mEducation Evaluation Toolkit from GSMA (#mlearning)
The GSMA’s mEducation initiative aims to accelerate the adoption of mobile education solutions, particularly mobile-enabled portable devices, such as e-Readers and tablets, in mainstream education settings. This global initiative seeks to understand the landscape and address the barriers and opportunities in this emerging market.
The GSMA has published a joint report with McKinsey & Company, Transforming learning through mEducation, which shows that mEducation will be a $70 Billion market opportunity by 2020.
mEducation Evaluation Toolkit
This week, GSMA just published a GSMA mEducation Evaluation Toolkit. To highlight its relevance :
The GSMA mEducation Evaluation Toolkit is intended to inform the process of evaluating mEducation pilots, trials, projects, launches, deployments and implementations and to assist institutions, organisations and individuals in planning for and carrying out mEducation evaluations.
In particular the Toolkit is designed to help mobile network operators and their education and corporate partners in evaluating trials and product or service launches.
Evaluation has been described as “the process of judging something’s quality, importance, or value” and as involving “assessing the strengths and weaknesses of programs, policies, personnel, products, and organisations to improve their effectiveness”. In order to judge and assess these things it is necessary to carry out some research incorporating collecting, analysing and interpreting data, and then drawing conclusions . Therefore advice about research approaches, methods and tools is included within the Toolkit. It has been suggested that “The most important purpose of evaluation is not to prove but to improve” (Stufflebeam et al, 19712) and that the role of evaluation is ‘ascertaining the value of’ or ‘making a value judgement about’ a project, policy, product or service.
Clearly educators, trainers and learners will only wish to use mobile technologies and resources if they judge these to be an improvement on, or a useful addition to, the teaching and learning tools and approaches they currently use.
The advice in the Toolkit seeks to assist in the processes of understanding, making value judgements about and improving education, training and learning as well as mEducation products, services and business models.
Who is evaluation for?
(from the Toolkit)
In the specific context of the use of mobile technologies for teaching and learning, expert opinion (Sharples, M, 20096) suggests there may be three broad categories of evaluation dependent upon who has prompted the evaluation and why, these are:
- Evaluation as part of education research – evaluating how processes of learning can be mediated, enhanced and transformed
- Evaluation to inform design – evaluating how a combination of technologies and activities can best be developed to address problems and provide new learning opportunities
- Evaluation for policy makers – evaluating evidence of learning gains or changes, by comparison with existing approaches or by showing how radically new opportunities have been created
When considering the broader learning landscape and ecosystems two more categories could be added to these three, i.e:
- Evaluation for corporate training departments – evaluating evidence of improved take up of training offered, improved compliance with processes and requirements taught and improved cost effectiveness, return on investment (ROI) or economic added value (EAV)
- Evaluation for providers of new or pilot products and services – evaluating how well new products and services meet the needs of learners, teachers and institutions and the sustainability or profitability of funding or business models
However, the findings of the first three categories of evaluation are also likely to be of interest to corporate training departments and organisations developing, piloting or marketing mobile learning products and services.
More case studies on mobile learning are available on this page : Download the latest mEducation case study.