the latest features on the mobile device.

Multi-Tasking in Mobile Learning: Keeping other additional tasks while having mobile learning is a significant challenge in this regard and can lower down the results of students who perform additional tasks like walking, sitting with guests while having mobile classes. As per research from Virginia Tech (Dolittle et al, 2009), student who sat on the desk and have the mobile learning, performs significantly well when compared to student who walked with a mobile device.

2.6 Dual Coding Theory

Dual Coding Theory is one of the recent theories to explain the different forms of mobile learning. This theory, proposed by Allan Paivio (1986), is the first theory of cognition which attempts to give equal consideration to verbal and non verbal processing. The theory signifies that there are two different cognitive subsystems, one specialized for the interpretation and processing of non verbal objects/events i.e., visual imagery and the other specialized for dealing with verbal associations, language and audio. The two subsystems have different functions and a task may require either one or a combination of both. The interrelations and connections of these two systems allow the dual coding of information. In a human mind, this verbal and visual information in processed and organized for further use, storage or retrieval (Paivio, 1986). Dual coding increases the probability of memorizing, recalling and potentially improved learning as compared to singly coded information (For example, a presentation with the help of multimedia images and graphics).

The existence of dual coding is evident in mLearning. However, some of the learners can get addicted to dual coded learning with the use of visuals. Also, sometimes it can be difficult for the humans to simultaneously attend to audio and visuals. Therefore, the usage of dual coding must be in line with the content or subject under discussion, depending on whether the particular content is better transmitted and understandable with the use of visuals and images or through audio presentation or a combination of both.

The fundamental elements of a learning design should be formulated in accordance with the propositions of theory (Chandler & Sweller, 1991) named “Cognitive Load theory”. This theory illustrates that intricate learning activities might under load or overload the amount of working memory possessed by the learner. The learning instructions should, therefore be redesigned for reduction in the inappropriate cognitive load and maximizing efficacy and performance by keeping into consideration the optimum collaborations of verbal and visual items. Environmental circumstances such as connections, mobility of students, noise etc. can also have a considerable impact on M-Learning. A case study was conducted by Teng et al (2009), which highlighted that majority of the participants of the study, gave priority to the YouTube videos presented in the classrooms and regarded it as more fascinating and interesting. The research also elaborated the enhanced motivational and learning impact of these videos on the students. In addition, the students rated “text-only” vidoes as boring and dreary, although informative as opposed to videos having combination of text, audio video pictorials. However, the construction of video must be decided according to the factors like content, learner requirements, and the like (Tenq et al., 2009).

3.1: Research and Analysis

There is far more research being conducted in the field of Mobile learning currently than ever before. According to the educational experts, mobile learning can offer better and convenient access to the knowledge and information. They also believe that it can minimize the load or stress of seeking knowledge for the students and it will become easier for people to interact with other people who are focused on the similar topic.

Similarly, the wireless mobile devices and technology is considered to deal with the growing amount of information and make learning a better experience. To illustrate it further, let’s take an example of a student who wants to learn the science courses. There are thousands of websites and other resources on the internet containing audio/video tutorials, e-Books, and the like. Of course, all of them are not equally reliable, but the internet does offer an adequate amount of information for the knowledge seekers.

Similarly, when a person has a mobile device, he can take help from a number of multimedia tutorials, web portals or even message a friend or call an expert for help. A person can use any of these methods to get access to information. But, the big question is, how can a science make full use of this mobile technology? How can we implement the mobile learning environment in formal or informal education systems? And how can the specialist develop programs and materials that can be accessed by all the mobile devices without the compatibility issues? In this report, the Framework for the Rational Analysis of Mobile Education (FRAME) looks into these issues.

One thing that makes the FRAME model different from others is that it gives equal importance to not only the characteristics, features and abilities of the mobile devices, but also to the personal and social aspect of the learning (Koole 2006). In other words, it could be said that the FRAME model is very similar to the concepts of Activity Theory (Kapetelinin & Nardi 2006) especially pertaining to Vygotskyís (1978) work that was carried out for the proximal development and mediation. However, there is more than just the art of ìcultural-historicî that the FRAME model focuses on. This model emphasizes the fact that the mobile devices are an important part of the equal footing to learning.  Similarly, it focuses more on the on the constructivism side of the technology: according to this belief, technology is considered to be constructed rather than discovered (Smith & Ragan 1999, 15). This model further explains a learning environment that is not restricted by the physical barriers. Thus, a person can learn or exchange information via real-time interaction with the help of different physical and virtual locations. So, the person can access the information and knowledge at any time and at any place without being bounded to his location.

3.2 The FRAME Model

According to this model, the mobile learning already exists in the sense of the context of information. With the help of this learning environment, the individuals can get or create information alone or with the help of interacting with a group of people. Furthermore, the information moves around from one place to the other with the help of advanced technology.  With the help of such mobile technologies, the information that is interacted can become more useful and meaningful.  When we talk in the context of the information, the FRAME model can be represented visually with the help of a Venn diagram in which three aspects intersect.

