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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 199-206

Psychological aspects effectiveness mobile learning in higher education

Young Researchers and Elite Club, Sari Branch, Islamic Azad University, Sari, Iran

Date of Web Publication8-Jun-2015

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Mojtaba Rezai Rad
Young Researchers and Elite Club, Sari Branch, Islamic Azad University, Sari
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2395-2296.158326

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Suitable teaching method is considered as main base of qualification. Most educational psychologists and educational teachers believe that learning situation should be organized so that each student participates in activity in terms of his/her capabilities. Current instructional design models and methods were developed to design instruction for delivery on personal desktop computers that have large screens and are located in learners' homes or workplaces. However, there is a trend toward the use of mobile devices to deliver learning materials, and for students to learn anytime and anywhere. The use of mobile devices for learning has implications as to how learning materials are designed using learning theories and instructional design principles. The aim of the current research is psychological aspects effectiveness mobile learning in Higher Education. This study is done combines two specialized branches of education and information and communication technology, and library method. The results showed adding mobile learning to the traditional method of teaching effects on increasing achievement motivation, emotional experiences, self-concept, and students self-confidence.

Keywords: E-Learning, emotional experiences, information processing, mobile learning, motivation

How to cite this article:
Rad MR, Rezaei M. Psychological aspects effectiveness mobile learning in higher education. Int J Educ Psychol Res 2015;1:199-206

How to cite this URL:
Rad MR, Rezaei M. Psychological aspects effectiveness mobile learning in higher education. Int J Educ Psychol Res [serial online] 2015 [cited 2021 Jun 21];1:199-206. Available from: https://www.ijeprjournal.org/text.asp?2015/1/3/199/158326

  Introduction Top

As a general fact, e-Learning should not only generate good learning outcomes, but also better engage learners in the learning process. From engaged learning perspective, truly engaged learners are behaviorally, intellectually, and emotionally involved in their learning tasks. [1] For Golman, emotions exist in all parts of daily life. They may be the least understood features of the human experience, especially the role of emotions which were not studied on a regular basis. The pressures on higher education institutions to increase student numbers and employ more teaching staff on part-time contracts can make it difficult for teaching staff to keep connected with their students. [2] Thus, supporting contemporary students through the transition to may require facilitating and maintaining connectivity between tutors and students, cognitively, physically, and technologically. [3] Emotions are important aspects; yet, relatively small body of research underlines the importance of attending to students' experiences and emotions in higher education. Varlander focused on the need to pay attention to the emotions of learners through the educational process due to the role of emotions which influence the thinking of learners. [4]

Mobile phones "are particularly useful computers that fit in a pocket, are always with students, and are nearly always on." [5] The portability and immediacy allow students to learn in their preferred time and place which is a promising advantage for these mini electronic devices. Another temptation to the busy students is the bite-sized lessons provided by most mobile phone learning programs. [6] Learners feel that the chunks of those lessons are more manageable than the lengthy and usually too detailed lessons on paper. [7] To individual learners, mobile phones offer cumulative lessons which maximize the exposure to the contents. [8] Over time, this resourceful and effective exposure enhances the information processing activities, makes the activation and recognition automatic, and leads to greater attention. [9] By using short message service (SMS) to (1) increase the opportunity for tutor-student interaction, (2) adopt a highly personal mode of communication, and (3) stimulate regular out-of-class activity, the approach aligns well with strategies for supporting a successful transition. [3]

Despite the popularity of text messaging among undergraduate students, the impact of new communication technologies on academic, and psychological integration during the critical period of transition to university has received little attention. As a matter of fact, many adults who want to learn a second language are challenged by lack of time, location flexibility, and convenient access. [10]

However, in the recent time, the idea of using experiment in correcting emotional technology and its research impact on future design of learning is still under-emphasized. [11],[12] In addition, a growing body of literature has tackled the concept of emotion and its effect on language acquisition; yet, this literature is not enough and in need for more and more research to probe the role of emotions in education. [13],[14] Furthermore, emotional factors have often been given little attention by researchers in studying and learning, especially in the context of mobile technologies environments. [15]

  Operational Definition Top

Mobile learning

M-Learning refers to a learner-centered mobile computing paradigm with the feature of ubiquitous learning supported by mobile devices that especially involve telephony mobile communication.

