Mobile Learning for Open and Distance Learning:

ID: 27685
Type: Invited   Topic: Other

Room: 1
Wed, Oct. 28 1:30 PM-2:30 PM

Zoraini Wati Abas, Open University Malaysia, Malaysia

Like it or not, the digital world is right here upon us. With devices becoming smaller, more powerful and cheaper, it is only natural to expect devices such as mobile phones, smart phones, MP3 and MP4 players become the focus of educators who see the potential in mobile learning. We can “push” learning materials to learners and have learners “pull” materials into their mobile devices. Many of the latest mobile phones today enable one to not only make and receive calls, send and receive text messages but also surf the Internet, interact in social networking sites and download materials for storage and retrieval later for viewing or listening while on the move. With numerous social networking sites available, interactive learning on the go will soon become popular with the provision of wireless broadband infrastructure to support all mobile phone users. Considering that many learners today are those of Gen Y, mobile learning is expected to be the next best approach to complement other modes of learning. It has the potential to add value to lectures, tutorials, learning materials, and other learning activities. It will make learning more attractive and interesting. The advantage of implementing mobile learning is clear – it is portable, convenient and almost everyone owns a mobile device. However, like all other innovations, while there may be opportunities, there are also challenges. At the Open University Malaysia, an open distance learning institution with a blended pedagogical approach, it was initially thought that mobile learning could be used where learners will “pull” content such as podcasts. However, this met with little success as learners were either concerned with the cost of downloading the content or were not interested enough to do so. Next, the university implemented the use of text messaging to direct, guide, instruct, motivate or remind the learners on what they should read, know or do. The latter was a great success and had learners asking for more. The presentation will describe both initiatives with mobile learning and how learners may now regard mobile learning as having a “tutor in the pocket.”

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