Mobile Learning News Research Findings - Spring 2011 (Special Issue) (PDF)

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MoLeNET has been a deliberate and successful attempt to move mobile learning on from research and development or small scale pilots, to embedding the use of handheld technologies into mainstream education delivery, enabling learners to benefit from some of the transformative effects of adopting new technologies experienced by other sectors.


  • MobilelearningnewsSpecial issue |

    Consulting | Outsourcing | Research | Technology | Training

    Proven eective,sustainable m-learningKey messages from 3 years of MoLeNET

    MoLeNET has been a deliberate andsuccessful attempt to move mobilelearning on from research anddevelopment or small scale pilots, to embedding the use of handheldtechnologies into mainstreameducation delivery, enabling learners to benet from some of the transformative eects ofadopting new technologiesexperienced by other sectors.

    Over 3 years 40,000 learners andover 7,000 sta have taken part in 104 MoLeNET projects, jointlynanced by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC, a predecessor of the Skills Funding Agency) andparticipating colleges and schools.The projects have been very diversein terms of subjects studied, level ofstudy, abilities and ages of learners,learning context, location, goals andtechnologies used e.g. Smartphones,MP3/4 players, mini notebooks/tablets, Nintendo DS, Sony PSP,voting systems, GPS and scientic/environmental handhelds.

    The impact of the projects has beenmonitored by research activitiesembedded into the LSN supportprogramme and into every project.

    Research ndings, which have beenvery consistent, provide evidence ofimproved access to resources and

    support, more motivated andengaged learners, better attendance,less drop out, improved assessmentprocesses and improved achievement.

    Positive impact on teaching has also been witnessed with mobiletechnologies enabling learningactivities to be made more relevant,realistic and personalised. Teachingand learning practices are changingand pedagogy is evolving.

    It took some courage and vision for LSC to take a multi-million pound punt on an innovative,relatively new, and unproven,approach to learning. It is atestimony to that vision that threeyears down the line thousands oflearners and teachers in FurtherEducation have been inspired andmotivated, achieved and attendedmore and progressed to higherlevels of provision.Bob Harrison, Toshiba Adviser

  • 2 Mobile learning news

    The MoLeNET model forsuccessful embeddingof mobile learning


    The MoLeNET model for 2successful embedding of mobile learning

    Measuring the impact 3

    Eective learner engagement 4and retention

    Improving performance and 5achievement

    Mobile learning good practice 6

    Tried and tested mobile 8learning pedagogy

    Eciency and cost eectiveness 9

    But is mobile learning 10sustainable?

    Looking to the future 11

    LSN mobile learning 12

    Published by LSN

    Registered with the Charity Commissioners

    Designer: Joel Quartey

    Printer: Blackmore, Shaftesbury, Dorset

    ISSN 1473-1685


    LSN 2011. All rights reserved

    Infrastructure and start upinvestment




    Practitioner led actionresearch

    Knowledgeand resource



    Shared costfunding

    MoLeNET model

    The design of the MoLeNET initiative sought to avoid the experience of toomany previous initiatives and programmes of progress stalling when initialfunding ran out. The result is a proven model for successful introduction andembedding of mobile learning in education settings:

    For mobile learning to be sustainableinfrastructure investment, particularlyinvestment in installing or improvingwireless networks, is essential. Thisnot only supports initial handheldhardware but prepares for futuresupport of learners own technologyand reduces dependence on relativelyexpensive mobile data networking.Start up funding for mobiletechnologies provided a low riskopportunity to test a variety oftechnologies with diverse groups oflearners in a variety of contexts and toassess their relative usefulness.

    MoLeNET research found evidencethat shared cost funding encouragedgreater feelings of ownership by andbetter engagement with seniormanagement teams. Whilstsupported projects, rather than justprovision of funding for mobiletechnology, ensured that technologypurchase was accompanied byappropriate planning and sucientsta development.

  • In every phase of MoLeNET LSN Technology for Learning researchers andpractitioner researchers based in participating colleges and schools havecollected and analysed an enormous amount of evidence of the impact ofmobile learning on teaching, learning, learners, teachers and institutions.The following diagram describes the dierent sources of data collected in anevaluation approach which has practitioner-led action research at its heart.

