Darrell A. Dromgoole, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
Scott Cummings, Associate Department Head and Program Leader; Professor and Extension Specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
The proliferation of mobile technology provides numerous opportunities to support clientele learning. With mobile technology, the learning environment can go with the clientele to the field site, to the gym, or to the kitchen. There is an opportunity to leverage mobile technology to better support clientele participating in traditionally delivered face-to-face educational meetings, but also as clientele navigate to the context of their learning. While mobile devices are increasingly being used for learning in the academic setting (Lacina, 2008; Meurant, 2010; Sheppard, 2011), there is enormous potential for their use in Extension education.
Elearning was transformed by the internet and now it is being redefined by the power of mobile wireless technologies (McGreal, 2009). There were 6 billion mobile subscriptions globally by the end of 2011 and in developing countries a majority of people access the Internet from their mobile devices (International Telecommunication Union, 2012). Canalys (2012) reported that smartphones numbers overtook client PCs in 2011. This has provided educators an opportunity to deliver meaningful learning via the mobile device (Martin & Ertzberger, 2013). Quinn (2000) defined Mlearning as “the intersection of mobile computing and e-learning and includes anytime, anywhere resources; strong search capabilities, robust interaction, educator support for effective learning, and performance-based assessment. Mobile devices include iPads, tablets and smartphones, and this article focuses on aspect of mobile learning termed “here and now mobile learning”.
The concept of here and now learning is more than decade old and has widely been researched as situated learning (Lave & Wenger, 1991). However, mobile devices have added a new dimension and capabilities to situated learning (Martin & Ertzberger, 2013). Some of the mobile functionalities that help in situated learning include (1) geospatial technologies, (2) mobile search, (3) use of camera for image capture (4) social networking (Greer, 2009). Enrichment of context-aware technologies has enabled clientele to learn in an environment that integrates learning resources from both the real world and the digital world (Chen & Huang, 2012).
Situated learning requires knowledge to be presented in authentic contexts (Martin & Ertzberger, 2013). This is based on the concept of situated cognition, which explains that knowledge cannot be known and fully understood independent of its context (David, Chalon, Champalle, Massarey & Yin, 2007). Lave (1988) explained that most learning occurs naturally through activities, contexts, and cultures. With the ability to access information, and produce information from their own observations easily with these new mobile technologies, Extension educators can assign clientele in the field, home, office, kitchen or gym location based activities.
Greer (2009) defined location-based learning as“a type of knowledge transfer based on location-based intelligence enabled by wirelessly networked interfaces and sensors adapting to the presence of the user at a specific location”. Though definitions on location-based learning and context-based learning are available, there is no clear definition of here and now mobile learning.
In order to represent the effect here and now mobile learning has on the learning environment; a three characteristic framework was created (Martin & Ertzberger, 2013). In the following sections, we review the characteristics of the above framework (Fig. 1).
Figure 1. Here and now learning characteristic (Martin & Ertzberger, 2013).
Here and now learning has the ability to engage clientele because of its authentic learning and context based applications (Martin & Ertzberger, 2013). Traditional work on engagement in education refers to specific procedures, strategies, and skills that instructors should implement in order to obtain the engagement of students (McMahon & Portelli, 2004). It has been argued that in today’s current culture of video games and interactive entertainment, clientele, especially 4-H youth, have come to expect a high level of engagement during their learning activities (Martin & Ertzberger, 2013). Prensky (2001) stated that, “It is now clear that as a result of this ubiquitous environment and the sheer volume of their interaction with it, today’s students think and process information fundamentally differently from their predecessors.” (p. 1). Most instructional design theorists agree that engagement is essential (Martin & Ertzberger, 2013). In a look at most instructional design models, all contain some component of getting the learner’s attention (Martin & Ertzberger, 2013). Robert Gagne’s nine events of instruction begin with gaining the learner’s attention (Gagne, 2005). Reiser and Dick suggest that motivation be the first thing considered in a unit of instruction (Reiser & Dick, 1996). John Keller’s popular ARCS’ model of motivation begins with getting the attention of your learners (Gagne, 2005, p. 115). Researcher Robert Marzano pointed out how corrective, timely feedback can be one of the best strategies an instructor can use (Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock, 2001, p. 96).
Here and now learning provides this engagement using new and robust devices (Martin & Ertzberger, 2013). In the academic world research has shown that mobile game-based learning can engage students and through that engagement provide more knowledge over pupils who received regular project based instruction (Huizenga, Admiraal, Akkerman, & Dam, 2009). Mobile learning allows consistent involvement with other professionals, regardless of their geographical, cultural, or socio-political isolation (Beckmann, 2010). This involvement increases engagement, and leads into authentic activities by participants (Martin & Ertzberger, 2013).
The basis of here and now framework is that knowledge should be situated within the context of authentic tasks because learning can be influenced in fundamental ways by the context in which it takes place (Bransford, 2000). Authentic activities are the only way clientele can gain access to the type of environment that enables them to act meaningfully and purposefully (Brown & Duguid, 2002). A mobile-based learning environment, by virtue of its mobility, will provide scaffolding WHEN and WHERE clientele need it whether in a face-to-face setting or in the field (Martin & Ertzberger, 2013). Mobile technology can sustain the learning environment regardless of where the clientele or are physically situated (Martin & Ertzberger, 2013).
New mobile devices make authentic activities easier than ever to produce (Martin & Ertzberger, 2013). Mobile devices are available to be used in any context, and can draw on those contexts to enhance the learning experience. Mobile devices can support clientele by allowing the clientele to maintain their attention to the context and by offering appropriate assistance when required (Martin & Ertzberger, 2013). Here and now learning supports both access and production of information, since clientele have the opportunity to create content as well as receive it (Martin & Ertzberger, 2013). Clientele can make notes of their perceptions, document observations from the field and develop their own location-based projects to share with others (NMC, 2009). Clientele doing fieldwork can acquire variety of information from the location and reinforce the connection between the accessed information (theoretical knowledge) to the environment (situated knowledge) (Martin & Ertzberger, 2013). These authentic learning activities also include many forms of informal learning (Martin & Ertzberger, 2013).
