Mobile Learning in Distance Education: Utility or Futility
Letkeman McQuilkin, Janice
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Can mobile technology improve flexibility and quality of interaction for graduate students in distance programs? This paper reports the results of an innovative study exploring the usability, learning, and social interaction of mobile access to online course materials at a Canadian distance education university. Through a system called MobiGlam, students accessed Moodle course materials on a variety of mobile devices. The Framework for the Rational Analysis of Mobile Education (FRAME) model (Koole, 2006) was used to examine the complexities of this mobile system, its perceived usefulness, and potential impact on distance students. The researchers recommend further study of the balance between the controls and constraints of social technologies and the needs of distance students. Is there a way to achieve a balance so as to encourage adaptation to new technologies and a greater sense of “connectedness” among learners? As a result of the study, the researchers remain supportive of “device-agnostic” mobile tools that permit the greatest freedom of choice to distance learners.