    Measuring theimpact

    Special issue 2011 3

    Knowledge and resource sharingvia, and theMoLeNET Moodle virtual learningenvironment has helped projectsand institutions to learn fromothers experiences and toachieve more, quicker, withouthaving to relearn and reinvent.

    Involvement of teaching andtechnical sta is vital at all stages.Training and supporting sta aspractitioner researchers ensuresthat evaluation is built intoprojects together with detailedplanning of what data is requiredto assess impact and how thisdata will be collected. Stadevelopment, both face to faceand on-line, is important for alltypes and levels of sta involved.This is supplemented andstrengthened by mentoring forproject managers andpractitioner researches and bythe work of local champions both technical/pedagogic andmanagement encouraging,enabling and supportingteaching sta whilst they acquirenew skills and condence.

    Project overview data

    Number of learners,subjects and levels,

    technology purchased,learning contexts, aims

    and objectives etc.

    Learner and teacher voice

    Feedback obtained throughthe action research

    process; videos shared via;

    LSN SMS quizzes,questionnaires and

    focus groups.

    Retention,achievement and


    Predicted IndividualLearner Record (ILR)data benchmarked

    against national actualin year ILR data for the previous year.

    Practitioner ledaction research


    Practitionerresearchers in

    institutions submitdata and ndingsfrom their formal

    research processes.

    Senior management

    team voice

    Independentresearcher telephone


    by LSN.

    Project level evaluation

    Project managementreports from theprojects, BectaGenerator and m-Maturity self

    assessment tools data.

    Case studies,resources and lesson


    Good practice shared via

    LSN training and support

    LSN meta-analysis

    All project data andndings collated,

    analysed andsynthesised by LSN

  • The experience of MoLeNET colleges and schools is that mobile learning hasplayed a major role in motivating, engaging and reengaging learners. This isparticularly the case for learners previously considered disengaged, hard-to-reachor hard-to-teach, including young people classied as NEET (not in education,employment or training) but has also been reported for other groups.

    Year 3 projects comment on the impact of mobile learning on engagement,behaviour, attitudes and retention

    Improvements in learnerengagement and participationhave been found to lead toimprovements in attendanceand better retention of learners.Improved engagement andparticipation have resulted from:

    improved personalisation andrelevance of learning activitieswhere each learner has easyaccess to a personal ICT devicein any learning situation

    better support, morecommunication and quickerfeedback from tutors

    more interactive and student-ledlearning experiences

    use of technologies studentsare familiar with, enjoy usingand associate with lifeoutside of education

    learners perceiving mobilelearning as not like schooland feeling better supportedby the institution

    easier integration of morerelevant key skills and languageskills into vocational coursesand workbased learning

    increased opportunities forrevising material learners nddicult or complex and theability to do this discretely

    immediate access to web based information or virtuallearning environment materialswhen and where relevant

    Learner retention Each year MoLeNET colleges have submitted Individual Learner Record (ILR) datato LSN for learners involved in MoLeNET.

    This data has been compared with national actual in year ILR data and noticeabledierences have been found, suggesting a positive impact on learner retention.

    4 Mobile learning news

    Eective learner engagementand retention

    Increases interest/engagement/motivation

    Improves learner attendance

    improves learner retention

    Makes learning more enjoyable

    Makes learners feel valued

    Improves learner behaviour

    0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

    PercentageStrongly agree



    Strongly disagree



    MoLeNET 2009/10 compared with ILR 2008/09

    0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

    PercentageMoLeNET in year retention rate

    National ILR in year retention rate

    We have used the mobile devices in 2 dierent areas, businessadministration and nance and NEET (not in education, employmentor training) and in both areas, the engagement of students wassignicantly higher than with traditional teaching techniques. Head of Learning Development, City College Plymouth, MoLeNET year 3







  • Special issue 2011 5

    In each year of MoLeNET projects have reported perceived and evidencedimprovements in learner performance, success and achievement.

    Year 3 projects comment on the impact of mobile learning on learnerperformance

    Contributory factors leading to improvements in work andresults include being able towork in dierent ways,development of more ecientlearning habits and increasedself condence sometimesresulting from recognition oftheir knowledge of and skills inusing mobile technologies.

    Use of mobile technologies hasimproved access to resourcesoutside the institution,including web based andpreloaded resources andpod/vodcasts helping learnersto consolidate, recap andrevise. Also learners withspecic needs have receivedpersonalised extra support viamobile technologies enablingthem to overcome barriers totheir learning.

