Pervasive, lifestyle-integrated mobile learning for distance learners: an analysis and unexpected results from a podcasting study

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Abstract

This article opens with a discussion of how and why mobile learning (m-learning) is purported to be the next step in the evolution of distance education, before looking at various perspectives on what m-learning constitutes. It critically examines the degree to which 'true' m-learning has been achieved, by offering pedagogical value beyond the mere use of mobile devices to deliver e-learning content. The authors argue that podcasting, in combination with a variety of portable MPEG Layer 3 (MP3) capable devices that are increasingly ubiquitous, can be used to deliver a form of m-learning that offers a higher degree of lifestyle integration than many current 'state of the art' m-learning applications, despite not being as technically complex. They present an example of a study in which podcasting was used to deliver supplementary listening material to distance learners undertaking an information technology subject. An end-of-semester survey yielded extremely positive feedback about uptake levels and the perceived effectiveness of the podcasts in aiding the students' learning of the subject matter. However, it also produced interesting results on the ways the students made use of the podcasts, which deviated from the researchers' original intentions for 'anytime, anywhere, any device' learning. The results are discussed in the light of possible influencing factors, supported by follow-up interview data. The study may have broader implications for the still nascent field of m-learning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-218
Number of pages18
JournalOpen Learning
Volume22
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007

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