Short message service

Refers to a service that permits the sending and receiving of short messages (also known as SMS, text messages, messages, or simply texts) between mobile phones and other handheld devices supported by wide range of networks including 3G networks. This service allows users to send and receive short text messages, via their keypads, with a maximum of 160 characters. Research focused on the educational process from many aspects. However, the internal environment that the student is experiencing remained somehow on learning is still under-emphasized. Little empirical research to study emotions in the educational process and research on emotions is not enough. So far, if learning positive emotions through education is that important how could mobile learning environment be designed to be effective to stimulate positive emotions within learners? How would these designs affect emotions and how could emotions affect to Arabic language as a Foreign language based mobile learning environment.

Mobile learning could be thought to be a form of "informal learning," which can happen anywhere and anytime. In fact, this type of learning occurred all the time. Learning is through interaction with others. Learning activities that took place in an institution is considered informal when it involved asking colleagues for help, searching the network and Internet, and through trial and error. Because this type of learning can happen anytime and anywhere, much of m-Learning takes place as informal learning. [7]

Transforming education in the mobile age in today's society conversation in the digital world is not merely exchanging words, instead, it is a process of breaking down barriers that occur during learning; hence clearer communication would facilitate a more enriched learning environment. According to Sharples et al., [16] when a learner acquired complete control of their educational experience, a more successful learning phenomenon could be considered occurred. This can occur through flexibility and the ability to conduct a conversation to exchange knowledge as well as to inform others. Mobile technologies enrich conversational environments and provide data collecting tools on the road or in the field. By using mobile technologies, both the range and reach of communication and discussion are enhanced. Stated that in establishing a theory of mobile learning, a critical first step in creating a theory of mobile learning is to distinguish features important to mobile learning systems as compared to other learning methods. First, there is the mobility component. This affords users the opportunity to take control of their education and provides a new angle to the learning process. Second, the theory of mobile learning must consider that learning is not restricted to the classroom, but can occur anytime and anywhere if there is an open channel for communication. Lastly, the mobile learning theory must take into account the necessity for powerful mobile devices, which are increasing in popularity and driving the demand for use of mobile devices. It was also pointed out that convergence between the new, personal, mobile technologies, and the new conceptions of lifelong learning is important.

  Mobile Learning Theory Top

Sharples et al., summarized that the user rather than the technologies must be mobile, and the learning must be integrated with everyday life rather than take place on its own. Learning can foster goals as well as satisfy them. In addition, learning did not fall on one individual's shoulders; it can be distributed among many. The teacher-student relationship could be enhanced with multimedia communications as well as reviewing the teacher's assignments at the student's discretion on their mobile devices. Although mobile learning could be seen as a challenge to formal schooling, to the traditional classroom setting, and to the curriculum, it could also provide supports to bridge the gap between formal and experiential learning, opening new possibilities for personal fulfillment and lifelong learning. [16] Furthermore, pointed out an important convergence between the new, personal, mobile technologies, and the new conceptions of lifelong learning. The utilization of mobile technology in the field of education has given a rise in a novel research topic in the domain of digital learning: Mobile learning. It brought learning activities out-of-classroom, and give learners freedom to access lessons at any time, from any location. [17],[18] At the same time, several distance learning platforms have extended their services to support mobile activities. [19] On the other hand, it has the ability to provide off-campus activities, free from the restrictions of time and space. [20] The use of a mobile intelligent language learning environment for Arabic language was considered.