Informal learning refers to learning that takes place naturally and without directed effort (Martin & Ertzberger, 2013). Frank Smith (1998) calls this type of learning Classical Learning, and defines it as learning from people around us that we identify with. Smith (1998) also states that this learning occurs even without individuals knowing that they are learning. Because of mobile technologies ability to work within the specific context and environment of the learning, it has the ability to increase the ease of informal learning (Martin & Ertzberger, 2013).
Numerous studies have reported that here and now learning can be an effective instructional strategy (Martin & Ertzberger, 2013). In here and now learning research studies, students have shown significantly improved post-test scores (Chen & Huang, 2012), improved learning outcomes (Wu, Hwang, Su, & Huang, 2012), and significant positive results in terms of the students’ learning (Ju-Ling, Chien-Wen, & Gwo-Jen, 2010).
Ubiquitous learning is described as context sensitive anyhow, anytime , anywhere learning using ubiquitous devices (Martin & Ertzberger, 2013). Chen, Chang & Wang (2008) refer to the term “ubiquitious learning environment” as a setting that allows learning with various mobile devices. Schroerder and Haskell (2011) describe ulearning as social media plus mobile learning. Huang, Po-Sheng, Liu and Tzung-Shi (2011) developed a list of ulearning characteristics. Some of these characteristics are applicable to here and now learning.
Mobile technology opens the door for a new kind of learning in Extension education, providing anytime and anywhere access to information, processes, and communication.
Beckmann, E. (2010). Learners on the move: Mobile Modalities in Development Studies. Distance Education, 31(2), 159-173.
Bransford, J. (2000). How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School. Washington DC: National Academy Press.
Brown, J. & Duguid, P. (2002). The Social Life of Information. Boston: Harvard Business School.
Canalys, (2012). Smartphones overtake client PCs in 2012. Retrieved online at http://www.canalys.com/newsroom/smart-phones-overtake-client-pcs-2011.
Chen, G., Chang, C. & Wang, C. (2008). Ubiquitous Learning Websites: Scaffold Learner by Mobile Devices with Information-ware Techniques. Computers and Education, 50 (1), 77-90.
Chen, C. & Huang, T. (2012). Learning in a u-Museum: developing a context-aware ubiquitous learning environment. Computer & Education, 59 (3), 873-883.
David, B., Chalon, R., Champalle, O., Massarey, G. & Yin, C. (2007). Contextual Mobile Learning: a step further to mastering professional appliances. IEEE Multidisciplinary Engineering Magazine, 2(3), 5-9.
Gagne, R. (2005). Principles of Instructional Design.(5th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/ Thomson.
Greer, T. (2009). Learning on the fourth screen: Innovations in loca, tion-based learning. Retrieved online at http://api.ning.com/files/Gs5aYnX-mNwygsk-cA58tG5pfiH6qaILCnF1GHra2VE_/locationbasedlearning.pdf.
Huang, Y-M., Po-Sheng, C., Liu, T-C., & Tzung-Shi, C. (2011). The Design and Implementation of a Meaningful Learning-based Evaluation Method for Ubiquitous Learning. Computers & Education, 57(4), 2291-2302.
Huizenga, J., Admiraal, W., Akkerman, S., & Dam, G. (2009). Mobile Game-based Learning in Secondary Education: Engagement, Motivation, and Learning in a Mobile City Game. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning. 25(4). 332-344.
Ju-Lin, S, Chien-Wen, C., & Gwo-Jen, H. (2010).An Inquiry-based Mobile Learning approach to Enhancing Social Science Learning Effectiveness. Journal of Educational Technology and Society, 13 (4), 50-62.
Lacina, R. (2008). Technology in the classroom: learning English with IPods. Childhood Education. 84 (1), 247-249.
Lave, J. (1988). Cognition in practice: Mind, Mathematics, and Culture in Everyday Life. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University.
Lave, J. & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Martin, F., & Ertzberger, J. (2013). Here and now mobile learning: An experimental study on the use of mobile technology. Computers and Education, 68 (October, 2013), 76-85.
Marzano, R, Pickering, D., & Pollock, J. (2001). Classroom Instruction that Works: Research-based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
McGreal, R. (2009). Mobile devices and the future of free education. Conference proceedings.
Meurant, R. (2010). IPad Tablet Computing to Foster Korean EFL Digital Literacy. International Journal of u- and e-Service, Science and Technology. 3(4), 49-62.
Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon, 9 (5), 1-6.
Reiser, R & Dick, W. (1996). Instructional Planning: A Guide for Teachers (2nd ed.). Boston: Ally and Bacon.
Scheoder, B. & Haskell, C. (2011). Micro-cycles: Course Design Models for Mobile Learning. In I.L. Chen, & T. Kidd (Eds), Ubiquitous Learning: A Survey of Applications, Research, and Trends.
Sheppard, D. (2011). Reading with IPads- the difference makes a difference. Education Today. 3, 12-15.
Smith, F. (1998). The book of Learning and Forgetting. New York: Teachers College Press.
Quinn, C. (2000). Mlearning: Mobile, Wireless, in-your-pocket learning. LineZine: Learning in the New Economy e-magazine.
Wu, P., Hwang, G., & Chu, H. (2012). A Context-aware Mobile Learning System for Supporting Cognitive Apprenticeships in Nursing Skills Training. Journal of Educational Technology and Society. 15 (1), 223-236.