Attitudes Toward Mobile Learning Split Down Socioeconomic Lines

By Henry Kronk.

When it comes to online education, developers are constantly looking for ways to engage students and provide for an easier, more seamless learning experience. Online learning can be isolating, and research shows that students learn more effectively and perform better when they do so in a social and interesting manner.

In 2017, educators and startups have tried a variety of new ways to educate their learners. Med schools, K-12 classes, and Kentucky Fried Chicken have implemented virtual reality (VR), others have sought to gamify their learning modules, and MSU has mounted live streaming computers on self-balancing robots to bring remote students into some graduate education classes.  But there’s one strategy that has been a constant source of debate: the use of mobile phones and social media in the learning process.  A Large Body of Research Supports Mobile Learning

In 2012, the learning management system (LMS) giant, Blackboard, released a report detailing how the use of mobile learning and social media can create a personalized learning experience. BYOD (bring your own device) education was becoming viable, and parent/teacher support is changing in its favor, the report stated. “The prospect of a wireless device in every student’s hand with real-time assessment and feedback presents the potential for a sweeping paradigm shift to learner-centered education,” it said.

A study conducted by a team of Taiwanese researchers published this year titled “Exploring the Effects of Online Academic Help-Seeking and Flipped Learning on Improving Students’ Learning,” came to similar conclusions.
Mobile Learning“The researchers in this study measured the effects of innovative adoption of mobile technology and help-seeking on improving students’ learning psychology, such as their involvement, self-efficacy, and self-directed learning, in this online computing course. Therefore, the integration and implementation of [online academic help-seeking] and [flipped learning] could provide comprehensive implications for educators to design their future online or blended courses and help their students to involve themselves in the course,” the report found.

These are just two examples of a vast body of research that finds, primarily one of two main conclusions:

1) The use of mobile devices will play an instrumental role in education in the future, if not today.
2) Both the use and the model of social media creates an engaging setting in which students tend to perform better.
By and large, most arguments that support mobile learning and social media are still controversial. As a result, many who voice these arguments heavily ground their views in research.

Dissenting Voices

But despite this body of academic and professional research, many teachers, parents, administrators, and learners themselves seek to avoid or forbid both these tools in the educational process.  Read the full article