  Teaching-learning through Mobile Learning Top

Supporting the previous statements, Thornton and Houser advocated that learners felt that the chunks of those lessons are more manageable than the lengthy and usually too detailed lessons on paper. [21] Some other supporting studies that investigate the use of various forms of mobile technologies for learning - language and otherwise - have started to appear in the literature over the past few years, and have included technologies such as mobile phones. [18] Furthermore, it is undeniable that mobile phones is the most widespread technology, where the overwhelming majority of students in Malaysia universities own and carry a mobile phone with them most of the time. Therefore, it is not surprising to see that language teachers have started to capitalize on this technology. Somehow, the types of activities that learners undertake were diverse, in many ways mirroring the types of activities that are seen in computer-based environments. [21] One example of the mobile phones utilization was to provide learners with a series of mini-lessons over their phones. [22] It was also advocated that learners' reactions to mobile technologies and the possible effects on language acquisition have been very promising, [21] According to pre- and post-tests, learners demonstrated linguistic gains by receiving mini-lessons via mobile E-mail, and that more than 70% of learners preferred to receive these over mobiles compared with desktop computers. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that not all feedback regarding mobile technologies, particularly mobile phones has been positive. Many learners complained about the small screen and the inconvenient keypad for language input. [37]

  Vocabulary and Mobile Learning Top

Thornton and Houser's indicated that learners preferred the mobile platform to PCs. Somehow, it was not clear whether they had a choice between the two, and if they did, what proportions each of the platforms was used. Furthermore, the two activity types described in their study were E-mail, which meant that learners received messages without the need to access the system, and in-class web-based activities, where learners were required to evaluate the resources as a part of their class activities. [21] Stockwell, 2007 conducted a study to examine the use of a prototype mobile phone-based intelligent vocabulary learning system. It achieved this through investigating whether learners who had a choice of completing computer-assisted language learning activities on either a computer or a mobile phone exhibited a preference for one platform or the other, whether there were differences in how the activities were carried out on each platform, and how learners felt about using a mobile phone for language learning tasks. Furthermore, the study as well aimed to determine whether it was possible to collect extensive data about learners that may be able to be used to help them in their language learning that through a PC or mobile-based system. [7]

Short message serves and language

The importance of the communication infrastructure in teaching and learning is paramount for the success of any distance learning program. A reliable and available technology like SMS gave learners opportunities to interact and engage with other learners and instructors. The case for using SMS interventions to support distance education students was reported by Viljoen et al. from the University of Pretoria, South Africa. In Bangladesh, synchronous and asynchronous interactive communication can be offered via SMS. Described how a cellular phone can be financed in Bangladesh and how the SMS technology combined with the nationwide educational television network for distance education. [23] Described an SMS-based laboratory environment. In a microcontroller course, students learned the concept about central processing unit and peripherals. Traditional peripherals were replaced with a more interactive Global System for Mobile (GSM) phone that was electronically connected to the microcontroller. Students needed to send a required SMS message to the professor, which could substantially improve their motivation and interest in the laboratory. The portability and immediacy allow students to learn in their preferred time and place. Another appeal to the busy students is the bite-sized lessons provided by most mobile phone learning programs such as study cell McNicol. Learners feel that the chunks of those lessons are more manageable than the lengthy and usually too detailed lessons on paper. [6]

Cavus and Ibrahim reported an experiment in using SMS to support learning of technical words. Spaced repetitions of the same messages were sent on different days through a SMS-based system called mobile learning tool developed by the authors. [15] The survey results were very positive and supported the utilization of mobile phone-based teaching system. All participants expressed significant satisfaction and enjoyment of learning away from the classroom with the help of their mobile phones. Virvou and Alepis who have studied the use of mobile phones in teaching also report that both instructors and students who evaluated their system found it to be very useful. Students suggested that other lectures should also use mobile phone-based teaching to support the main teaching activities in the classroom. Moreover, students preferred to receive university notices, exam dates, exam results, etc., via SMS in their mobile phones. [24] The frequency of sending the messages was thought to be satisfactory by the Ng'ambi and Brown studied the use of an anonymous consultation tool. The dynamic frequently asked questions allowed students to anonymously post questions and receive responses from both the teaching staff and the students. The interface of the Web and SMS allowed users to engage with those whose were off campus through mobile phones. Users who posted questions from their cell phones received responses via SMS. However, the limitations of the mobile technology posed challenges in promoting the mobile learning itself. The reduced screen size, inherent in the portability of the mobile phone, makes the texts delivered via mobile phone distinct from traditional texts on paper or other texts delivered via big-screened computer. [25]

