‘The Effect of Mobile Technology in Improving Knowledge Creation’ by J. Lowenthal

Introduction

The information and communications technology (ICT) has recently emerged strongly and continues to present numerous benefits to the growth of learning process and outcome, especially in higher education. This phenomenal growth has turned the learning process into an “anywhere” and “anytime” process and experience. The establishment of wireless networks and mobile technologies in the learning environment presents new and emerging means to easy access to learning information through shared services with peers, teachers, and faculty members leading a change in the concept of classroom learning and teaching. Studies indicate that the introduction and use of these technologies have far-reaching impact on the learning process of students and faculty members where educational experiences have been redefined.

However, these developments continue to pose significant challenges for students, educators, and IT specialists in designing the optimal mixes that incorporate technologies and pedagogy. The fundamental goal of creating and applying these mobile technologies should not be for the sake of technology parse , but to generate a meaningful experience that facilitate the learning process for students, and IT sector must strive to facilitate this initiatives respectively.

The effect of mobile technology in improving knowledge creation

In his study, Lowenthal (2010) examined the critical factors that influence the learning behaviors of learners’ perception and intention to use mobile technologies in a learning process. These determinants include performance expectancy, effort expectancy, and self-management of the learning process. The application of mobile learning has been cited as rapidly growing educational option to the traditional classroom scenario. Today, most organized educational conferences and other learning processes have focused on the utilization of mobile technology (Lan, Sung, & Chang, 2009).

Throughout history, the learning environment remained conditioned where classrooms were exclusively information and learning destinations. Therefore, the emerging technologies can be said to generate educational synergies unmatched by these traditional means of accessing relevant learning materials (Lan, Sung, & Chang, 2009). Although tremendous improvements have been witnessed in the recent past in respect of application technologies and pedagogies, many studies have not examined its effects on improving the knowledge creation among students and faculty members.

The study by Lowenthal (2010) attempted to explore the relationship between measurements of behavioral intentions and other determinants such as age and gender as mediating factors. The analysis of the results from the preceding study found that as individuals develop feelings that mobile learning can help in improving his or her learning ability, they agreed on the need to move toward modality as a facilitating strategy in the end. Therefore, this study reveals the strategic significance of continuous improvement in mobile technology in yielding progressive improvement in creation and development of knowledge among students and faculty members.

In a separate study, Hassan, Ismail and Mustapha (2010) examine the effect of integration of m-technology in the learning process in producing creative outcome. In their survey conducted in a Malaysian polytechnic, the researchers set out to investigate whether the application of mobile technology had statistical significance on students’ ability to yield creative learning products. The process of developing new and regenerate ideas involves the process of synthesis and simulation all facilitated by the design process. The application of mobile technology and CAD technology gives an opportunity for students to gather information easily without limitation of time and location.

Recent developments in information technology, especially mobile technology has facilitated search and utilization of information in creating and developing ideas necessary for improving talent and expertise. Experience modeling is determinate of the repetitive processes where participants engage the technology in generating new and emerging ideas. Most studies document the role played by advancements in technology in facilitating decision-making and idea generation, therefore, development of IT infrastructure should serve to achieve the objective of improved learner ability to create new learning opportunities via the IT platform as the enabler (Lan, Sung, & Chang, 2009).

The IT departments to should engage in initiatives aimed at designing technologies that can facilitate integration of knowledge and skills among learners through collaborative experiences with a view for information sharing. Critical in this process shall be the ability of the learning community and the IT teams to agree unanimously on the agenda for improved and relevant IT base that promotes information sharing and learner usability to ensure positive perception among the learning community.

The effect of mobile technology on learning perceptions

In his study, McAndrew, Taylor & Cloe (2010) noted that the pedagogical theory and practice on learning should shift to address the current demands and learning characteristics of the ever-advancing technology. Numerous studies have investigated the effects of various learning tools in creating and sustaining perceptions among the respective users. Therefore, studies of the impact mobile technology in determining the extent to which students develop learning perceptions remain critical to this study. Advancements in the mobile technology have generated greater emphasis from most researchers to determine how they influence the perceptions of learners. McAndrew, Taylor & Cloe (2010) studied numerous concepts, including awareness, pedagogical strategy-enhanced learning scenarios, and collaborative and social networking via the mobile technology learning.

