Mobile electronic learning, in English m-learning, is a form of learning that facilitates the construction of knowledge, the resolution of problems and the development of diverse skills and abilities in an autonomous and ubiquitous way, thanks to the mediation of portable mobile devices such as mobile phones, PDAs, tablets, Pocket PC, iPod and any device that has some form of wireless connectivity. It is e-learning (education and training through the Internet) on mobile devices.
- 1. Definition
- 2. History
- 3. Five definitions of m-learning
- 4. Characteristics and capabilities
- 5. Ubiquitous technology
- 6. Pedagogical models associated with Mobile Learning
- 7. Obstacles to mobile e-learning
- 8. Where to start a mobile learning project
- 9. Examples of mobile learning in Latin America
- 10. Other examples of application of mobile learning
- 11. Criticisms to mobile learning
- 12. Guidelines for mobile learning policies
- 13. New learning trends
- 14. M-learning and its usability
O'Malley (2003) defines mobile e-learning as "any type of learning that occurs when the student is not in a fixed and predetermined location".
UNESCO specifies that mobile learning involves the use of mobile devices with the aim of facilitating formal and informal learning at any time and place. It also defines the characteristics of these devices as «digital, portable, usually controlled by a person (and not by an institution), who is also their owner, have Internet access and multimedia capacity, and can provide a large number of tasks, especially those related to communication ».
Mobile learning is a branch of ICT in education, which requires a new conceptualization of traditional models of use and application of technologies, a reality with an immediate adoption deadline according to the latest report NMC Horizon Report: 2017 Higher Education Edition. The use of the cell phone for pedagogical purposes is an element that when introduced into the classroom breaks with the known schemes. In this sense, Tíscar Lara defines M-Learning as a disruptive element, a "Trojan horse" that modifies previous conceptions about the teaching methodology, the role of the teacher and the student, time and learning spaces.
The pilot projects developed by UNESCO have shown that mobile devices allow literacy, promote student motivation and improve the possibilities of professional development of teachers and communication between parents, teachers and managers.
According to Valero, Redondo and Palacín mobile e-learning is fundamentally based on the use of mobile technologies as the basis of the learning process. Therefore, it is a teaching and learning process that takes place in different contexts (virtual or physical) or using mobile technologies. The term "mobile technology" is linked to the field of mobile communications and describes the capabilities of electronic communication in a non-wired or fixed way between remote and moving points. Mobile technologies favor the user-student does not need to be in a predetermined place to learn and is a step towards learning at any time and anywhere, an advance that brings us closer to Ubiquitous Learning (uLearning), the potential final horizon of the combination between technologies and learning processes.
Some of the possibilities offered by this methodology, according to Fombona, Pascual-Sevillana and González-Videgaray, are a greater and different access to information, together with transcendental innovations, such as the increase of informal and recreational activities, the insertion in iconic virtual environments, the belonging to specific groups, and networks of friendly interaction within new scales of values.
Mobile learning has its beginnings in the 1980s thanks to Xerox, Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), a company that presented a computer very similar to the tablet in order that children began to attract the digital world. (Borja, 2003)
In the 1990s, the opportunity to develop m-learning in universities in Europe and Asia for their students was evaluated. In 2001, a group of twenty-four countries created the M-Learning Project, through which two hundred and fifty young people from Italy, Sweden and Great Britain were given mobile devices with educational tools. At the end of the study, 80% of the participants said that these applications enhanced a significant improvement in their level of spelling, reading and mathematics.
According to Tíscar Lara, the term mobile learning or m-learning does not appear with smartphones and tablets, but has been used since it began to explore the educational potential of the first mobile devices with connectivity (for example, PDAs or phones with SMS). However, only the maturation of technologies, with the appearance of smartphones and tablets, as well as 3G networks and application markets, and the development of web 2.0, allowed the explosion of mobile learning.
Mobile learning is not only about linking technologies to training, but it has pedagogical advantages over other educational models, including over its predecessor e-learning. Among the main advantages is the possibility of offering personalized learning at any time and place, as well as the possibility of learning adapted to the learning style of each student. It requires a complex process of educational change that seeks to modify the way in which knowledge is being acquired. This is defined by UNESCO (2013): "The ideal would be for technology and education to evolve in parallel, and for educational needs to drive technological progress in addition to adapting to it."