  Short Message Serves and Vocabulary Top

Thornton and Houser reported that the use of SMS and E-mail to conduct English lessons in Japan. Five words were introduced each week to students and short mini-lessons 3 times a day via SMS messages were sent. Individual lessons include learning a single word, some facet of a word, examples or reviews, of previously learned words. It was found that both short and long messages for English as foreign language vocabulary learning via mobile E-mail produced similar results though further investigations were suggested regarding the results. [21]

Lu claimed that students' evaluation of learning vocabulary via mobile Phone (LVMP) after they used their mobile phones to learn the target words. Scores average 3.7 on a scale from 1 to 5. All scores are significantly positive (one-tail t-test comparing each question with an expected mean of 3, with P < 0.05 for each question). Overall, students felt that LVMP was convenient and interesting. They could memorize the vocabulary in the SMS lessons more easily. They preferred learning vocabulary via mobile phone and looked forward to continuing LVMP. When asked about the advantages of LVMP, more than half of the participants appreciated the convenience and effective time management in LVMP. A quarter of the participants enjoyed the novel experience of LVMP. Seventeen percent of the participants reported that the SMS lessons helped them memorize vocabulary because of the brief and clear presentation. One of them mentioned that vocabulary became easier to remember by connecting it to the surroundings where she read the SMS lessons. To sum up, it seemed that the positive comments were mostly meta-cognitive or affective whereas the cognitive benefits of the SMS lessons were less reported. When asked about the disadvantages of LVMP, seven students gave no negative comment. More than half of the remaining 23 students commented on the technological limitations in applying mobile phone in learning. Slightly over a quarter of the participants were not satisfied with the content of the SMS lessons. Nineteen percent of the participants did not like the learning activity of LVMP. Overall, students seemed to be more concerned with the convenience of the medium than the content of the SMS lessons or the LVMP activity. [26]

Mobile learning and motivation

Cavus and Ibrahim reported the widespread use of mobile phones among our students has led us to consider how this technology might help us to improve the motivation of students and help in teaching. [15] "constructive learning" is based on the idea that people learn by constructing new ideas based on their current and past knowledge. In other words, "learning involves constructing one's own knowledge from one's own experiences." Here, the learners motivate themselves during the learning process. Seventy percent of the mobile students agreed that learning with appropriate opportunities for interaction increased their motivation to use mobile device to support the learning process. Furthermore, some of the students also indicated that the mobile learning functions were friendlier, thus they would prefer learning with mobile device to learning with a desktop PC, because of the increased level of flexibility provided by the mobile device. [27]

  Effects of Emotions Top

Understanding the interaction of emotions and cognitions helps to think of the brain as a sponge-like mass of neurons in a constantly changing and locally differentiated chemical medium. In such computational hardware, information processing properties change as different chemicals are provided to or depleted from physically distinct subsystems. Thus, processing networks can be broadened or narrowed and made more or less sensitive by neurochemical changes associated with hormones involved in emotional reactions. [28]

Knudsen believes that working memory underlies ongoing attention focus as the following: "The degree to which one type of information gains full control of working memory reflects the relative strengths of the competing representations," and further that "information that is held in working memory serves as the basis for decisions and the planning of complex behaviors" (p. 60). Thus, attention focus our attention can be thought of as whichever representations achieve dominance in working memory. The ways in which any given representation realizes this dominance relate to different kinds of processing biases. [29]

The affective computing group at media lab is investigating the interplay of emotion, cognition, and learning as part of its "learning companion" project. This project seeks to develop an "affective companion" model that will provide emotional support to students in the learning process, by helping to ease frustration and self-doubt. [30] Studies carried out by the auto tutor group discovered that learning gains correlate positively with the affective states of flow and confusion. [31]