The ability of students to effectively adopt and use mobile technology in accessing learning materials can improve the learner perceptions on the application tools and user interfaces utilized by the IT departments. It is critical to design mobile technology software and applications that remain relevant and user-friendly to ensure positive perception. Therefore, the application of mobile technology that enhances usability and relevance in respect of the learning needs can facilitate the generation and development of positive learner perception. Although the growth of mobile technology has the potential of enhancing learner ability, slight deviations from the user expectations can lead to a degenerated level of learners’ attitude toward not only the technology, but also the learning content and process at large. In teacher learning and training, Pianesi, Graziola, Zancanaro, & Goren-Bar (2009) suggest that learning process should emphasize the competencies established via the mobile technology to facilitate pedagogical theory and practice in the light of modern era characterized by high-tech information flow and media practice.

The conception of mobile learner developed in recent years and its superiority over the other learning perceptions (Pianesi, Graziola, Zancanaro, & Goren-Bar, 2009). In examining the concept of usability of mobile technologies McAndrew, Taylor & Cloe (2010) suggest that the use of mobile learning technologies and the interfaces and the other software especially developed for them has shown good results in unifying the results of work by all the participants of educational process forming advanced learning perceptions. Multiple researches have established that mobile teaching technologies can be beneficial learning perception for variety of educational establishments and studying approaches. A research conducted by McAndrew, Taylor & Cloe (2010) indicate that relevant strategies of learning developed for the use in mobile learning can help educators expedite the learning process and accomplish better results in the educational process

The effect of mobile technologies (i-Pad and cell phone) on Quality and Quantity of Learning

Arguably, the incorporation of advanced technology promotes the process outcome based on speed of flow of the intended outcome. The use of mobile technologies via community learning platforms has enabled the development of skill and expertise because of information sharing. The quality of a learning experience is essential for learners and educators because it is the core of the educational program (Chandran, 2010). Although the applications of mobile technologies have enhanced the production and dissemination of learning information, some researches document the eminent cases where these platforms have failed in delivering expectations of learners and educators. This means that for any form of technology to result in positive outcome with respect to learners’ performance, it should conform to the standard requirements needed to facilitate the learning process (Chandran, 2010).

Studies by Chandran (2010) explore the way mobile teaching influences the educational process for multicultural groups in a learning environment. Chadran (2010) establishes that interactive learning technologies utilized by learners enhance effective interaction among both students and teachers. However, since effective communication is key to development of an efficient information sharing and gathering, interactive technological platforms result in improved quality of the learning process. Similarly, Chandran (2010) suggest that mobile blogging systems used in community learning can be a successful tool in enhancing quality interaction in learning process among learners and the teaching fraternity.

Mobile technologies should be developed with an aim of enhancing shared services for effective and collaborative learning for students. The independent design of IT infrastructures that fail to accommodate the learners’ collaborative exercise may fail to realize the maximum benefits because of the significance of learning communities in creating value. The analysis of mobile technologies from pedagogical perspective confirms that mobile teaching process through customized platforms offers the learning community an opportunity a context of originality and authentic materials.

Therefore, pedagogical strategies can be incorporated in the learning theory and practice via the application of advanced learning mobile technologies. These learning tools have continued to receive numerous accolades for their ability to transform a learning environment from a restricted location and time-bound process toward “any time” and “anywhere” notion (Wessels, et al., 2007). Therefore, the ability of a technology to break the limits of distance and time can enhance increased participation of students as well as improved quality based on the embedded perceived good of the content by the learners and facilitators of the learning process. However, users of mobile phones remained constrained in respect of screen size and battery life. Although this technology accounts for increased number of people accessing learning activities through wireless network platforms, numerous challenges are rife, therefore, IT departments must formulate and develop channels that promote efficient access and retrieval of information via i-pads and cell phones.

