Thomas Cochrane
Centre for Learning And Teaching
New Zealand


This paper explores approaches to implementing mlearning that focus upon using student-owned mobile devices to enable student-generated content (Bruns, 2008) and student-generated learning contexts (Luckin, et al., 2010). The author explores how this can be achieved and supported within the context of the variety of mobile devices available and used by students today. The paper evaluates the current options for mobile devices, and discusses an mlearning design framework that can be used to implement social constructivist pedagogy using mobile web 2.0 on a variety of student-owned mobile devices with a minimum of technical expertise from the course lecturer/s. This is informed by drawing upon examples from over thirty mlearning projects implemented by the author during the past five years, evaluated within a participatory action research methodology. Examples of mobile web 2.0 implementation outlined include integrating into the curriculum the student use of: Twitter, mportfolios, VODCasting (for example mobile videos uploaded to YouTube and Vimeo), PODCasting, the use of mobile codes, geotagging, geolocation, and Augmented Reality.

Keywords: mlearning, communities of practice, social constructivism



Mlearning is a rapidly developing form of computer assisted learning that is defined by its focus upon the mobility of the learner, and consequently the potential to frame learning within authentic situations and bridge multiple learning contexts, on and off campus, linking formal and informal learning. This is best achieved by focusing upon the unique affordances of mobile web 2.0 tools rather than replicating on a small screen what can be achieved on larger less mobile computing devices such as laptops and desktop computers.

Beyond the LMS – Pedagogical Transformation

Mlearning provides a catalyst for moving from a lecturer-directed pedagogy (Kukulska-Hulme, 2010), often characterised by a focus upon the institutions LMS (Learning Management System), to a student-centred social constructivist pedagogy where the focus is upon enabling student-generated content (Bruns, 2008) and student-generated learning contexts (Luckin, et al., 2010). Traxler (2011) defines five types of learning scenarios where mlearning has had significant impact on learning:
1. Contingent mobile learning and teaching, where learners can react and respond to their environment and their changing experiences, where learning and teaching opportunities are no longer pre-determined beforehand.
2. Situated learning, where learning takes place in surroundings that make learning meaningful.
3. Authentic learning, where learning tasks are meaningfully related to immediate learning goals.
4. Context-aware learning, where learning is informed by the history, surroundings and environment of the learner.
5. Personalised learning, where learning is customised for the interests, preferences and abilities of individual learners or groups of learners. (Traxler, 2011, pp. 6-7)

The Mobile Device Market

A focus on student-owned WMDs presents a wide range of devices that an mlearning strategy must be designed for.

However, With the rise of mobile application ecosystems many mobile web 2.0 application developers provide apps with similar functionality for the main mobile platforms. Therefore focus upon the common platforms rather than the devices!
  • Twitter
  • Mobile Blogging
  • Mobile Video
  • Mobile Audio
  • Mobile Codes
  • Augmented Reality

Examples of mobile web 2.0 implementation

Examples of mobile web 2.0 implementation outlined include integrating into the curriculum the student use of: Twitter, mportfolios, VODCasting (for example mobile videos uploaded to YouTube and Vimeo), PODCasting, the use of mobile codes, geotagging, geolocation, and Augmented Reality. Student and lecturer feedback is used to illustrate the impact of mobile web 2.0 implementation and the pedagogical changes (Garnett, 2010) that result. These examples draw upon the transformative disruption to instructivist content delivery pedagogy that student owned WMDs can enable.

#icollab11: Facilitating International Collaboration

  • Cochrane, T., Bateman, R., Buchem, I., Camacho, M., Gordon, A., Keegan, H., et al. (2011, 14th-16th November). Mlearning 2.0: Fostering International Collaboration. Paper presented at the ICERI2011: International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation, Madrid, Spain.


Mlearning can be a significant catalyst for pedagogical transformation, enabling a focus upon student-generated content and student-generated learning contexts beyond the classroom. However, the way forward for sustainable integration and implementation of mlearning in tertiary education is to create environments where student-owned devices are leveraged. The paper presents a strategy that appropriates the affordances of the platform independence of mobile web 2.0 while keeping the pedagogical goals as the key focus rather than the variety of mobile device platforms that must be supported. Based on the experience of implementing over thirty mlearning projects several key platform independent mobile web 2.0 tools and activities are presented in the paper as practical examples of what can be achieved by this approach.


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