The proponents of the study were able to provide a strong basis for the experiment. The research team wanted to address a sustainability issue. They highlighted the fact that mobile learning can have an impact on distance education, especially in a multicultural environment. The research question was clearly articulated by the research team. However, the hypothesis was not made clear. It was implied, however, that those who used mobile learning technology fared better than those who were unable to have access to the said technology.
The methodology was not clearly described and therefore replication of the experiment may prove to be a challenge. The research team provided details of the selection of the participants but afterward, the description of the methods used became vague. For instance, the researchers said that 120 students participated in the study. Out of the 120 students, 12 students were chosen to have access to a mobile learning platform. But after that, only few information was given with regards to how these students were tested.
The reader had to read between the lines to understand the whole process. There was an emphasis on the religious background of the study group. The research team also highlighted the fact that there was a problem when it comes to territorial limitations as well as differences in the linguistic and cultural environments of the participants. These are important aspects of the study because it helps to prove that mobile learning transcends culture and religious differences. However, the main objective of the study was not to find out if culture and religion were hurdles when it came to distance education. The main purpose was to find out if mobile learning can ensure sustainability in e-education among a multicultural group of students.
A control group was used. The sample size was 120 students and out of that number, only 12 students were given access to a mobile learning platform. The remaining 108 students comprise the control group. They will help determine if the use of mobile technology has a significant effect on the learning capability of the students.
The control group was appropriate because the performance of this group can help verify if there is indeed a significant difference between access and non-access to a mobile learning outcome. It must also be noted that the participants were randomly assigned to the two groups. It was important to point out that the members of the respective group came from diverse social and ethnic backgrounds.
The research team wanted to find out if access to a mobile learning platform is a performance enhancer. The only problem is that one group had only 12 members while the others had 108 students. The possible explanation was that there were not enough resources to divide the sample size into equal numbers such that the control and experimental group had an equal number of participants.
The huge discrepancy in the number of students in the control group can seriously affect the validity of the experiment. This flaw was exacerbated by the fact that the research team failed to divulge the details on how they tried to measure the difference in the performances of the groups. They mentioned a particular factor that they called “play” but they did not elaborate what it meant.
Bias and Artifacts
There was no evidence to show that there was bias in the experiment. This assertion was made even if there were only 12 students that were given access to mobile devices. The belief that there was no bias was based on the assumption that the research team did not have access to all the resources that they need to develop a valid experiment. But on the other hand, it can be argued that there was bias to the superiority of those who had access to mobile technology. This may help explain why they arrayed 12 students against 108 students who had no access to mobile technology. If there was bias then the research team believed that the superior number of the students in the control group cannot overcome the learning advantage of the 12 students. Thus, the research team must provide clarification as to why there was a great disparity between the two groups.
The proponents of this study made sure that the independent variable was manipulated as described. Some students were able to have access to mobile technology while the control group was only limited to conventional methods of learning. The only problem with testing the independent variable was the number of students in the control group. The great disparity in the numbers in the experimental and control group can significantly affect the statistical analysis. For example, in the experimental group, there were only 12 students. Thus, if there is one gifted student or an exceptionally talented student then the results of the experiment can be affected by the score of that individual student. The research team simply took the average scores of the students in each group. On the other hand, if 7 students in the control group scored exceptionally well in the test phase of the experiment, the results are drowned out if 101 students underperformed them. Thus, the disparity in the numbers must be rectified to provide valid results.
The researchers were able to prove that the experimental group scored higher than the control group. The positive outcome was attributed to the capability of the experimental group to engage in a continuous learning mode. They pointed out that the control group had only six weeks to complete their given tasks but the experimental group “had the opportunity of continuous discussion and chatting with their fellow learner’s given term-end examinations” (Chandran, 2010, p.422). They had more time to prepare, interact and learn more about the subject matter.
A major flaw in the study is the disparity between the experimental and control group. The results of the experiment can be significantly affected by the small number of students in the experimental group. However, it must be pointed out that mobile technology enhanced the learning capability of the students in terms of added interaction with fellow learners and access to learning material continuously. In contrast, the control group had no access to mobile technology and therefore they could not have resources when needed.
Chandran, S. (2010). E-education in multicultural setting: the success of mobile learning. India: World Academy.