Monthly Archives: January 2014

M-learning design analysis phase: some questions to ask

I thought I’d share here what I have just said to my mobile learning students about the analysis phase of the mobile design process.

You have to investigate the characteristics of the learners that it will serve, and the course, program, and organizational context in which it will be situated. You want to ask the right questions to create the right solution for the educational problem you identify. Regardless of the instructional design method or process you adopt, you should start by asking these fundamental questions:

  1. What is the specific educational/performance problem and corresponding educational needs to be targeted?
  2. Is mobile learning the answer? Why do you want the learning materials to be available on mobile devices?
  3. What are the characteristics of the target population and the specific teaching and learning context (its unique requirements and limitations, including time, location, wireless infrastructure, access to power, group/personal attitude and learning goals, etc.)?
  4. Are students and faculty ready to use mobile devices for learning? What is their m-learning experience? What are their mobile habits? What devices with what capabilities do they own? What are their attitudes toward mobile learning?
  5. What is the appropriate theoretical framework for the design of this educational intervention? What learning/teaching approach is optimal for this educational setting?
  6. What learning experience is being targeted? Is the learning experience going to be different on phones versus tablets, smartphones versus dumb phones?

Subsequent, you would move onto questions concerning the design of the actual mobile learning unit/object/artifact, for instance:

  1. What is the desired theoretical construct (the ideal to guide the design)?
  2. What comparable interventions have been identified in literature? What are the characteristics of their design?
  3. What type of interaction and communication strategies, if any, are you going to incorporate in your solution? What type of assessment and feedback exchange, if any? What structure, materials, resources and supports are going to incorporate?
  4. Other questions that emerge in the dialogue with stakeholders.

And do not treat lightly the organizational analysis, which deserves a separate post altogether. 

Special Section on Mobile Learning – RUSC. Universities and Knowledge Society Journal

Dr. Mohamed Ally co-edited this Special Section in this open access bilingual refereed research e-journal: RUSC. Universities and Knowledge Society Journal.

The articles include:

  1. What is the future of mobile learning in education? Mohamed Ally, Josep Prieto-Blázquez
  2. Mobile learning in the field of Architecture and Building Construction. A case study analysis – Ernest Redondo, David Fonseca, Albert Sánchez, Isidro Navarro
  3. Mobile learning: a collaborative experience using QR codes Meritxell Monguillot Hernando, Carles González Arévalo, Montse Guitert Catasús, Carles Zurita Mon
  4. Student projects empowering mobile learning in higher education      Àngels Rius, Robert Clarisó, David Masip
  5. M-learning patterns in the virtual classroom Fernando A. López, María Magdalena Silva
  6. A comparative study of computer and mobile phone-mediated collaboration: the case of university students in Japan Gibran Alejandro Garcia

The articles presents an overview of successful m-learning initiatives in higher education share best practices for integrating mobile learning in universities.

The History of Education [Infographic]

The History of Education [Infographic]

To understand where we’re heading in education and edtech, it’s important to look back at our educational roots. As we searched for some of most memorable moments and discoveries in the history of education, we found there are lots of things that haven’t changed in hundreds of years! The […]

Educational Design Research: Designing Mobile Learning Interventions for Language Learners

by Agnieszka Palalas & Terry Anderson
This chapter presents a case of an EDR study completed at a Canadian college and resulting in developing an innovative educational intervention, Mobile–Enabled Language Learning Eco-System, as well as corresponding design principles. The first section provides an overview of the educational problem targeted by the study, its purpose and outcomes (further elaborated in Study Results). The description of the EDR methodology then follows including its phases, cycles and micro-cycles. With emphasis given to the praxis of EDR, the Reflections section revisits the main features of the EDR method as distilled from our study.
** EDR=DBR=Design-based Research

The complete online book on educational design research has been published today online. Both, Part A and Part B are available on

Creative Commons & Copyright: Free Stuff to Spice Up Your Training – 2014 Edition – presentation by Michelle Lentz

I have seen Michelle’s presentations and always came out with new ideas and knowledge. Have a look at this SlideShare presentation in which Michelle explains some key notions of Creative Commons & Copyright. Links to repositories of “free” images and multimedia are included. Thank you Michelle. Click and enjoy!

The Psychology of Microlearning: Why it Works

The Psychology of Microlearning: Why it Works

Like fashion or music, corporate learning isn’t without its fads. And why not? Corporations are always looking for ways to educate and train employees. But don’t make the mistake of labeling microlearning a type of educational fad. While it may be packaged in a modern way, it’s actually a learning method proven by psychological and neurological studies. By understanding how the mind reacts to snippets of information, you can better see why microlearning is a viable method – never a fad.

