Monday, 12 September 2011

MOOC on mobile learning at OUM

Mobile learning at OUM started with the formation of an research team on m-learning in August 2008. Its first task was to determine how ready OUM learners would be for mobile learning. We surveyed almost 3,000 learners throughout Malaysia and found that more than 80 percent of the learners said they would be ready for learning through their mobile phones. We first experimented with podcasts and moved on to using sms to support the blended mode of learning at OUM and found that the latter worked extremely well.

For more information on the m-learning project at OUM, three papers have been uploaded at: for your reading.

More than 21,000 learners have benefited from m-learning at OUM and the SMS for selected courses continue to be sent for free (burned by the university) to the targeted group of learners.


boruett said...

This is a great piece of work and i think we in the developing countries should give it a try. Mobile technology is quite developed in my country, Kenya,and now mobile banking, cash transanctions are now in full gear. I think it mobile learning is viable

Zoraini Wati Abas, Ed.D. said...

The potential of using mobile devices for learning is certainly there. The more important element is how we use them to produce the desired learning. Hence, designing the instruction or activities to support the learning using mobile devices must be well thought of. Are you an educator? Is there an area you would like to consider having mobile learning support the learning process of students?

Brett said...

boruett, you may wish to read how this is being done, via SMS and radio

Louise Lee said...

Thanks for sharing your findings on using the SMS technology at Open University Malaysia (OUM). Given the high mobile penetration rate, I agree with you that mobile technology does have lots of potentials. From your papers, I've also learned a lot about the various support and administrative functions of the SMS technology.

However, my skepticism regarding the studies at this point remains to be whether there are or will be more objective measures, other than student satisfaction, to measure the effectiveness of the SMS technology. The studies reported that “56.5% of the students agrees that they “remembered facts easily (Content), 67.8 percent implied that they got useful hints/strategies on how to proceed with their learning (Tips), 63.9 percent felt encouraged after reading the motivation quotes (Motivation) and 77.9 percent reported that they were reminded of important details related to the course (Course Management).

However, compared to previous courses without the use of the SMS technology, does the support system provided by such technology indeed
a) improve learners' academic performance;
b) increase the amount of discussion board participation;
c) promote persistence (lower dropout rates);
d) lead to a decrease in late assignments or etc?

Louise Lee

Zoraini Wati Abas said...

Dear Louise,

Sorry for the delayed response. I'd been on the road and missed seeing this before today.

You pose some very interesting and relevant questions. To answer them, we'd have to be able to control a number of variables. For example, we typically have 1,500-2,000 students enrolled for one of the courses supported by mobile at any one time. They are spread over 50+ learning centers throughout the country and each learning centre may have different tutors providing the f2f sessions. Other factors could also contribute to persistence or dropout rates and may not necessarily due to the SMSes received. Discussions are also managed by different tutors at any one time. It would be challenging indeed. If you have suggestions, we'd be glad to receive them.

Karen Ferreira-Meyers said...

Thanks for sharing this and your articles/presentations, Zoraini. Very interesting. I agree with Louise Lee about the methodological aspects of your research, but I also fully understand your response regarding the amount of parameters that have to be taken into account. That makes it more difficult!
In Swaziland, we are slowly moving towards e-learning and m-learning. The latter should be implemented, I feel, because, as in so many other African countries, the majority of students have cellphones and love social networking. We haven't done much research on m-learning here, time and resources are definitely lacking. Having a full-time colleague in these areas would help, but seen the financial constraints we are experiencing, that will probably not happen soon.