Monthly Archives: February 2015

Pedagogy for Mobile Learning

Pedagogical Framework for Mobile Learning

by Mark Sivy

mobile learningIn searching for research-based information on developing mobile learning that coincided with my existing mobile learning beliefs and practices, I came across a very good article that has been done by Yeonjeong Park (2011) at Virginia Tech. She presents a framework that places existing mobile learning studies into four categories, which I’d like to share with you:

Type 1

High transactional distance and socialized mobile learning activity

  • Compared to a traditional setting, learners have a large communication and psychological separation (transactional distance) from the instructor
  • Learners work, communicate and collaborate between themselves
  • Content and activity guidance is received through mobile channels
  • Most learning activity occurs between learners

Smartphone learningType 2

High transactional distance and individualized mobile learning activity

  • Same separation from the instructor as Type 1
  • Individual learners are given concise structure and content
  • Individual learners control their learning process
  • Interactions are primarily between the individual learner and the content

Type 3

Low transactional distance and socialized mobile learning activity

  • Less transactional distance than the previous two types
  • Loosely defined content and structure
  • Learners solve problems with each other in groups
  • Interaction is more focused on social learning and communication

Type 4

Low transactional distance and individualized mobile learning activity

  • Less transactional distance
  • Loosely defined content and structure
  • Individual learners interact directly with instructor
  • Instructor leads and controls learning

A critical takeaway from this very useful information is the concept of transactional distance and its implications. Even though this is commonly associated with online and mobile learning, it also exists within the physical learning space of a classroom, lecture hall or laboratory.

Mobile Learning 1Given the four types of mobile learning that Ms. Park presented, these should each be used as needed depending upon the content and expected learning outcomes. For instance, during the term of a single course that is offered as mobile learning, each type may be used at different times. Mobile learning is much more complex and strategic than simply making course content and instructions available on a smartphone.

“Email, instant messaging, and cell phones give us fabulous communication ability, but because we live and work in our own little worlds, that communication is totally disorganized.”          ~ Marylyn vos Savant

Park, Y. (2011). A pedagogical framework for mobile learning: Categorizing educational applications of mobile technologies into four types. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 12(2), 78-102.