Guidelines on Implementing Successful Seamless Learning Environments (#mlearning)
Mobile and ubiquitous technologies have been expected to foster shifting from classroom based learning to the one that is free from time and space boundaries. In the paper — “Guidelines on Implementing Successful Seamless Learning Environments”, the authors review recent researches on mobile assisted learning in order to set pedagogically-based guidelines for instructors, learning environment designers and the administrative end or decision makers including ICT coordinator, and local authorities.
This paper describes implementation guidelines for ubiquitous seamless mobile learning featuring the learning-log system named SCROLL (System for Capturing and Reminding of Learning Log). This system helps users to share and remind ubiquitous learning experiences. They analyze how seamless the learning could be and categorize it into 7 types according to the facilities being afforded. They Main foci in the guidelines are for language teachers to practice SCROLL-based mobile learning in their classes for both in-class and out-class learning according to their situation or conditions.
“Seamless learning” is used to describe the situations where students can learn whenever they want to in a variety of scenarios and that they can switch from one scenario to another easily and quickly using one device or more per student (“one-to-one”) as a mediator.
Table 1 shows types of learning available according to each mobile/fixed condition. There are seven types of mobile learning based on the seamless rate.
SCROLL is a client-server application, users can register what they have learned anytime, anywhere. The registered object is called as a ubiquitous learning log object (ULLO). They can take quizzes made from their ULLOs for recalling them. The System lets learners share their ULLOs. The learners are able to watch other learners’ ULLOs. If they like other learners ULLOs, they can “relog” them to their own pages just like “retweet” in Twitter so that ULLOs uploaded by other learners can be their own ULLOs.
What factors will influence successful mobile learning?
Four influential factors
Factor 1: Management and facilities
In order to manage mobile learning initiative effectively, obtaining senior level buy-in is inevitable. The cost of the technology, the infrastructure and the services and applications are important issues when implementing mobile learning.
Factor 2: Instructors’ abilities
The instructors’ motivation and computer literacy are important issue to be dealt with.
Factor 3: Flexibility of curriculum and class setup
Generally mobile learning fits task-based, interactive and collaborative learning. It is reported that traditional seating arrangement (desks all lined up and all the students face the teacher and a blackboard) makes students less active, less cooperative, less engaged in learning. In order to maximize the learning opportunities, traditional lecture style class is not recommendable.
From the study: National Training Laboratories Institute for Applied Behavioral Sciences, “The Learning Triangle: Retention Rates from Different Ways of Learning,” Bethel, Maine, 2005.
Only about 5 percent of the information delivered through lecture was retained. Compare that with retention rates at 50 percent for discussion group and 70 percent for practice by doing. Even higher, at 80 percent, was retention by students teaching others. Thus successful mobile learning depends much on instructors’ flexibility in running class.
Factor 4: Learners’ motivation
From the study: R. M. Ryan, and E. L. Deci, “Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and wellbeing,” American Psychologist, Vol.55, No.1, pp.68–78, Jan 2000,. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.55.1.68
There is a self determination continuum ranged from non-self-determined to self-determined which is subdivided into three parts: motivation, extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation.
It is explained that the more self-determined, the more motivated. Thus, it is recommended to let students think that learning is not forced and that it is determined by themselves. First ask them why they learn and let them make a practical goal setting of their learning (eg. TOEIC 600 points). This process is important. Without active use of mobile learning system, any ideal m-learning environment could be useless. It is also important to let them keenly sense that in order to achieve their goal in-class learning is not sufficient and that outside-class, anytime anywhere-based ubiquitous learning is inevitable. Generally speaking, small-step style where the task can be achieved for a short period of time is recommended.
Though it is believed that intrinsic motivation is better than extrinsic one, still it might be necessary to inspire some extrinsic motivation such as introducing a reward system where students’ hard works would reflect their grades. Putting these factors into consideration, an effective mobile learning would be realized.
Nine Considerations in practice
These suggestions are to carry out a successful seamless learning, it’s important not only to grasp the environment: what is
available, what is not available, and learners’ computer literacy and mobile literacy, but also to grasp some techniques to conduct a class.
For creating learning contents:
First, teachers upload textbook data (PDF or text) to the system. Students can read textbook files anytime anywhere for previewing and reviewing with mobile devices just like a paper book. .In the electronic textbook, registered words are hyperlinked and when the teacher clicks them, a side bar pops up and it shows names of the students who registered them so that the teacher will be able to know how many students and who have registered them.
The electrical textbook can be accessed through internet-connected PCs and smartphones. They can use during class and at home. Teachers registered the target words of each chapter before class and let them view target words as a preview assignment. Students can “relog” them if they are unknown words and challenge quizzes.
Students can upload contents just as teachers do on the textbook upload page shown.
The system aims to entwine out-of-class learning with in-class learning.
Learning activity design
Learning activity design is introduced for different levels of seamless rate. Some of the learning scenarios suggested in this section are based on ‘experiential learning’ proposed by J. Dewey, Experience and Education, Kappa Delta Pi, 1938. This learning theory contends that it is effective to make students active and learn by doing.
The case study gives us a meaningful reference and guidelines to implement successful seamless learning. And the research review also reveal insights from previous studies. Check out the full paper here.