THEME 3: The Impact of Mobiles on Learning

Module 3:1
Mobile Learning
Module Rationale:
The international mobile learning research community has made significant contributions to understanding and extending the relationships between technology enhanced learning and technologically enhanced societies; it is important to provide an account of the history and achievements of this community
This is perhaps a relatively minor topic but gives teachers a greater sense of context for all the other topics and a greater critical awareness when reviewing possible materials and sources for teaching; also for action research and practitioner research.
Over-looking other relevant communities such as ODL, blended learning, health education, game based learning is a risk
Mobile learning since 2000: organisations, history, journals, funding, communities, events, priorities
Evidence, Monitoring and Evaluation; models for embedding and sustainability; relationships with ministries and corporates; ethics in mobile learning research and implementation
Relationships to m4d, ICTD, mHealth, ODL, e-learning, blended learning; also to OER, cloud computing, out-sourcing, PLEs, learner devices
Regional and cultural variations, future priorities and directions
The impact of mobile learning on theories of learning; conversational framework, activity theory, actor network theory

  • GSMA (2010) mLearning: A Platform for Educational Opportunities at the Base of the Pyramid, London: GSMA, online at
  • JISC (2005) Innovative Practice with e-Learning: a good practice guide to embedding mobile and wireless technologies into everyday practice, Bristol: Joint Information Services Committee.
  • JISC (2011) Mobile Learning InfoKit, online at
  • JISC (2011) Emerging Practice in a Digital Age. Bristol: JISC
  • Kukulska-Hulme, A. & Traxler, J. (Eds) (2005). Mobile Learning: A Handbook for Educators and Trainers. London: Routledge
  • Kukulska-Hulme, A., Sharples, M., Milrad, M., Arnedillo-Sánchez, I. and Vavoula, G. (2011). The genesis and development of mobile learning in Europe. In: Parsons, David ed. Combining E-Learning and M-Learning: New Applications of Blended Educational Resources. Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference (an imprint of IGI Global), pp. 151–177
  • Pachler, N., Cook, J. & Traxler, J. (2012) Key Issues In Mobile Learning: Research And Practice, London: Continuum
  • Pachler, N., Bachmair, B. & Cook, J. (2010) Mobile learning: structures, agency, practices (New York: Springer)
  • Sharples, M. (Ed.) (2006), Big issues in mobile learning. Report of a workshop by the Kaleidoscope Network of Excellence Mobile Learning Initiative. Nottingham, United Kingdom: University of Nottingham.
  • Shuler, C. (2009) Pockets of Potential: Using Mobile Technologies to Promote Children’s Learning, New York: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop
  • Traxler, J. (2008). Learning in a mobile age, International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning, 1(1), 1-12.
  • Traxler, J. (2011) Research Essay: Mobile Learning - Starting in the Right Place, Going in the Right Direction? International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning, 3(1), pp57 – 67
  • Wingkvist, A. & Ericsson, M. (2011) A Survey of Research Methods and Purposes in Mobile Learning, International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning, 3(1), 1-17, January-March 2011

Module 3:2
Formal Learning
Module Rationale:
Learning within institutions, that is learning characterised perhaps by assessment, buildings, cohorts and time-tables, represents a major opportunity for mobile learning interventions and initiatives, and a valuable response to the rapidly evolving global environment of formal education. This can be divided into (i) extending learning, that is using mobile devices to take learning and training to individuals, communities and regions inaccessible to previous educational interventions (ii) enriching learning, that is using mobile devices to enhance and enrich, and to challenge and disrupt, existing educational ideas and practices
The number of subject-based and discipline-based mobile learning projects in formal education is considerable and continues to grow. Transferring these projects into new institutions and cultures, and into different regulatory frameworks is problematic.
Teaching and delivering mobile learning within formal educational institutions could be challenging especially in those settings where mobile learning has not become an established and systemic practice; there is a potential tension between new pedagogies, of which mobile learning is only one, and established pedagogies, with their different assumption about control, authority and agency.
Developing a critical awareness of the ecological responsibilities involved in using mobile technologies to project learning into other communities and cultures
Extending Formal Learning
Overcoming distance; infrastructural & environmental challenges; sparsity and separation; learning in disasters; reaching the homeless, and mobile and nomadic communities; supporting non-traditional students; reaching the enclosed and secluded;counselling, guidance and support;
Mobile learning in developing regions: understanding the complex and contested nature of ‘development’; the infrastructural & environmental aspects, the cultural & community aspects; accessing power languages, the global information superhighway and the corporate knowledge economy vs preserving and enhancing local and indigenous cultures.
Overcoming physiological and cognitive distance; assistivity; mobile learning with for example visual impairment, hearing loss, dyslexia, agoraphobia, mobility problems; mobile learning for all
Organising learning: using SMS, Bluetooth, location
Acceptable Use; class room standards, expectations and behaviour; liability and responsibility; disruption, weak and strong
Enhancing Formal Learning
Contingent learning, situated learning, authentic learning, context aware learning, augmented reality learning.
User generated content.
Placements, interns, trips and visits
Assessment and feedback
The connected class-room; PRS systems
Blended learning; working with VLEs, e-portfolios, OERs, podcasts, PLEs

  • Brown, E. (ed.), (2010)Education in the wild: contextual and location-based mobile learning in action, University of Nottingham: Learning Sciences Research Institute
  • Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes and Wible, David (2008). Context at the Crossroads of Language Learning and Mobile Learning. In: ICCE 2008 Workshop Proceedings, 27-31 October 2008, Taiwan.
  • Traxler, J. (2010) Students and Mobile Devices, ALT-J, Association for Learning Technology Research Journal,
  • Traxler, J. &Wishart, J. (2011) Making Mobile Learning Work: Case Studies of Practice, Bristol: ESCAlate (HEA Education Subject Centre)

Module 3:3
Informal Learning
Module Rationale:
Mobile devices are increasingly available, accessible, powerful and affordable, making them an ideal technology for learning and training, and finding out away from formal institutions, within communities, companies and across varied contexts. This can be divided into (i) extending learning, that is using mobile devices to take learning and training to individuals, communities and regions inaccessible to previous educational interventions (ii) enriching learning, that is using mobile devices to enhance and enrich, and to challenge and disrupt, existing educational ideas and practices

Extending Informal Learning
Dead-time, bite-sized learning
Enhancing Informal Learning
Contingent learning, situated learning, authentic learning
Context aware learning, augmented reality learning, user generated content
Work based learning;

  • Pachler, N., Pimmer, C. &Seipold, J. (eds) (2010) Work-based mobile learning: concepts and cases. A handbook for academics and practitioners, London: Peter Lang.
  • Katz, J, LaBar, W& Lynch, E. (2011) Creativity and Technology - Social Media, Mobiles and Museums. Edinburgh: MuseumsEtc.
  • Traxler, J. & Leach, J., (2006), Innovative and Sustainable Mobile Learning in Africa in Proceedings of WMUTE (IEEE), Athens, Greece, November, 2006
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