Challenging mobile learning discourse through research: Student perceptions of Blackboard Mobile Learn and iPads

Shelley Kinash, Jeffrey Brand, Trishita Mathew


Many university academics disagree with the rationale that we should pursue mobile learning because 21st century students are apparently demanding it. We argue that the only defensible rationale for making mobile learning part of pedagogy is because it enhances student learning. This presentation shares results from research with 135 students engaged in mobile learning over two semesters. It addresses the question of whether Blackboard Mobile Learn made a perceived difference to their learning. Results revealed that in-class, students used their mobile devices for Blackboard Mobile Learn to the same extent as they used them for searching the web for study, accessing university web pages, email and making Facebook posts, but less than they used them for browsing the web for pleasure and Facebook reading. The majority of students were neutral when asked if they prefer Mobile Learn over PC access to Blackboard. Students were likewise neutral when asked whether they perceived iPads to improve their learning. There was higher frequency agreement that using iPads motivated them to learn. Qualitative feedback from focus groups was mixed, but largely positive. The overall interpretation was that it is a matter of course that students would access their subject site via mobile devices.

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