Five definitions of m-learning
M. Ramírez (2009) makes a classification about the different definitions of m-learning according to the learning approach:
- For several researchers (Pinkwart, Hoppe, Milrad and Pérez, 2003, Quinn, 2000) e-learning is learning supported by digital electronic resources and tools and, therefore, m-learning is the e-learning that is supported by mobile devices; or simply, it is when learning takes place with mobile devices.
- Sharples (2005) describes learning as a process of approaching knowledge, where participants, in cooperation with their classmates and teachers, jointly construct the interpretation of their world. This definition gives mobile technologies a special role because it increases their chances of communication and conversation.
- Salz (2005) mentions that it is through teaching that is not limited by the learning environment, but complements, enriches and stimulates it to provoke a flexible and mobile learning, which helps the student to learn from different scenarios and contexts.
- It is a way of supporting learning in an environment where diverse elements such as spontaneity, personalization, informality, contextualization, portability, convenience, adaptability, integration and availability play an important role (Laouris & Eteokleous, 2005).
- Other researchers (e-learning Group 360, cited by Quinn, 2007) define it more from the process. They mention that m-learning is any activity that allows individuals to be more productive when they consume, interact or create mediated information through a compact digital device that the individual carries with him constantly, that has a reliable connectivity and that fits in the pocket.
All these definitions share two elements: movement and learning. These two elements are transmitted through certain resources: mobile devices.
Characteristics and capabilities
Some characteristics of mobile learning are shown below:
- Portability, due to the small size of the devices.
- Immediateness and connectivity through wireless networks.
- Ubiquity, since the learning of spatial or temporal barriers is released.
- It is motivating and active, because it develops a dynamic role in the student.
- It is accessible, since its price is lower than that of other devices.
- Greater freedom and flexibility of learning: the mobile phone is an ally 24 hours a day when inspiration arrives.
- All the online activities of the training space (thousands) are available for mobile devices.
- Use of support games in the training process: the variety of games generated for mobile, promotes creativity and collaboration.
- Technological independence of contents: a lesson is not made for a specific device.
- Simple navigation and adaptation of contents taking into account the navigability, the processor and the connection speed of these devices.
- Immediate access to data and notices: users can quickly access messages, emails, reminders and news generated in real time.
- Access to online data to support field work.
- Greater autonomy: you can customize the mobile device more easily than a computer.
- "Just in time, just for me": what the student wants, when the student wants it.
- Economic accessibility: although some people may think that M-learning is an expensive methodology, the reality is very contrary to this belief, because in the case of acquiring a tablet, it can be used for several years, not to mention the savings in terms of annual expenses on books and other printed resources.
- Adaptability of services, applications and interfaces to the needs of the user. There is also the possibility of including accessories such as keyboards or pencils to facilitate its use.
- Functional learning With mobile e-learning you really learn what interests us or we like it at any place or time.
- Objective learning You can access thousands of resources, opinions… adapting our knowledge based on the opinions of several authors, not just one.
- Self-learning Thanks to mobile devices you can access information, in real time, of any aspect you need to know.
Mobile learning is generating great expectations in the educational system, leading to interesting business initiatives through the development of educational mobile applications and research projects, as well as the determined commitment of governments and institutions in the development of programs and applications. Such is the case of the 1: 1 models and the BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology). The 1: 1 model consists of "providing each student with a device at no cost to him" (UNESCO, 2013). This decision is achieved through government programs that seek to integrate ICT in education. The high cost of the initiative and the lack of training of teachers are some of the obstacles that arise to continue with these programs. One way to make 1: 1 possible is for students to use the devices they already have. This gives way to BYOT, which is another initiative that is especially viable in those countries where the majority of the population has their own teams.
For many, m-learning could be the trojan horse to eliminate the digital divide or socioeconomic difference, literacy and technological capacity, since:
- It is a technology accessible to everyone in the economic sphere.
- It presents possibilities very close to those that computers can give us.
- It offers multiple functions.
- It is an infinite bank of information, to be able to connect with the Internet.
- It presents a great ease of use.
When the m-learning is designed correctly, it can be described as just in time, just enough and just for me. Thus, its main benefits are: portability, connectivity at any time and in any place, flexible and timely access to learning resources, immediacy of communication, participation and commitment of students mainly from dispersed communities, experiences of active learning. In addition, increased computer literacy, improvement in communication skills and community building, improvement of identity creation, collaborative learning and greater use of mentoring or mentoring.