  Broaden and Build Theory Top

Fredrickson has developed a "broaden-and-build" perspective on the value of positive emotions. She argues that positive emotions are important in that they broaden attention and create situations where cognitive, physical, and social resources can be built. For example, she maintains that joy promotes play, which helps to build physical, social, and intellectual skills. Similarly, contentment broadens the self and worldview and creates the urge to integrate; love triggers other positive emotions and supports individual and social resources This model is advanced to describe the form and function of a subset of positive emotions, including joy, interest, contentment, and love. This new model posits that these positive emotions serve to broaden an individual's momentary thought-action repertoire, which in turn has the effect of building individual's physical, intellectual, and social resources. Empirical evidence to support this broaden-and-build model of positive emotions is reviewed, and implications for emotion regulation, and health promotion are discussed. [32]

  Emotion and Cognition Top

Gray and Raichle confirm that the emotion and cognition can conjointly and equally contribute to the control of thought, affection, and behavior. Emotional states consistently exerted opposite effects on working memory for verbal versus nonverbal information, showing a selective effect. An unpleasant emotional state (anxiety, withdrawal-motivated) impairs verbal working memory , but in turn improves spatial working memory. A pleasant emotional state (amusement, approach-motivated) produces the opposite pattern, improves verbal working memory, and impairs spatial working memory. The manipulations of working memory and emotional state were well controlled methodologically. [33]

  The Effect of Emotional Context on Learning and Memory Top

Emotion influences memory in many ways. For example, when a mood-dependent processing shift is operative, happy moods promote global processing, and sad moods direct attention to local features of complex visual stimuli. It is theoretically noted that an emotional context associated with to-be-learned facial stimuli could preferentially promote global or local processing. At learning, faces with neutral expressions were paired with narrative details providing either a happy or a sad context. At test, faces were presented in an upright or inverted orientation, emphasizing configure or analytical processing, respectively. A recognition advantage was found for upright faces learned in happy contexts relative to those in sad contexts, whereas recognition was better for inverted faces learned in sad contexts than for those in happy contexts. Thus, we can infer that a positive emotional context has prompted more effective storage of holistic or global facial information, whereas a negative emotional context has prompted relatively more effective storage of local or feature-based facial information.

The influence of emotion on information processing

In general, researchers have observed that students learn better when they are emotionally aroused. In this case, photos or video segments are intended to evoke emotional responses in learners, which in turn are intended to increase their level of cognitive engagement in the learning task. Thus, pictures and video are emotion-grabbing devices that make the learner more emotionally provoked, and, therefore, more actively involved in learning the presented material. A well-established method for examining the latent effects of emotion on information processing lies on the fact that emotional information (words, images, associated locations) is more readily recalled than neutral information. [34]

Shen et al. explored how emotion evolves during the learning process and how emotion feedback could be utilized to improve learning experiences. This study also described a cutting-edge pervasive e-Learning platform used in a Shanghai online college and proposed an affective e-Learning model, which intermixed learners' emotions with the Shanghai e-Learning platform. The study was guided by Russell's circumflex model of affect as well as Kort's learning spiral model. The results about emotion recognition from physiological signals achieved a best-case accuracy (86.3%) for four types of learning emotions. And results from emotion revolution study showed that engagement and confusion were the most important and frequently occurred emotions in learning, which is consistent with the findings of auto tutor project. No evidence from this study validated Kort's learning spiral model. An experimental prototype of the affective e-Learning model was built to help improve students' learning experience by customizing learning material delivery based on students' emotional state. Experiments elucidated the superiority of emotion aware over nonemotion-aware with a performance increase of 91%. [12]

Technology and the capacity of the human brain

In general, research supports the idea that Information technology is working to develop the capacity of the human brain. The possibility of interaction between technology and human has gained great importance to researchers as it ruled out that digital education is used to improve the incentive and education. [35]

Recently, much attention has been directed toward the experiments of correcting the emotions through technology, its power, impact on the research and the design of the future as this is a part of the area has not been seriously probed so far. Therefore, Seligman recommended that optimism can be learned and that highly optimistic people accomplish more success in achieving their goals. Furthermore, people with higher pessimism suffer more, so they lack success in achieving their goals. [36]

