JULY 28, 2016

CityU Library Reviews: “Increasing student engagement and retention using mobile applications: Smartphones, Skype and texting technologies”

Cover image of book

Review by Jennifer Bodley, Instruction Librarian

What is the difference between online learning and mobile learning?  Why should you care about the differences? CityU Library has seen increasing numbers of students using smartphones to retrieve course materials, access Blackboard, and complete assignments.  Have you seen the same pattern with your students?

According to Wagner, as cited by the authors Wankel and Blessinger (p. 50), mobile learning is not just online learning using a smartphone.  Mobile learning reflects the student’s mobility, not the device used.  Why make this distinction?  The learning processes in mobile learning takes place at increasingly distant and diverse places.  Because the technology is mobile, it is ever-present in the student’s life.  The student might be in a library.  The student might be at the mall.  The student might be walking through a park.  In all of these places, the student may be engaged in coursework and learning.  The student isn’t tied to a classroom, library, desk or table.

Online learning isn’t best done by simply transferring all face-to face content to an online environment.  Further, mobile learning may not be best done by simply transferring online content to a mobile-friendly display.  “Mobile learning: Definition, uses and challenges” in Part I of this book offers a rich introduction on this issue for instructional designers and teaching faculty.  Mobile learning is a relatively new delivery mode for learning, indicating that best practices and effective pedagogy are not yet known.

I was particularly interested in this book’s subject because I have a friend who is switching careers.  My friend has worked in the IT field and is a technology whiz but has decided to returned to college to study counseling.  As she described how she learns and completes assignments, I was shocked to hear how much of her engagement is done via her smartphone.  She described reading and searching for articles as she sat in the car waiting to pick up her children.  She described using voice to text apps at the gym to write her paper.  She described sending and reading emails on the bus.  My guess is that she isn’t too different from some of our students.

This book focuses on smartphone devices, texting applications and mobile communication tools like Skype.  The chapters are collections of research articles on the various topics.  I’d suggest reading the abstract for each chapter, and let your interest guide the order in which you read this book.

Increasing student engagement and retention using mobile applications. Wankel, Laura, & Blessinger, Patrick. 2013. Emerald Insight. 335 pages. [Login Required]

Curriculum Connections

All disciplines and administration areas would benefit from exploring the themes discussed in this book. Mobile learning, occurs in fully online, partially online, or even for in-person courses, which might feature supplemental instruction outside of the classroom.  Mobile learning also occurs at the administrative level when students engage with the offices of the registrar, financial aid, and advising.

Related Resources

Please note: Resources listed with [Login Required] are available to CityU students, faculty and staff, and may be available to other readers through their local libraries.

Chen, B., Seilhamer, R., Bennett, L., & Bauer, S. (2015). Students’ mobile learning practices in higher education: A multi-year study. Retrieved from http://er.educause.edu/articles/2015/6/students-mobile-learning-practices-in-higher-education-a-multiyear-study

Chen, B., & Denoyelles, A. (2013). Exploring Students’ Mobile Learning Practices in Higher Education. Retrieved from http://er.educause.edu/articles/2013/10/exploring-students-mobile-learning-practices-in-higher-education

Driscoll, Margaret & Barneveld, Angela van. (2015). Applying learning theory to mobile learning. Association for Talent Development. [Login Required]

Levene, J., & Seabury, H. (2014). Evaluation of mobile learning: Current research and implications for instructional designers. TechTrends, 59(6), 46-52. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11528-015-0904-4 [Login Required]

CityU Library book reviews feature materials relevant to academic programs. Each review includes curriculum connections and a list of related resources.  We hope you enjoy learning and discovering new resources with us!


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