The potential benefits of this type of learning are:
- Improvement of the retention: because it is just on time, task at hand and personalized for the student.
- Efficiency: mobile learning is efficient due to the portability of the information sources provided by connectivity anytime and anywhere.
- Cost savings: the necessary mobile devices, in most cases, are already available to potential users. There is also savings due to the reduction in space requirements for the classroom and travel of staff and students.
- Saving time: mobile learning is almost immediate, there is no need to schedule classes on a topic or wait for a presentation.
- Increased collaboration and communities: can form a community of practice that supports all participants with timely information as necessary.
- More granular design: The content of m-learning, by necessity, is formatted in a different way, what is sent to the learner must be produced in small pieces of information.
- Updated information: m-learning is dynamic. Online experts and updated sources are always available.
- Personalization: m-learning is individual. The trainees select the activities according to their tastes at the time of their choice.
- Integrality: mobile learning is very broad. It provides learning events from many sources, allowing learners to select a favorite format, as well as a learning method, and an instructional provider.
Contribution of mobile learning to key competences
Mobile learning contributes positively to the development of key competences within the classroom. Let's see some examples:
- Competence in linguistic communication (CCL): use of applications for learning one's own or foreign language, such as dictionaries or translators.
- Mathematical competence and basic competences in science and technology (FCTC): use of applications for the learning of mathematical, scientific and technological concepts such as scientific calculators or the use of geolocation.
- Digital competence (CD): the use of technology itself helps to develop this competence.
- Competence in learning to learn (CAA): use of applications for the development of collaborative work, self-evaluation or the creation of tutorials among others.
- Social and civic competences (CSC): use of mobile devices to create a blog, a website, record interviews to include them, etc.
- Sense of initiative and entrepreneurial spirit (SIE): application of mobile learning to develop use responsibility (rules of use, personal control, use of labels, etc.).
- Conscience and cultural expressions (CEC): use of applications on art (viewing works or own creation) or music (playing instruments, mixing music…).
This concept of ubiquity in ICT was introduced by Weiser in 1988 and gained worldwide recognition in 1991 with the work "The Computer for the Twenty-First Century". The ubiquitous technology allows to carry out educational activities in any place where the apprentice is, and to use the tools of his social learning environment.
Thanks to the proliferation of these Apps, the ubiquitous environments have spread not only for commerce or banking, but also have reached education, with mobile learning. But this irruption of mobile technology in the daily use of people, has imposed its use in a natural way, without requiring user training, and providing added value that brings more benefits than cost.
Pedagogical models associated with Mobile Learning
After the analysis of different m-learning projects, the Telefónica Foundation defines six levels of inclusion of mobile learning, which take into account the various activities carried out by students or teachers, following the ICT inclusion model developed by the Foundation itself.:
|Level 1||The mobile phone is used by the teacher as a support to the teaching of their classes through complementary material: readings, exercises, videos, podcasts…|
|Level 2||The student learns through the exercise with multimedia applications that allow him to deepen and contrast his level of knowledge about certain contents.|
|Level 3||The student participates in the design and development of a project and uses a wide variety of ICT tools or Apps for the creation, publication and dissemination through networks.|
|Level 4||The student explores tools for group work in the classroom: Dropbox, calendars and Google docs to share and work collaboratively; Eduloc, QR codes and Augmented Reality for geolocation both indoors and outdoors.|
|Level 5||Students work in a network with peers from other schools using mobile technologies and social networks.|
|Level 6||Students use the mobile phone to learn informally anywhere, anytime. Not only at school.|
Benefits of Mobile Learning for pedagogical strategies
Different pedagogical strategies are developed within the different pedagogical models associated with Mobile Learning. Herrera and Fennema (2011, p.63) establish the following:
- Facilitate tutorials.
- Connectivity anywhere.
- Flexible access to learning resources.
- Collaborative learning.
- Instant communication.
- Active learning experiences
- Increase in computer literacy.
- Improvement of communication skills and creation of communities.
- Power of the creation of identity.
Obstacles to mobile e-learning
There are still considerable obstacles that need to be overcome in order for mobile technologies to be fully integrated into education on a large scale.
- Negative perceptions and failure models.
