I’ve previously blogged about the parallels between mobile learning approaches and teaching and learning theories such as social constructivism, as well as parallels between the development of mobile and computer-based learning.
It’s good time to reiterate the convergences and parallels between user-centrically designed, networked, portable technologies, and learner-centric, connected, situated learning, as I recently found this paper, which provides further discussion on these similarities, but tempers this with a particularly poignant insight on mobile learning, quoted from the reflective outcomes of the MOBILearn project in Europe:
“It is the learner that is mobile; not the technology.”
I think this is the ultimate expression of learner-centricity in mobile learning. Most people involved in the m-learning arena are keenly focussed on ways for exploiting mobile digital devices for learning; but this mode of thinking may blinker us to less technological means of achieving equivalent learning outcomes. In thinking about mobile learning, removed from a technological context, this classification of mobile learning activities is a useful one, which also ties mobile learning with established teaching and learning practices):
- Behaviourist – activities that promote learning as a change in observable actions.
- Constructivist – activities in which learners actively construct new ideas or concepts based on both their previous and current knowledge.
- Situated – activities that promote learning within an authentic context and culture.
- Collaborative – activities that promote learning through social interaction.
- Informal and lifelong – activities that support learning outside a dedicated learning environment and formal curriculum.
- Learning and teaching support – activities that assist in the coordination of learners and resources for learning activities.
A further insight into the similarities between mobile learning and other learning innovations of the past comes from the recent Mtraining conference held in Wollongong last month, this time, from Dennis Macnamara, who provides some insights into reactions to change in education over the centuries (audio file). It’s part of a growing body of evidence that suggests ventures into m-learning should be divorced from the accompanying hype, and be based on a foundation of established teaching and learning best practice.
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