    Improving performance and achievement

    Improves learner achievement

    Improves learner progression

    Enables learners to learn more quickly

    Enables learners to complete a higher standard of work

    Supports revision

    Helps learners to retain knowledge more effectively

    Enables learners to complete coursework more quickly

    0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

    PercentageStrongly agree



    Strongly disagree

    Learner achievement Each year MoLeNET colleges submitted ILR data to LSN including predictedachievement data for learners involved in MoLeNET.

    This data has been compared with national actual in year ILR data andnoticeable dierences in achievement rates have been observed.



    MoLeNET 2009/10 compared with ILR 2008/09

    0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100


    MoLeNET in year achievement rate

    National ILR in year achievement rate

    Learners who have been seenas traditionally low achievershave for the rst time beenseen as the best at something.For example,an ESOL learnerwhose level of literacy andspeaking was very poorproduced the best narratedvideo as part of a MoLeNETproject. The learner waspraised and has grown incondence because of this. Deputy Principal, Ealing, Hammersmithand West London College






    Please note: the MoLeNET gures are based on predicted not actual ILRgures. It has also not been possible to control for the many factors otherthan the introduction of mobile learning which may improve achievement.Some projects reported that retention and achievement improvementstrategies were running in parallel with MoLeNET. Initiatives that involverethinking delivery may lead to improvements in achievement whether ornot they involve new technologies.

  • Learners with learning dicultiesand/or disabilities have usedmainstream mobile technologies tosupport their learning and have alsobeneted from specialist deviceswith capabilities such as text tospeech to support communicationand talking photo albums tofacilitate independent travel.

    Learners have used the NintendoDS to access games to supportliteracy and numeracy developmentand to communicate with peers andteaching sta via PictoChat , posingand answering questions andengaging in discussion

    They have used the DSi and Sony PSP to video themselves andothers for reection and instructionand to access the internet forresearch purposes.

    The Nintendo Wii has helpedlearners to access exercise andphysiotherapy opportunities and togenerate data (e.g. games scores)for analysis to support development of maths skills.

    We have been using theNintendo DS devices in class tosupport literacy and numeracy,the January exam results wereout last week and they have beenfantastic for these students.Some students are now movingon to level 2 work which is anamazing achievement. Teacher, Ashton Sixth Form College, MoLeNET year 2

    Learners use netbooks and UltraMobile PCs both in and outside ofthe classroom to:

    access learning resources

    complete online assessments;conduct research on the internet;type up notes

    create presentations and posters;edit images and videos

    upload evidence of their learning;share their work with teachers andassessors

    communicate with peers andteaching sta through email, Skypeand social networks

    Its been a revolution over the last 3 years of being involved inMoLeNET and using mobiletechnology. We have learners now that, if it hadnt been for thedevelopment of mobile technology,would still be reliant on support.Director of College Development National Star College, MoLeNET year 2.

    Mobile learning good practiceThis section provides examples of how different mobile technologies have been used for teaching and learning in MoLeNET. Many more case studies and teaching ideas can be found at

    6 Mobile learning news Special issue 2011 7

    Learners have used Smartphones to:

    download educational Apps

    access resources on the internet

    communicate with peers andteaching sta via voice and textmessage

    organise their work using thecalendar and notes functions

    get involved in location based andaugmented reality learning usingGPS and QR codes.

    They have used Smartphones andMP4 players to:

    collect images and audio and videoevidence of their work

    reect on their progress

    follow instructional videos

    access and create educationalpodcasts and vodcasts

    Various scientic devices such asdata loggers and GPS equipmenthave been used by learners outsideof the classroom to collect and logdata to work on either in the eld orback in the classroom; to locatespecic points geographically; totake scientic and environmentalmeasurements for later analysis.

    A breakthrough that has beenhighly motivating for Mike has beenaccess to an iPhone project at thecollege. The iPhone acted like arework igniting an interest incommunicating via text message.This style of communication doesnot require vowels or spelling rulesand has visibly widened his socialhorizons. Teacher, Loughborough College, MoLeNET year 3

    Handheld voting systems havebeen used by learners to respond toquizzes and assessments, enablingthe learner to respond privatelywithout feeling...


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