- Few examples of scalability and sustainability.
- Lack of localized initiatives.
- Concern about censorship and privacy.
- Lack of integration models.
- Socio-educational context of certain families.
According to the 2011 SCOPEO document on mobile e-learning in Spain, Portugal and Latin America, there are a series of obstacles or barriers that prevent further development of mobile learning, they are:
- The wide diversity of mobile devices. There are numerous and varied features both in size, format, operating systems, etc. This diversity generates difficulties in terms of the creation of content and services due to the absence of standards.
- Digitization of contents. Lack of technological and pedagogical adaptation of new and previously available contents to a new environment that requires other types of content. These should be able to be reproduced in different devices, despite the wide diversity of existing devices.
- Absence of standardization. It is important to achieve a series of standards in certain areas of m-learning so that its use makes it possible to migrate content between different systems.
- The digital gap. Not only do we have to look only for digital literacy, but also the lack of possibilities to access technology.
- Evaluation. Mobile learning refers to more informal learning, because of this obstacles may arise with the evaluation, since teachers are more familiar with the evaluation of learning obtained in formal instances.
- Resistance to change, both teachers and students.
- Different threats to mobile devices. Mobile devices are exposed to new malware or malware, which according to the company Panda Security Spain, «(…) is increasing, because every time (mobile devices, smart phones and PDAs) store a greater amount of sensitive information » [ citation needed ]
There are other types of barriers of a more technological type:
- The battery of certain devices, especially in the case of smart phones. However, more and more durable batteries are being created, and other possibilities are emerging to avoid the depletion of the battery such as the trees-plugs that are being implanted in some educational centers so that students can charge their devices.
- The connectivity One of the strengths is the ubiquity and the possibility of learning anywhere and at any time. However, there are still some areas that have connectivity problems.
- The storage. It is being surpassed thanks to the increase of memory in the devices and to the cloud computing that allows to store content outside the device.
- Technological innovation of the devices. The devices become obsolete in a short period of time.
Where to start a mobile learning project
To start a mobile e-learning project the following route is proposed:
1. Understand the needs (to whom it is addressed)
- What is the learning problem you are trying to solve?
- What technology is required?
- What skills do teachers / facilitators have to learn?
- What would be the cost of implementation?
- How can acceptance be facilitated?
- How is success measured?
2. Define a model (the why and for what)
A M-Learning project can take several forms, (use of platform, place of content, role of the teacher, role of the student). The decision making must contemplate the concrete model that adapts to the specific educational needs of the project according to a methodological proposal.
3. Establish the scope (how and with what)
To define the scope of the project, in addition to the previous elements, it must be understood what is the role that this innovation implies with respect to the rest of the elements of the education system. This relationship may imply an improvement of the existing technologies (substitution or increase of their capacities) or a transformation that implies substantial modifications or a global redefinition of the rest of the educational ecosystem.
4. Develop and implement (form, attend, correct, etc.)
It is important to bear in mind when carrying out an M-Learning project the question of the accessibility of the devices and the ease of use (applications, contents, interfaces, etc.). This has to do with technological elements but also methodological, so it is advisable to establish training and assistance systems for users, especially in their first steps.
5. Evaluate the experience and propose improvements
Any project that implies an educational innovation must contemplate the establishment of own results measurement systems. It is important to have indicators that allow you to learn from experience and propose improvement actions for your future evolution. Regarding the evaluation, you can take into account:
- The physical space and the design of the learning space (the where).
- The social space (who, with whom, from whom).
- The objectives and learning outcomes (the why and the what).
- Learning methods and activities (the how).
- The progress of learning over time (the when).
- The learning tools (the how).
Examples of mobile learning in Latin America
Mati Tec is a good example of m-learning in Mexico. This is a project developed by the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, Campus Mexico City, whose objective is that "technology facilitate and improve learning, in addition to motivating children to study and find resources in the network that allow them to generate new skills and knowledge ».
Mati Tec started in January 2011, under the name of Harppi-Tec in collaboration with the Finnish company Ympyra. In the first stage, it reached up to 188 primary school children from schools in the Federal District. After the intervention of the cell phones in the classroom "an improvement of between 10 and 12 percent was observed in their academic performance, including their results in the ENLACE test". In addition, ITESM CCM researchers applied a mathematics test to students after six weeks of the project in their schools.
