Article 1 – Here and Now Mobile Learning

Here and Now Mobile Learning: An Experimental Study on the Use of Mobile Technology

Mobile devicesMobile technology is transforming where learning can occur.  Students are no longer limited to learning inside the confines of the four walls of the traditional classroom.  The environment in which students learn is portable and available anytime with mobile technology.  This study focused on a new term “here and now mobile learning” and how the internet is changing the e-learning with new mobile technologies.  The purpose of the study was to explore student achievement and attitude with two different technologies, computer based instruction (CBI) and mobile learning with either tablets or smartphones/iPods.

The research was a quasi-experimental study of 109 undergraduate preservice students in an instructional design/instructional technology course.  Students were surveyed on their mobile device ownership and percentage of their time using mobile devices.  The population was divided over 8 sections of the same course and into one of three treatment groups using CBI, iPads, or iPods.  The procedure of the study followed a pretest, an intervention using one of the three treatments, a posttest, and an attitude survey of the students’ learning experience.

The materials used within the study involved two art lessons in which students observed five paintings with the name of the artist, the artwork, the medium, and style of the art all provided for the students to view.  The students in the computer based treatment viewed the paintings and went back to the classroom to then read about the paintings.  In the mobile treatments both the iPad and iPod treatments had their mobile device with them as they were viewing the artwork and also could read about the paintings.  The difference between the iPad and iPod treatments is the iPad materials were easier to read with the information zoomed out when compared to the iPods.

The results of the study contradicted prior research into the use of CBI and mobile technology for student learning.  Prior studies indicate learning is supported when multiple channels of audio and visual cues are provided to assist the learner.  The CBI treatment group scored higher than the mobile treatment group between the pre and posttests.  The research concludes how students may have been overloaded and distracted with mobile devices in the learning environment.  The results are not conclusive and further studies were suggested because of these contradictory results and overall limited research for the framework of “here and now mobile learning.”

While reflecting upon the article and the use of mobile technologies for learning, I was reminded of a common push among many districts for a bring your own device policy.  If the results of this study provide any insight into mobile technology use in the classroom, then allowing mobile devices may not be the best policy for students?  Students are motivated with new mobile technology and the power of “here and now mobile learning” environments.  As a result of new mobile learning environments, students are afforded the opportunity to connect with the content, collaborate among students, create projects, and interact with the real-world at any time.

The ubiquitous nature of technology is a powerful resource to engage students with the content.  However, the attitude of student engagement and their overall performance may not be correlated.  The distraction of iPods, smartphones, tablets, mini-tablets, and other computing devices in the classroom is still being researched to their effectiveness.  As students’ learning style changes and education adapts to the needs of students, I believe there will be many studies in the future on the effectiveness of “here and now learning.”  Creating a learner-centered environment with instructional technology will continue to be a focus of administrators and teachers alike.  My goal is to move out of the classroom and into technology department working to identify ways to keep students engaged in the content and remove distractions with and from mobile technologies.


Martin, F., & Ertzberger, J. (2013). Here and now mobile learning: An experimental study on the use of mobile technology. Computers & Education, 68, 76-85.

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