In the above diagram, the social aspect is denoted by “S”, a device by “D” and learner by “L”. Meanwhile, the two overlapping circles have the two attributes belonging to each of the aspects. If we look for further explanation, it can be easily spotted that the mobile technology affording factor is denoted by the intersection of the social technology “DS” and the device usability “DL” (Norman, 1999).  The learning and the instructional theories related to the social constructivism fall around the interaction learning (LS) intersections. Meanwhile, all of the aspects are shown to be intersecting at the primary intersection point (DLS) at the center spot. So, to express it in words, for creating the ideal situation and environment for the concept of mobile learning, the point where all the three aspects converge is the ideal situation. If the experts study and analyze the areas of FRAME model that are best utilized in a mobile learning situation, they can come up with a more effective design and structure.

3.3: Aspects

Device Aspect (D)

The symbol “D” denotes the technical, functional and the physical features and characteristics of the mobile devices (Table 3.1). Generally, the input and the output abilities along with the speed of the processor, compatibility and the storage capacities are considered as the physical characteristics. All of these characteristics are basically formed as a result of the developed software and hardware that makes an equally psychological and physical impact on the mind of a user. To study the future of the mobile learning environment, it is a must to study and learn these crucial characteristics. Also, the level and interface via which the learning task (S) and the mobile learner interact are denoted by the device usability intersection (DL).

CriteriaExamples & ConceptsComments
Physical CharacteristicsThe composition, size, weight, left/right handed requirements, one or two-hand option.It generally affects that how a user handles his mobile device when he is using it on the move
Input CapabilitiesMouse, pen/stylus, joystick, trackball, touch screen, keyboard, foot/hand control, and a voice recognition systemIt allows a user the ability to select or position the objects or the information or any kind of data on the device. Generally, the critics criticize the mobile devices for inefficient input capabilities.
Output CapabilitiesTactile output mechanisms, Monitors, speakers or any kind of other visual auditoryIt lets the human being feel or sense the changes that take place in a device, also it allows to interact with the device, most critics criticize the limitation of the output because of low resolution or small size screens,
sense changes in the device;
allows the user to interact
File Storage and RetrievalStorage on RAM/ROM device or portable or detachable mechanism like flash drives, CDs, DVDs or SD Cards.It offers the consistency and a universal storage and retrieval method for greater usability.
Processor SpeedThe rate at which the device responds to the input given by a device operatorDetermined by the user interface speed, system configuration and the amount of RAM,
The delay in the response can  cause some errors because the user can simply forget his primary goals as a result of the delay
Error RatesMalfunction or out of order device as a result of trouble or flaws in software, hardware or the interface design of a deviceIt can restrict the user perform any or all their desired tasks and as a result, the user may lose the interest and confidence in using a particular device


Table 3.1: The Device Aspect

It is well-understood that the bridge between the human being and the technology must be strong enough to survive. So, all the devices that are developed or designed must focus on keeping a very high psychological and physical level of comfort for the operator.  Or, we can say, for better understanding, the characteristics of a device make a huge impact on its usability. So, if a portable mobile device has to be inducted in everyone’s life, it has to be portable in its size, weight, composition and structure to match the physical and mental abilities of the individuals.  More importantly, the device should possess all the features and characteristics that suit the human perception and the motor functionalities. On the other hand, the mobile devices should be equipped with the good enough storage and speed resources like high speed processors, RAM, file storage, file exchange and everything has to be superfast and error free to meet the requirements and the needs of the users. In the same manner, the user having a mobile device should be able to focus and emphasize on the cognitive tasks denoted by Learner aspect “L” instead of the device.

Learner Aspect (L)

The learner aspect “L” is all about the cognitive memory, abilities, emotions, possible motivation and the prior knowledge of an individual (Table 3.2).  This part generally tells the individuals more about their prior knowledge and how to use it to store, encode or transfer information. Thus, this aspect also concentrates on the different theories regarding the learning by discovery and knowledge transfer concepts.

CriteriaExamples & ConceptsComments
Prior knowledgeCognitive structures already in anchoring ideas, memory, schema theory and Gagne’s conditions for learning.It affects the ability of a learner to grab the new concepts. Some of the familiar problems may include but not limited to “assimilation bias”( reluctant to try out or grab new procedures).
MemoryTechniques that include the encoding along with the contextual cues: mnemonics, self-questioning, categorization and episodic memory, tactile, olfactory, auditory, imagery, encoding specify city.If the multimedia are included in the learning environment and provided the variety of stimuli, it helps learners to a great deal for retaining the concepts easily.
cues: categorization, mnemonics,
self-questioning, semantic &
episodic memory, tactile, audi-
tory, olfactory, visual imagery,
kinaesthetic imagery, dual
coding, and encoding
ContextActive vs. Inert knowledge.Actively using information aids
and Transferfor learners to understand,
,transfer concepts to
varied contexts and memorize or remember.
Discovery LearningApplication of concepts and proceduresIt may stimulate the learner in order to develop the skills to “choose, recognize and filter” the most relevant information in a variety of situations.
EmotionsThe feelings or the emotions of the learner for any particular task: the reasons or accomplishment of a task.There can be an effect of the desire or the emotional state of a learner to adopt or get new information. On the other hand, the Activity theory can further analyze the additional avenues of motivation.
and Motivations

Table 3.2: Learner Aspect


It has been recognized that the past experience and the prior knowledge (Ausubel 1968) definitely make a huge influence on the learning. Similarly, it influences the task authenticity, presentation of content in different formats and the environment. According to the Tulving & Donaklson (1972), the semantic memory is made of the non-contextually and general based concepts. However, the Mobile learning can help the learners to a great deal in using episodic memory. But, most of the times, the memory is grounded in actuality, the authenticity of the experiences like visiting a museum, visiting historic places, visiting foreign countries or different case studies in the professional settings.

