Class Mobile Learning Survey

As part of a class on Mobile Learning we [those enrolled in the class]were asked to collaboratively create, administer and compile the results of a survey related specifically to mobile learning and mobile devices that can support mobile learning. Questions about the future of mobile learning were also a key element of the survey.   The survey was to be made available through our networks or the organization that we work for and was to provide responses from a cross-section of learning environments.  In particular the target audience was K-12 and postsecondary teachers, instructors and trainers or other formal training personnel.   The target audience however did not eliminate the possibility that others outside these roles could respond to the survey. The assignment required that a minimum of 200 people respond to the survey over about a 10 day period.  In the end 153 people responded.  This limited response was possibly due to the time of year.  June is a busy time for K-12 teachers and of course most university and colleges have reduced activity for the spring and summer.  The survey tool used was SurveyMonkey as one of the students enrolled in the Mobile Learning course had access to the service and coordinated the effort and compiled the results.  The capability of the SurveyMonkey service is more than adequate for the task and the ability to summarize and analyze the results is exceptional.

Survey Validity
While the number of respondents was relatively small the vast majority [79%]of respondents were educational administrators, instructors, teachers or faculty trainers who have direct responsibility for delivering educational programs. The results are provided by those that will ultimately be responsible for incorporating mobile learning technologies in their teaching and learning environments.  These are exactly the voices we wish to hear.  One notable missing component or voice is that of students.  While this particular survey was primarily aimed at educators it would be important to receive feedback from students as well using another survey designed for them.

Survey Results – Key Findings
It is clear from the results of the survey that mobile learning and mobile learning devices have a place in both post-secondary and k-12 education.  Fully 90 percent of respondents [106 individuals] felt that mobile devices would play an important role in K-12 and higher education.  Given the balance of respondents from K-12 [49%] and post-secondary [32%] the survey suggests that we need to consider what role that will be and what supports are required.

It is also clear that mobile devices are already being used in the formal educational setting.   Almost 56% of those that responded to the survey indicated they currently use mobile devices in their institutional setting.  The predominant devices used in these settings are the smartphone, the ipad [tablet] and notebooks.  While a slightly higher percentage [35%] said their predominant device was the smartphone the tablet computer occupies a close second at almost 30%.  Given the short history of the tablet device as compared to the smartphone it is obvious that they will play an important role in mobile learning.  Instructors, etchers, trainers and educational institutions generally need to consider how these specific devices can enhance learning opportunities.

It is especially important to have a clear picture of what it is people are doing and expect to be doing with mobile devices in educational settings.  When asked about the content being accessed using mobile devices the clear winner [86%] is publicly available resources like wikipedia, YouTube, etc. The internet provides the bulk of content and when Open Educational Resources [OER] are added to the mix [47% of respondents] it is clear that non-proprietary, free and publicly available resources are extremely important to mobile learning.  Institutionally prepared content was also clearly important [50% of respondents] so it would seem important that ease of access across a number of device types is required.  The planning for and creation of content to be accessed by mobile devices of all types needs to have a higher level of priority.

Communication is also a key element of mobile device use in educational settings.  Eighty seven percent of respondents stated they use mobile devices to connect to others or expect them to be used for this purpose.  Texting, social networks, IM and email all play a role but it is clear that social networking tools and resources are the primary means of connecting.  Along with social networking tools it is also clear storage and transfer services like Dropbox, Google Apps, and others like Box.net will be important to mobile learning.  When asked if cloud services would be important to the use of mobile devices most respondents indicated they would be  and Google Apps, DropBox, YouTube and Box.net were mentioned by almost all.  Google Apps was the number one service mentioned.

The single largest issue {67% of respondents] selected was that mobile devices introduced a significant distraction in the classroom setting.  It would be interesting to define this response further and look at the connection between those educators who actively incorporate mobile devices in their learning environment and those that don’t.  Does the perception that the devices are distraction change when they are actively being used for learning.

This survey has peaked my interest enough that I will be exploring other research data concerning mobile learning.

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5 Responses to Class Mobile Learning Survey

  1. Pingback: Findings of the mlearnin survey - Aboluay Musings - Anas Eljamal

  2. Pingback: A survey of mobile learners and teachers « Connexions

  3. leahgrrl says:

    Great post; I, too, was interested in the way that file transfer and storage tools were often mentioned by the respondents (especially Google apps). On one hand, these are social tools for sharing resources; on the other hand, though, they are pretty much just storage areas for stuff we can’t load onto our smartphones.
    Best,
    Leah

  4. Arlen Wilcock says:

    Would you be willing to share the actual survey you used?

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