In the second stage, which was in 2012, it took the name of Mati Tec and, thanks to the joint effort with the State of Mexico Campus, Santa Fe Campus and Toluca Campus, it expanded to 2380 students of public elementary schools. In 2014, the Mexico City Campus developed the third phase, in which 400 students from four schools worked with cell phones for three months.
With the use of the mobile phone to learn about various subjects, the student acquires important skills for its development, the main ones are: information processing and digital competence, mathematical competence and, as of 2014, linguistic and communicative competence.
Another example in Latin America MADE-mlearn, a framework developed in Argentina by researchers from the National University of Santiago del Estero and the National University of Catamarca, to analyze and evaluate m-learning experiences, and design new experiences, and that takes into account the context (ecosystem), mode of interaction, and the foundations that support learning.
The implementation of mobile learning at the postgraduate level has been evaluated for some time, a student in this space does not usually have the time to attend face-to-face classes. Starting from the idea that ICT and especially mobile technologies favor autonomous learning focused on the apprentice, which for various reasons is essential in postgraduate training, an investigation was carried out in order to define the aspects that should be considered in the m-learning contexts to implement postgraduate programs in Argentine universities from the real context of each institution. The research was done in the Northwest of Argentina among students and heads of graduate programs. As a result, they developed an m-learning ecosystem for the region. They were able to confirm the innumerable advantages of mobile learning, especially for postgraduate training where students are already inserted in the workplace and that they should dedicate themselves to study during free time or during their workday, which is favored by the ubiquity of this system. This also generated the development of interactive mobile applications sensitive to the context that promote collaborative learning, specific to the contents of each course.
In the World Conference of Higher Education (2009) Paris UNESCO these aspects are established thinking about that educational level
- Diversity in higher education systems,
- Teacher training with curricula that provide the knowledge and tools necessary for the 21st century – New approaches that include open and distance education and incorporate ICT.
- The application of ICT to teaching and learning has great potential to increase access, quality and permanence.
- The results of scientific research should be more accessible through ICTs and resources of Distance Education.
- Use of tools and resources of electronic libraries to support teaching, learning and research.
Other examples of application of mobile learning
There are numerous educational research projects that have described the importance of working and including ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) in the teaching-learning process at school. In general terms, there is a great movement in Ibero-America, which has highlighted the challenge of setting as a goal the digital literacy of the students, including all the technological resources available in the classrooms. In this sense, two projects stand out: the IB Higher Education 2012-2017, which states in its conclusions that digital literacy is key in every discipline and profession, so it is necessary to promote it from any educational program (Durall, Gros, Maina, Johnson & Adams, 2012). Likewise, Horizon Report 2012 affirms that digital literacy is increasingly important as a key skill in any discipline and profession (Johnson, Adams & Cummins, 2012).
Among the psychoeducational projects applied in the classrooms, there is the Mobile Learning Project. In a multiple case study with 3000 students in Mexico, the development of students' cognitive abilities through mobile learning was identified. Through the realization of focus groups, surveys and direct and indirect observation, the study concludes that learning through the mobile phone modifies the learning environment positively, making it more innovative and collaborative. In addition, they affirm that mobile learning resources are supported by strategies that promote the development of cognitive skills such as problem solving, decision making, critical thinking and creative thinking (Elizondo, Bernal & Montoya, 2010).
In a study on the effectiveness of m-learning in the form of a podcast, with a sample of more than 200 students, Evans (2008) concludes that students believe that learning through mobile phones is more efficient than conferences or traditional textbooks, and that m-learning has great potential as a pedagogical tool at higher education levels (Evans, 2008).
The mLearning project carried out in Europe by researchers from Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom aimed to use portable technologies to provide learning experiences for young people aged between 16 and 24 years. The project focused on investigating how mobile technologies can change attitudes for learning, thus contributing to improving their capacities.
Also, the ABTm project was designed to design, develop, apply and evaluate a specific methodology based on interactive video games for mobile devices (PocketPC). The methodology consisted in activities of work in the classroom, in the field with trivial video games for PocketPC and an activity by means of a mobile videogame named Evolution.
On the other hand, in an investigation framed in the project "My mobile at the service of the community: learning and sharing" and promoted by Fundación Telefónica together with the collaboration of the Itinerarium Foundation and the University of Barcelona, two learning experiences are described. is to integrate mobile applications and geolocation tools in the pedagogical projects of Secondary Education.