Chandran (2010) investigates how mobile learning ensures sustainable e-learning in a multicultural learning setting. This study confirms that when mobile technologies are utilized in distance and e-learning processes, they improve the students’ performance over time regardless of the cultural background of the learners. Therefore, the application of mobile technologies remains an independent factor in the learning process aimed at promoting the value of the outcome as shown by improved student participation and performance (Lai, 2007).

The distinction between mobile learning and e-learning

In comparing e-learning and mobile learning, (Wessels, et al., 2007) signals the supremacy of mobile learning over e-learning approach in delivering learning outcome among students and educators. The users’ intention to select e-learning is driven by the need to acquire specific knowledge and skills where the user devices are tethered or connected to something. Ordinarily, e-learning offers a learning situation that is more formal and structural compared to mobile learning, in which the learner customizes the learning service to suit his or her needs (Wessels et al., 2007). Although technological advancements have enabled e-learning to become more mobile, mobile technologies remain extra portable and mobile to learners, and is often unconnected, informal and less structured.

The study of mobile device technologies lead to a fine question that revolves around the migration of information and learning content from a central learning environment to various locations and devices. Although the application of mobile technologies is a feasible solution to the challenges faced by conventional learning practice, their limitation of the size of the screens compared to PCs and e-learning content makes it unlikely to become a more sustainable commercial practice. Numerous studies on the application of e-learning and mobile-driven applications in delivering learning materials reveal eminent shortcomings.

Mobile technologies are increasingly becoming inevitable tools, which in educational cycles, can be seen as an effective service that delivers electronic educational content to the learning community without restrictions of time and place. Therefore, this essential description offers a basic difference between elements of e-learning and m-learning. These technologies have attempted to provide solutions to the challenges provided by the historical classroom situations, including the support of instant student guidance and independent learning

The future of mobile learning

In the recent past, e-learning has increased its usage in distant education, which focuses on learning across various contexts. These applications are primarily concerned with the utilization of ICT platforms and the mobility of the learner (Wessels, et al., 2007). The cost and the accessibility of information and other learning materials have proven less costly with the ever-increasing utilization of these technological advancements in the mobile industry. The use of e-learning is instantaneous, especially where students access similar content leading to immediate feedback. The evolution of mobile networks in carrying out communication and learning process have led to the development of platforms that enhance access to knowledge, collaboration, and performance support to students. Mobile and e-learning programs share great similarities.

However, inherent differences are eminently inevitable when defining some of the key elements of these two forms of learning technologies. The mobile user interfaces have enabled proper utilization of external learning environment through field trips and experimental learning. Studies completed by numerous researchers acknowledge that the application of mobile technologies by utilizing its computing and wireless capabilities can ascertain authenticity, lead to expedient, real-time, efficient, accessible, and convenient learning for students. The growth in the development and use of mobile technologies as witnessed over the last decade confirms that its use is expected to increase considerably (Rekkedal & Dye, 2007).

Previous studies and analysis of literature show that learning centers, students, schools, and educators have increased their utilization of mobile technologies in promoting their educational engagement. However, the analytical surveys for the change in perceptions of students using mobile technologies indicate that individuals are more willing to engage the advanced technologies to improve on their knowledge creation and development. Currently, the harmonization of the pedagogical practice and learning procedures with the IT platforms used in mobile technology implies a sustainable mobile technology in the feasible future (Rekkedal & Dye, 2007).

Recent changes in the development of device technology and the rate of utilization and the changes in market dynamics have developed to converge with the developments in some components of pedagogy. This convergence of these two critical elements of educational practice and device development necessitates the need for educational professionals to engage constantly in the processes of designing and development of mobile device technologies. Survey of the Learning and Skills Development Agency reveals an adoption rate of approximately 90% among people aged 15 o 19 years and about 81% among ages 20 to 24. According to Gaved et al. (2010), although studies have explored the widespread technologies in the mobile industry, limited studies have investigated their extensive application in the development of educational theory and practice.