Learner Motivation

What would you rather sit through: A long, boring lecture or a five minute interactive video? It’s a no-brainer. By utilizing microlearning as a method for corporate education, you motivate your learners by giving the ability to get through courses and training quickly. The ability to break off and digest information in chunks is much less daunting than a textbook of information, which means learners are more likely to be motivated to try.

Sense of Accomplishment

Similarly, the accomplishment one feels after completing a task can be called upon again and again when microlearning is used in place of more traditional training. From a quick video to reading a few flash cards or even taking a quick quiz, micro-lessons make learners feel accomplished. The result is a positive connection between the material and the learner.

Sensory Retention

Certain senses have short-term storage. Ocular retention, for example, is usually short because the eyes are constantly receiving new pictures and information. Therefore, the more senses activated by the learning process, the better the information retention. Reading a report only requires one sense, but watching and hearing a video and then sharing it on social networking takes three. The result is short-term memory more efficiently converted to long-term retention – a major boon for training and educational purposes.


Mobile Learning Part 1: Designing it right [GUIDE]

Mobile Learning Part 1: Designing it right [GUIDE]

Mobile learning has pushed beyond the ‘what if’ hype to ‘what now’ – how do we make this work for real. Our guide on designing mobile e-learning focuses on just that, with:

  • 10 design tips for designing mobile e-learning to make an impact
  • 10 examples of where and how to use mobile to best effect

It’s part one of a series of free guides on mobile learning in practice.

Download Mobile Learning Guide Part 1 (10.47MB, PDF)

Part 2: Implementing Mobile Learning – helping you with the decision making process around tools and technologies.

Part 3: Creating Mobile Learning – a step-by-step guide to writing and developing your mobile learning.

The Learning Revolution: It’s Not About Education

The education system is changing. Established teaching methodologies are reaching their limits in most developed countries. New requirements are needed. In the search for solutions, technology is playing an increasingly prominent role — allowing for new approaches such as the “inverted classroom,” Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS) and “mobile learning”. We keep hearing of an “education revolution” — one in which technology will bring upon a radical transformation in schools and universities.

There are certainly great hopes for a change to the better but recent news are somewhat discouraging. Some even spoke of a “backlash” after Udacity, one of the most ambitious projects to revolutionize higher education, changed course towards corporate customers. Other, less well-known initiatives are also struggling: I recently spoke on a panel about “the future of education” together with a manager from a large publishing house that develops new digital products for schools and a CEO of a startup that built an adaptive software tool for maths education. Both discussed ways to persuade governments, ministries and committees to use their newest tools. But even to run a test involves a sales cycle of way more than a year — not exactly the pace of a revolution.

Education Will Change With the Way We Learn

Real changes and disruptions usually come “from below”: through the individual decisions of the many rather than through sweeping decrees from the government. From the car to the internet to the tablet to the iPhone — that is, in all the great upheavals that new technologies have created in our lifestyle, culture, and working environment — it has been the many individuals that have decided to adopt changes, not the politicians.


Implementing Effective Mobile Learning Infographic

Implementing Effective Mobile Learning Infographic

Implementing-Effective-Mobile-Learning-Infographic January 7th, 2014 comments Mobile Learning Infographics

Find more education infographics on e-Learning Infographics

How We Are Entering The Second Phase Of The Mobile Revolution

How We Are Entering The Second Phase Of The Mobile Revolution

How We Are Entering The Second Phase Of The Mobile RevolutionThink your smartphone is smart? You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet. The technology that powers mobile is in the process of spreading, well, everywhere—and the world around us is going to be radically transformed as a result.

Think of it as the next big phase in the evolution of mobile computing. Cars, televisions, factories, clothes and other wearable items … you name it, and the innovations that were developed for smartphones are going to help define the new things they’ll do and how you’ll use them.

The first phase of mobile was about turning our cellphones into what are essentially powerful pockets PCs. This posed unique challenges because of the size of the device and data connectivity issues. Over the past seven years (dating from the launch of the first iPhone), engineers worked to make everything smaller and faster while software developers created apps and systems to turn a cellphone into an “everything” device. The second phase will be to take that concept of everything and spread it everywhere. The connected home, the smart car, the television and commerce are all being informed by the advances that have been made in mobile.

We’re not talking about mundane advances in single areas like improved operating systems or apps. The proliferation is more ubiquitous than that. The next phase of mobile will result from continuing rapid advances in just about every technology that makes it possible for that device in your hand to query huge remote databases and perform complex calculations—all so you can figure out the fastest way home from work or play a round of Angry Birds. […]