In the learning experience 1 on "Project of professional orientation", the students used mobile phones mainly for three types of activities: creating and editing multimedia contents, geolocating the contents and searching for information. The learning experience 2 on "Madrid European capital of culture in 2016", the students stressed that they learned to work together, and that coordination and group work was an important experience.
The results obtained in this study showed that the majority of 3rd and 4th ESO students have a mobile phone with Internet access and this is used mostly to surf the Internet, send messages and access social networks.
The applications related to geolocation such as the use of maps, location, GPS, etc., were barely used previously by the students. For the students of both centers it was the first time that they used the mobile for educational purposes and they did not have previous knowledge of aspects related to the geolocation of contents. It was also novel for the students the creation of content for websites and, in the case of the students of experience 1, they also had no experience in the use of Google Drive for the management of documents and audio and video files.
Criticisms to mobile learning
Currently, the main reluctance to use mobile learning in school is based on its "misuse". As stated by Hwang and Chang (2011), [ citation needed ] "the availability of mobile technology does not really guarantee that it will be used in an educational environment, in the same way, the mere adoption of a new technology does not ensure its effectiveness of learning ».
The criticisms that are made to mobile learning are based on the lack of knowledge on the part of teachers of new technologies, the lack of training on their proper use and their effectiveness causes a digital divide between students and teachers but, contrary to what the more staunch to the traditional methodology exposed, they are not insurmountable differences. Marc Prensky, introduced a new concept in 2009: [ digital quote ], which states that the digital divide grows due to lack of interest, in relation to the growing digitalization of our societies. It has already been shown that prohibiting the indiscriminate use of cell phones in the classroom is not a realistic solution to the problem. [ citation needed ]
In the face of criticism and denials, the advocates of its implementation claim that it is not a question of abandoning teaching, but of empowering it by carrying out activities that motivate and be dynamic, involving students in a different use of the technology that They handle daily. Among the negative aspects that give more force to the discourse of opponents to the use of mobile technology, are the physical limitations of them, as discussed earlier in this document, the small dimensions of their screens, buttons, battery limitations and memory space as well as connectivity problems or the existence of few educational applications. [ citation needed ]
Another aspect that generates some controversy in today's society is the adaptation of this methodology for use at any educational stage. Thus, the most skeptical believe that mobile learning can be very harmful for primary and secondary students given the maturity of these ages, and may favor the origin of problems such as addictions, bullying, etc. [ Citation needed ] On the other hand, a larger group believes that the methodology of mobile e-learning is susceptible of application at any level, as long as it is done responsibly, controlled and previously planned. [ citation needed ]
Some authors incorporate mobility as a difficulty in different aspects Ludivigsen (2009) [ citation needed ] describes five instances to be taken into account: physical space, time, technological mobility, conceptual mobility, social mobility.
Another disadvantage that can be added to mobile learning is related to teachers who are not familiar with this methodology and are reluctant to innovate. The Spanish Confederation of Teaching Centers (CECE), informs that 40% of teachers do not use ICT due to lack of training. In everyday practice, a large majority of teachers only use mobile as a resource in the teaching-learning process. In relation to this, the interview with Ferrán Adriá that talks about innovation in education is interesting, where he cites that "it is essential not to fall into monotony and not perpetuate a routine way of training students", where "monotony is the main enemy of innovation in education ». With which, the teacher has to integrate into new technologies and have an initiative to learn a resource as current as this.
However, despite this last inconvenience in the words of Lucena, FJH, Martín, FDF, & Díaz, IA (2002), according to their study on the attitudes of teachers towards ICT training, teachers « They are motivated and interested in receiving initial training in ICT, but this is of quality, hence there is sometimes a rebound effect and a bit of refusal to use these media in the classroom. " Therefore, a good university education is not enough, but as teachers we must continue to train to be able to face any situation and give an adequate educational response to the students. The role of the teacher depends on the students being motivated and having an interest in learning to learn.
Guidelines for mobile learning policies
UNESCO establishes a set of guidelines for mobile learning policies that can be adapted to the realities and idiosyncrasies of different contexts. He also believes that mobile technologies can expand and enrich educational opportunities.