The ever-changing strategic demands of the learning environment are critically important in determining the future of mobile technologies. The evolving learning circumstances with an increasing focus on expanding the participation of learners through promoting new audiences remain a fundamental element in dictating the future applicability of portable learning technologies, including mobile technologies Gaved et al. (2010). Wireless technology is envisaged to becoming more affordable, faster, and commonly adopted in future as individuals, homes, and corporate move toward adopting and utilizing Wi-Fi technologies, and share technological devices and networks around places of work as well as homes.

The fast growing technologies in the mobile industry shall see the development of future versions that shall conveniently merge with the current functionalities such as information accessibility, organization, entertainment and effective communication to realize more robust and efficient learning platform enabled by advancements in mobile technologies (Rekkedal & Dye, 2007).

Summary of critique

The analysis of the literature related to previous studies show that all the studies revolved around the role of mobile technologies in facilitating learning process. In addition, studies found that the developments in mobile device technologies have influence on the performance of students. However, no studies involved the investigation of the effect of mobile learning technologies on varied educational mixes and levels among students.

Problem statement/Research questions

The current study aims at exploring the effect of application of mobile technology on educational process. The research literature under this study develops the research background to understand the connection between mobile technologies in determining the developments in pedagogical practice and improvement of learning processes. The discussion and critical analysis of the selected literature shall provide a basis for creating an initial insight into the nature and scope of mobile technologies and their possible effect on educational processes. With a view to achieve the purpose of the study, the current study develops the main research question, “What is the effect of mobile learning technology on development of educational process for varied educational establishments and study levels?” This research question helps in establishing a framework for analysis of the study findings with critical emphasis on the vital connection between the study aspects.

References

Chandran, S. (2010). E-Education in Multicultural Setting: The Success of Mobile Learning. World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, 70, 419-422. Web.

Gaved, M.,et al. (2010). Using netbooks to support mobile learners’ investigations across activities and places. The Journal of Open and Distance Learning, 25(3), 187–200. doi:10.1080/02680513.2010.511949.

Hassan, I. S., Ismail, M. A., & Mustapha, R. (2010). The Effects of Integrating Mobile and CAD Technology in Teaching Design Process for Malaysian Polytechnic Architecture Student in Producing Creative Product. The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 9(4), 162-172.

Lai, C.-H., Yang, J.C., Chen, F.C., Ho, C. W., & Chanet, T. W. (2007). Affordances of mobile technologies for experiential learning: the interplay of technology and pedagogical practices. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 23, 326–337. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2729.2007.00237.x

Lan, Y. J., Sung, Y. T., & Chang, K. E. (2009). A mobile-device-supported peer-assisted learning system for collaborative early EFL reading. Language Learning & Technology, 11(3), 130-151. Web.

Lowenthal, J. (2010). Using Mobile Learning: Determinates Impacting Behavioral Intention. The American Journal of Distance Education, 24(4), 195–206. doi:10.1080/08923647.2010.519947.

McAndrew, P., Taylor, J., & Clow, D. (2010). Facing the challenge in evaluating technology use in mobile environments. The Journal of Open and Distance Learning, 25(3), 233–249. doi:10.1080/02680513.2010.511959.

Pianesi, F., Graziola, I., Zancanaro, M., & Goren-Bar, D. (2009). The motivational and control structure underlying the acceptance of adaptive museum guides – An empirical study. Interacting with Computers, 21, 186–200. doi:10.1016/j.intcom.2009.04.002.

Rekkedal, T. & Dye, A. (2007). Mobile distance learning with PDAs: Development and testing of pedagogical and system solutions supporting mobile distance learners. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 8(2), 1-21.

Wessels, A., Fries, S., Horz, H. Scheele, N., & Effelsberg, W. (2007). Interactive lectures: Effective teaching and learning in lectures using wireless networks. Computers in Human Behavior, 23(5), 252–253. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2006.05.001.