Harp and Mayer investigated the effect of textbook lesson by promoting emotional interest through adding entertaining text and illustrations or by promoting cognitive interest through adding signals for structural understanding such as summary illustrations with captions. In experiment (1) skilled readers who read summary text and illustrations about the process of lightning performed worse on retention of important information and on transfer when entertaining text, illustrations, or both were added. In experiment (2) skilled readers rated entertaining text and illustrations relatively high in emotional interest and low in cognitive interest and rated summary illustrations and text relatively low in emotional interest and high in cognitive interest. The results suggest benefits of cognitive interest over emotional interest for helping students learn scientific explanations. [37]

Astleitner presents an aspect of systematic instructional design. This design includes strategies for making instruction more emotionally sound which has received relatively little attention so far. The roles of emotions in cognitive instructional design, in motivational design of instruction, in affective education, and in emotional education are briefly outlined. All these approaches do not consider how any instruction should be designed to become emotionally positive for students. Within the proposed framework of emotional design of instruction, a set of prescriptive propositions is obtained from a review of concepts, theories, and empirical findings in the field of research on emotion. Five major dimensions of instructionally relevant emotions are identified: Fear arising from judging a situation as threatening, envy resulting from the desire to get or not to lose something, anger coming from being hindered to reach a goal, sympathy as an experience in relation to other people who are in the need of help, and pleasure based on mastering a situation with a deep devotion. The author describes twenty instructional strategies that can be used to decrease negative feelings (fear, envy, and anger) and to increase positive feelings (sympathy and pleasure) during instruction. The study closes with a discussion of theoretical shortcomings and open questions concerning research and practical applications. [38]

  Positive Emotional Experiences and Technology Top

Text messaging is the dominant mode of electronic communication among students and plays a central role in maintaining their social networks. The text message dialog among students offers emotional and social peer support and assists an informal system of interdependent learning in relation to navigating unfamiliar academic and administrative systems. Text messages controlled by university staff can enhance the existing peer support and aid students' social integration into university life. [10]

The affective states of teachers and peers function as a social context, influencing a learner's affective characteristics, e.g., the learner's emotions, self-conception, and motivation. Teachers' expressions of their emotions influence students' attributions of their successes or failures. [39]

Golman asserts the importance of emotional and social development programs and the need for these programs to be submitted as part of the curriculum and school life, including parents, and each of the pioneers in society. These programs will lead to better results when stretched for a long time, and when conducted by trained teachers with high degrees of expertise and skill. [14]

  Conclusions Top

The technologies required for the realization of enhanced e-Learning and distance learning platforms are definitely mature enough to start thinking about real-world commercial deployment. The synergy of hardware capabilities, network infrastructure, and multimedia applications cannot be exploited without a convergent approach, combining these complementary aspects in a unique architectural view. Dealing with established working methodologies while proposing innovative services to the end users, who here include both the teachers and the students, is another critical issue. The most promising approach is to adhere as closely as possible to commonly used teaching instruments and to develop easy-to-use, easy to-customize software platforms. While using the mobile learning, one should understand that the features of the mobile devices could be very useful in the distance-based learning process. Mobile devices are the major tools for the implementation of mobile learning, as the idea is to provide the mobility to the learner. The know-how about mobile devices can enable the learner to select the best suited devices for learning point of view. Mobile learning devices can be used to deliver learning materials to students, but the materials must be designed properly to compensate for the small screen size of the devices. Learning materials need to use multimedia strategies that are information-rich rather than textual strategies. As a result, the writing style of course developers has to change from textual writing to a greater use of visuals, photographs, videos, and audio. Intelligent agents should be used in m-Learning systems so that most of the work is done behind the scene, minimizing the input needed from learners, and the amount of information presented on the display of the mobile devices. Therefore, innovative technologies that we use in the classroom, enhance motivation to study it, and effectiveness of the learning process, as well as its individualization, active pedagogical interaction of the teacher and students create optimal conditions for the creative use of information in independent cognitive activity of students, as professional competence is the most important quality of a professional who is more in demand in the labor market.

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