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Further reading on Mobile learning

UNESCO-UNEVOC has compiled a short selection of academic or professional articles that might help to clarify the signification and the use of the term "Mobile learning". It goes thus beyond the definitions stored in TVETipedia while not pretending to offer an exhaustive bibliography on the topic.

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Note from the TVETipedia team: It happened that 3 out of the 5 references introduced within this article come from the same journal, the IRRODL (International Review fo Research in Open and Distributed Learning). This is due to its open acess policy, its broad scope and diverse international editorial board, all traits that made it naturally stand out during the selection process. The IRRODL is hosted by the Athabasca University (Canada), peer-reviewed and co-edited by the UNESCO/COL/ICED chair in OER.


A key step to understanding paradigm shifts in e-learning: towards context-awareness ubiquitous learning By GI-Zen Lieu, Gwo Jean Hwang (2010)

As for E-learning, technologies are frequently used as a starting point for defining “Mobile learning” (i.e. linking the term to some types of devices, which are supposed to condition -in a specific way- the learning process, or the pedagogic aspects etc.). This peer-reviewed article provides a good example of this approach, linking “mobile learning” to “mobile/wireless devices”, and hence defining it as a transition phase between computers and networks (that led to e-learning) and technologies embedded in our environment (that will lead to “context aware u-learning”).

In the selected quotes, a figure symbolizing the “shift” from e-learning to u-learning, passing by m-learning, is transposed. It is followed by a table summing up the traits of m-learning compared to e-learning and u-learning.


What is mobile learning By Niall Winters (2006), Defining, discussing and evaluating mobile learning By John Traxler (2007)

Defining “Mobile learning” through technologies (like in the previous reference) is frequent but not consensual. Those two references refuse to only “place mobile learning somewhere on e-learning’s spectrum of portability” and offer a more holistic view on the term. The first reference is the result of a workshop where 10 experts brainstormed on “What is mobile learning”? The second reference is a peer-reviewed article aiming at “exploring the nature and possibilities of mobile learning”.

In the first set of quotes, the workshop experts identified 4 categories of common definitions, before submitting their final conceptual map. In the second set of quotes, the author of the article describes three different approaches in defining “Mobile learning”: Through a semantic opposition to e-learning, through the impact of “mobile device” beyond learning processes, and through the nature of mobility.


A pedagogical Framework for Mobile learning: Categorizing Educational Applications of Mobile Technologies into Four Types By Yeonjeong Park (2011)

The previous references aimed at defining the concept of “mobile learning” and distinguishing it from related terms like e-learning. This peer reviewed article - after defining mLearning through the e/m/u-learning spectrum – goes a step further by building 4 “categories” for Mobile Learning, based on

• the psychological distance between the teacher and the student

• the level of interaction between students

In the selected quotes, the theories behind each criterion are explained, as well as the 4 categories.


Mobile learning: Moving past the myths and embracing the opportunities By Tom H. Brown and Lydai S. Mbati(2015)

This peer-reviewed article was published in 2015 and still refer to most dimensions described by the previous references. It complements them by providing examples of "pedagogicales affordances offered by mLearning" and hence giving a concrete idea of what lies behind "Mobile learning". It also describes succintly many "emerging pedagogies" that share strong links with the concept.


See also:

  • Further reading on E-learning, and ICT, two other TVETipedia Further reading articles closely related to Mobile learning.
  • A note on the typography, from the TVETIpedia team:


This article is an element of the TVETipedia Glossary.



page date 2016-12-22






page date 2014-07-24

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