UNESCO guidelines for mobile learning policies:
- Create policies related to mobile learning or update existing ones.
- Train teachers to promote learning through mobile technologies.
- Provide support and training to teachers through mobile technologies.
- Create pedagogical content to use on mobile devices and optimize existing ones.
- Ensure the gender equality of the students.
- Expand and improve connectivity options guaranteeing equity.
- Develop strategies to provide equal access for all.
- Promote the safe, responsible and healthy use of mobile technologies.
- Use mobile technology to improve the management of communication and education.
- Increase awareness of mobile learning through advocacy, leadership and dialogue.
New learning trends
The new learning does not have as much to do with the support in which it is learned, but with the aim of the traditional organization in course format, of the hegemony of the contents as an objective of learning. It ends with the strong division of roles between the one who teaches and the one who learns and with the evaluation systems oriented to check if certain knowledge has been acquired.
There is already talk of u-learning or ubiquitous learning and it will be seen in 2020, with a new generation of devices to take positions focused on augmented reality. The objective is to make learning easier, to turn it into something dynamic, with a constant interaction between information, devices and a new kind of teacher and also student. In order to be able to learn anywhere and at any time of the day, with a natural fusion of the virtual and physical world, thanks to a technology that will be omnipresent.
The other new model (which could also be considered an evolution of m-learning) is p-learning (pervasive English learning) or generalized learning. In this case, "computers that obtain information about the learning context through small integrated intelligent devices such as sensors or tags are used to offer a learning model that allows mutual communication, contextualization and adaptability of the information to the context of learning »(Morfi, 2011). [ citation needed ]
"Generalized learning", as described by Dan Pontefract, [ citation needed ] is to learn at the speed of need, through formal learning methods, but also informal and social. It consists of adapting the content to each student, in terms of plans and objectives, but with the sensitivity of adapting to their skills, habits and needs. It is about integrating learning to merge with our work, hobbies and other interests.
In this way, learning strengthens autonomy and critical thinking and acquires a more complete dimension, by working on cognitive skills (planning, researching, evaluating and selecting), with personal dispositions (motivation, restlessness, self-control, adaptability) and skills social (collaborate, share, lead). [ citation needed ]
Interest thus becomes the driving force for self-training, a concept that is not new, but acquires a new meaning with digital tools that help multiply the ability to access people and resources. This reinforces the theory that holds that learning occurs when the learner is prepared, and not when the teacher thinks it should happen.
And also come the personal learning environments or PLE (personal learning environments), resources in different formats (text, audio, video, image) which can be accessed through the Internet with open, transparent learning experiences, collaborative and social. Students design and conduct their own learning processes and interact with those who offer their experience in social networks to establish spaces for debate. They do it with easy-to-use tools to maintain videoconferences and videotutories that dynamit the temporal space limitations.
All these new trends could be included under a different name, T-Learning, a global learning in which the student or user carries out all the learning modalities already mentioned.
M-learning and its usability
Next, rules of necessary compliance are defined in order to obtain effective mobile learning portals, which are pleasant for the user and which the interface is usable to support the dynamism of mobile devices:
- User and student: the success or failure of portable mobile learning devices depends to a large extent on the motivation and skills of using mobile technology.
- Personal and mobile interaction: In the integration of mobile technology, it must take into account different characteristics such as screen size, weight, memory, resolution, processing capacity and flexibility.
- Mapping between the real world and the different mobile learning portals: The way to interact between the portal and the students must be in the form of words, phrases or concepts that are easy to assimilate by the students, so that a representation can be visualized. abstract and physical understanding.
- State visibility: Students should be informed at all times of the follow-up of their progress indicating what is being done through feedback.
- Minimize the human cognitive load: The contents shown in the mobile learning portals must be in small and homogeneous fragments of information, so that their place inside the screen is correct.
- Small screen: The use of small screen sizes on mobile devices can cause problems when it comes to efficiently displaying and organizing information.
- Do not overload: Both for beginner users and experts, the fact of showing strange information can create confusion in the use of portals.
- Navigation: The selection of the appropriate navigation structures determines the success and failure of the information presented.
- Coherence: It is one of the most fundamental principles of usability in the design of interfaces. Information and similar actions should be located in the same place to ensure consistency and ease of recognition. This coherence should be maintained for all the functions of the learning portals, within the same and / or different platform.