Leveraging mobile solutions to take learning beyond the classroom

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Leveraging mobile solutions to take learning beyond the classroom

Mobile learning

Professor Christopher Keyes (front) and Dr Ronnie Shroff (second row, right) celebrate with the team on winning the International Award for Excellence from Ubiquitous Learning colon An International Journal (2015)

Hong Kong – Identifying the potential of mobile applications to address pedagogical challenges, Professor Christopher Keyes of the Department of Music at Hong Kong Baptist University, established the Resource Centre for Ubiquitous Learning and Integrated Pedagogy (ULIP) with funding from the Hong Kong Government.

As explained by Professor Keyes, the director of ULIP, the main purpose of the centre is to build custom-made educational mobile apps focused on pedagogically driven design principles. ULIP team members collaborate closely with instructors to identify and respond to course-specific pedagogical requirements, in order to provide students with self-paced resources which enable them to compensate for information they currently lack, and to eventually exceed their own performance expectations.

While students in local universities are the core beneficiaries of this cross-institutional project, ULIP has made considerable progress in fostering awareness of the vast educational possibilities presented by mobile technology amongst the larger international academic community.

A paper entitled “A Proposed Taxonomy of Theoretical and Pedagogical Perspectives of Mobile Applications to Support Ubiquitous Learning”, written by Dr Ronnie Shroff, assistant director, and the team received the International Award for Excellence from Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal (2015). The paper proposes a framework in the form of a taxonomy, and demonstrates how this taxonomy can be applied to facilitate better understanding of the theoretical and pedagogical perspectives in mobile learning.

With a thorough understanding of the different theories applied to mobile learning, the team began to explore ways in which mobile technology is able to support, enrich and transform learning for a diverse community of learners and consequently, implement pedagogical practices more effectively. One of the insights from this research is that capturing and maintaining students’ attention through visual experiences and audio designs should be a vital design element, as are the aptly challenging game concepts aimed at making learning exciting and rewarding.

Dr Shroff explained that when students are engaged in game-based apps of this nature, they are not only developing and reinforcing their cognitive skills, but also constantly drawing connections between text, images and sounds. Moreover, the dissemination of information through the apps ultimately frees up valuable class-time for building higher-level cognitive skills.

Presenting media-rich learning content in this appealing and accessible way engages students in an immersive learning environment anytime and anywhere, thereby allowing user participation and knowledge dissemination in new and creative ways, and optimising communication, interaction and connectedness between students and faculty. With its ground-breaking pedagogical advances to promote learning through mobile apps, the centre has applied for the 2nd eLearning Excellence Awards 2016 in Prague and the Reimagine Education Awards 2016, aptly termed the “Oscars” for innovative higher education pedagogies enhancing learning.