A Study on the Use of Mobile Devices for Distance Learning
edited by: Simon K. S. Cheung, Joseph Fong, Lam-For Kwok, Kedong Li, Reggie Kwan
Often regarded as an extension of e-learning, mobile learning allows learning anywhere, anytime and on any devices. With the advent of new mobile devices with sophisticated functional features and user-friendly interfaces, students become adapted to mobile learning. This paper explores the use of mobile devices for distance learning purposes. Different types of mobile devices are reviewed with respect to the technical features, limitations and the usage in distance learning. A survey on the students’ usage of mobile devices is reported. It is found that mobile devices are commonly used by distance-learning students for learning, and that the usage is mainly on doing assignment, reading e-books, browsing the Internet, checking e-mails, chatting and social networking. The usage depends not only the technical features and limitations of the mobile devices but also the nature of the learning activities. The conventional notebook devices are most preferred in all these learning activities, except for chatting and social networking where smart-phones are more preferred. It is also found that tablet computers are not yet widely used. They are used only for reading e-books and browsing the Internet. These findings provide some useful insights for distance learning institutions in planning the technical support of mobile learning.