Based on a case study from an Australian Regional University, students do have access to and use a wide range of devices but the delivery of learning is short-changed when students try to access materials and activities using these devices. Online course materials are rarely optimized for use on smartphones, interacting with other students for collaboratively learning is rarely exploited. Most concerning is that none of the students surveyed were participating in educator-led mobile learning initiatives.
Here are some ways you can potentially employ to begin engaging students with mobile learning, thus leveraging what they already do.
- Allow the use of mobile devices in class
Get students to use their mobile devices for annotating lecture slides, taking notes, looking at lecture-related websites and look at lecture-related documents.
- Supply course materials in multiple file formats
To enable students to be able to annotate lecture slides (for face-to-face students) or to access notes when on the go or when grabbing portions of time opportunistically (face-to-face and distance students), notes should be provided in various formats that match the students’ study practices: not just in HTML, .doc and .ppt but also PDFs which can be annotated with many apps and can be used across various platforms and with various applications.
- Self-record lecture videos
Pre-lecture videos allow students to make use of the time when they are on the go, moving between venues, while exercising, during a commute, and so on
- Learning management systems should be mobile-friendly
In order for the learning management system (LMS) or a course website to be usable on a mobile device, it needs to be optimised for these devices.
- Make use of some apps
Students studying foreign languages other than English frequently use dictionary or language apps on their mobile devices, during class and informal study times to assist them with translating or understanding English vocabulary.
- Encourage students to form Facebook groups
Facebook groups were often spontaneously set up and administered by students in the units or programs, either on the advice of the course facilitator. Most groups are managed by being set to private, and designated administrators will grant fellow students access on request to gain entry. This ensures that all comments are private within the group and students are often protective about who they allow into these groups. Course administrators and lecturers are generally not in these spaces.
- Utilize resources that are already mobile-friendly
Many of these resources, available from sites such as YouTube or Vimeo, are often high-quality and may be produced by educators in different institutions. Make use of them!