When the concepts are used, it makes them active and so is the case with the learner remembering the concept. Remembering the use of the concept is very important. Nevertheless, the theorists and experts believed that the material for the learners should be in a variety of formats as described in the Theory of Dual Coding ñ that the brain should be allowed to process different content and knowledge via a variety of different channels (Paivio 1979).

According to the belief of Learner aspect “L”, the factors like intellectual capacity, motivation, prior knowledge and emotional state can make a very noticeable impact on the retaining, encoding or transferring of the information. Also, the actively designing or selecting learning activities of the authentic situations and the learners should be encouraged to discover the laws themselves with the help of different cultural and physical environments are very powerful techniques. As a bottom line, the mobile learning can help in enhancing the procedure of recall, transfer of information and encoding by exposing the learners to different channels and formats of the content and information.

Social Aspect (S)

The social interaction and co-operation are considered the important parts of the social aspect (Table 3.3). All the individuals must act upon the rules of the co-operation when communicating. As a result, the individuals can acquire knowledge and information, exchange the information and sustain the cultural aspects as well. Whereas, the rules of the cooperation totally depend on the social culture of the learner or the culture where the interaction takes place.  Since we are referring to mobile devices, this culture can be physical or even virtual.

CriteriaExamples & ConceptsComments
Conversation andSocial constraints; 4 maximsIt directly affects the quantity and the quality of communication. As a result, there are higher chances of mis-communications when the set level of 4 maxims is not met.
Cooperation(rules): quality, quantity
Social InteractionCooperative activity as in Conversations, sharing symbols & signsAgreeing on the symbols or the signs may make an impact on social and cultural beliefs and behaviors.

Table 3.3: The Social Aspect

It should not be forgotten that the conversation may or may not include constraints upon participants. However, these constraints can be really helpful for predicting or guiding the behavior of the individuals that makes an effective communication possible. So, when a new individual joins a new society or community, he must learn the new signs of the community and share his own (Driscoll, 1994). In order for the best cooperate environment, there must be accurate, relevant and sufficient information. Otherwise, if a participant is not able to follow the rules & regulations properly, there will be higher chances of miss-communication taking place (Wardhaugh, 1986). Similarly, in some cases, it may be possible that the participant may try to break the rules and regulations about the etiquette and procedures on purpose to get certain type of effects (Preece, Rogers, & Sharp, 2002).  Generally, people receive feedback with the help of interaction that reinforces cultural and social behaviors and beliefs (Kearsley, 1995).

3.4: Intersections

Device Usability Intersection (DL)


According to the diagram, the device usability intersection “DL” has the elements of the learner “L” and the device “D” aspects (Table 3.4). In this section of the diagram, there is a relation showed between the cognitive tasks related to the storage or manipulation of information with the characteristics of mobile devices. These processes can highly affect the psychological satisfaction or comfort level of an individual with the ability to access information, cognitive load, or move to different virtual or physical locations.

CriteriaExamples & ConceptsComments
Portability Portability along with the durability ( However, it is dependent on the components, materials and physical characteristic used to develop a device.)It affects the ability of a user to roam around with a device in different climates or environments.
InformationEasy accessibility to information on a device at any time or at any place (A characteristic of social technology “DS”)It enables an individual for getting just-in-time learning experience : information accompanies the user and he can retrieve the stored information on the device
PsychologicalComprehensibility, memorability, learnability, transparency & metaphors.It affects the load of cognitive and the speed and efficiency of performing tasks. Metaphors, mnemonics, simplification of displays, reduction of required actions may also affect the load of cognitive to a great deal.
SatisfactionThe physical appearance of the device, preferred cognitive style, aesthetics of the interface.It is very difficult to predict or speculate the environment and satisfaction of any individual because it’s determined by the individual’s culture and personal flavor.

Table 3.4: Device Usability Interaction

In the concept of mobile usability, portability and access to the information are one of the primary aspects. The portability of the device is dependent on the characteristics like the weight and size, peripherals and the materials that are used in manufacturing a device. On the other hand, the devices that are highly portable need to be good enough to resist dust, shock and humidity. The ability to access information complements the aspect of portability and it revolutionizes the concept of accessing information. It makes it possible to move the information to the user rather than the user moving towards the information.
In the past, the individuals were required to learn the information about using it if needed in the future. But now, it has become possible to store, transfer or access information at any time and at any place thus making the concept of just-in-time learning very much true.

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