Supporting Mobile Learners: An
Action Research Approach
Krassie Petrova & Chun Li
25th June 2010
eLearning Research Group
• My experiences as an EAS student.
• Vocabulary learning: memorize new words iteratively and practice them regularly.
• Time and location limitations.
• Mobile technologies, such as mobile phone texting (SMS) , promote learning to be
• According to Stroombergen (2008), “From 2007 to 2008, export education industry
generated around $2.3 billion of foreign exchange…, contributed to New Zealand’s
GDP is estimated at approximately $2.1 billion…, and supported over 32,000 full time
equivalent jobs” (p.1).
According to Cohen, Manion and
Morrison (2007), action research is a
“powerful tool for change and
improvement” (p.226) with an
“impressive” (p.226) scope which
includes almost all research settings
and involves people. In addition,
Yasmeen (2008) claims action research
is the most appropriate strategy in
educational context research.
Research Setting Model
Education theory layer
Sample of Academic
The pedagogical material delivered to
students was based on the AWL
(Academic Word List), as compiled by
AverilCoxhead at Victoria University of
Wellington, New Zealand (Coxhead,
According to Coxhead (2000), the
words selected in the AWL are those
ones that “appear with high
frequency” in English-language
academic articles, covering disciplines
including: “arts (including history,
psychology, sociology, etc.), commerce
(including economics, marketing,
management, etc.), law and the
sciences (including biology, computer
science, mathematics, etc.)”(p. 220).
Answers to the Research
Question one: to what extent does Question two: what are the underlying
mobile technology enhance learning success factors or obstacles to
activities and improve student integrating mobile technology into
learning? learning activities?
Answer: student learning was Answer: the more technologically
enhanced by adding flexibility (Song, experienced the students were, the
2008), and providing a stronger more enthusiastic they became about
motivation for learning. The results mLearning. Student-centred design
suggest that mLearning did contribute played a critical role in the success of
to improving learning. the second cycle. However, this
required significant effort on the part
of the lecturer/researcher as there
was no “ready made” material
The findings of the two research cycles “Learning is good – it feels good.
demonstrate that an SMS-based It is right, it is natural,
vocabulary learning method was able It can be enjoyable,
to enhance ESL students’ learning by
adding flexibility and providing a And it is what we do here.
stronger motivation for study. The It is a natural act – like eating, sleeping, or breathing.”
results suggest that mLearning
contributed to improved learning.
Experience with mobile technology (as cited in Arhar, Holly &Kasten, 2001, p. 11)
promoted students’ enthusiasm for
mLearning. Student-centred design
played an important role in the
success of the second research cycle.
However, the lack of relevant and
proper resources for mLearning
highlighted a need for new and
modified pedagogical materials.
• AUT Language School, EAS teaching group
and EAS students
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