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USAB2010_Mobile learning and commuting: contextual interview and design of mobile scenarios

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  • Good morning, I’m Pablo Rebaque, I work in the Learning Technologies Office of the Open University of Catalonia. I’m going to talk about a case study on the design of mobile applications for on-line learning, based on the needs of its potential users.
  • BEFORE EXPLAINING the research and its results, I’m going to introduce you a little about the Universitiy I work at. WE ARE a university in Catalonia, Spain, which is a completely on-line higher education institution. THERE ARE more than fifty thousand students and two thousand teachers who teach and learn through a virtual learning environment THEN WHE HAVE VIRTUAL CLASSAROOMS with different collaborative tools and applications in order to impart the courses, and we have the learning contents in different digital formats other than printed paper, such as pdf, audiobooks, videobooks, daisy format for blind people and even specific formats of electronic ink, such as epub and mobipocket. AND FINALLY, THE SUBJECT ASSESSMENT at the university is continuous. This is important to understand the way our students do the learning activities in their daily life.
  • NOW, REGARDING TO OUR CASE STUDY, we assume that we live in a mobile society. Now it’s current to connect to world wide web with laptops more than with a pc. And with the increasing sales of smartphone, this trend will even more. FOR INSTANCE, IN SPAIN, SMARTPHONES SALES increased until 118% (that is, 762.729 units), during the second quarter of 2010, comparing with the same period of last year (el pais, 29.09.2010) IN THE CASE OF UOC, every one of our students has a mobile phone and around seven thousand of them use the internet connection.
  • NOW, REGARDING TO OUR CASE STUDY, we assume that we live in a mobile society. Now it’s current to connect to world wide web with laptops more than with a pc. And with the increasing sales of smartphone, this trend will even more. FOR INSTANCE, IN SPAIN, SMARTPHONES SALES increased until 118% (that is, 762.729 units), during the second quarter of 2010, comparing with the same period of last year (el pais, 29.09.2010) IN THE CASE OF UOC, every one of our students has a mobile phone and around seven thousand of them use the internet connection.
  • ON THE OTHER HAND, IT’S VERY FREQUENT FOR OUR STUDENTS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE of their time to commute in public transport to read learning materials, and this is an important question because the use of public transport is very common in cities like Barcelona, as you can imagine. IN ADDITION, ACCORDING TO INTERNAL RESEARCH, a typical profile of a uoc student is one who works full-time and is studying at the UOC to enhance his future professional perspectives. Therefore they have little free time, so they take advantage of circumstances or situations to do learning activities, and one of these circumstances is while they are commuting.
  • SO, IF WE THINK BOTH IN THE MOBILE SOCIETY AND LEARNING WHILE COMMUTING and we try to combine both, we realized that the main challenge of m-learning stems from the enormous potential to take advantage of the combination of these "other contexts - mobile connection" which thus implies for learning
  • IN THIS SENSE, IT’S VERY IMPORTANT for us to expand our concept of virtual learning environment to a mobile learning environments, in order to develop learning applications useful and friendly for our students. THE QUESTION IS therefore to bring this potential mobile learning environment closer to the reality of students and their study contexts
  • REGARDING THE STATE OF ART, the question is that the literature reveals a notable lack of research that examines the use of m-learning in education that is exclusively done on-line and its use by students while commuting. THE MAJORITY OF RESEARCH includes experiences of cases which study the suitability and possibilities of a mobile device (mobile or e-book) and/or a content used in an on-line context, but as part of or complementary to on-site learning. IN THIS SENSE our study is also an innovative proposal.
  • Then, the objectives of our study were two. First, to understand the needs and requirements of students who undertake on-line learning and use their commuting time, this is, their time in public transport, as train or underground, to study or do learning-related tasks. An second, to conceptualize, design and also to build mobile learning application scenarios based on these requirements
  • WE BASED THIS RESEARCH on two previous researches: a description of personas and student focus groups. WE OBSERVED HOW THE COMMUTING CONTEXT was a potential opportunity for reading (thanks to e-readers, tablets, etc) and for connecting to the virtual campus (thanks to mobile internet). THIS OPENED UP the possibility of interviewing students as they commuted so as to explore and analyse these scenarios
  • SO, THE METHODOLOGY WE USED were basically a qualitative approach, with interviews of students in their commuting context. This is, we went with the students in their current displacements.
  • THE BENEFITS OF DO IT IN THAT WAY is that the student is able to reflect and communicate more easily the daily nature, thus achieving more involvement, truthfulness and recall from the student. IN ADDITION, FROM THE INTERVIEWER’S POINT OF VIEW, the immersion in the natural situation in which the student develops his/her activities allows the interviewer to access to their speech, practices and daily tasks, in situ, as well as other important aspects of the context which could be crucial to the design of applications.
  • WE CONTACTED STUDENTS to ask if we could accompany them on a typical journey and interview them. WE ARRANGED TO MEET THE STUDENTS, for example, at an underground station, and conducted the interview as we accompanied them to their destination. A SEMI-STRUCTURED INTERVIEW was designed for the contextual interviews, which were conducted as a conversation, with the points listed in the interview protocol incorporated in a natural way in the conversation. THE MOST IMPORTANT POINTS of the interview focused on general study organisation study patterns and behaviour during the journeys teaching materials and forms of use and on how students perceived the usefulness, for their academic studies, of e-readers, mobile internet and audio content used when commuting ADDITIONAL OBSERVATIONS of the characteristics of the context, such as passenger numbers, the availability of seating, noise, etc, were also noted in a field log. TRANSCRIPTIONS OF THE INTERVIEWS and field log observations have been subjected to a content analysis THE 7 JOURNEYS were as follows: 4 longer journeys (40-45 minutes) and 3 shorter journeys (20-30 minutes), of which 2 took place in the morning (on the way to work or an activity) and 5 in the evening (on the way home from work or an activity).
  • THE ONLY CRITERIA we used in order to make the sample was the students who we interviewed should carry out some of their learning tasks, such as reading learning materials, for example, in their commuting context of the train, metro or bus. WE INTERVIEWED 7 STUDENTS, 5 men and 2 women, between 23 and 42 years of age All work full-time until 6pm or 6:30pm and reach home between 7pm and 7:30pm. A characteristic of the sample worth noting is that 6 students stated that they study to improve professionally and 1 studies as a hobby
  • described themselves as constant, not leaving everything until the last minute and trying to do something each day. IT IS IMPORTANT TO POINT OUT that this perseverance stems above all from the fact that the subject assessment at the university is continuous / on-going. THE LEARNING ACTIVITY deliverables and group work is what sets the study pace. ALSO, AS ALL THE STUDENTS WORK FULL-TIME they do not have much free time, therefore it is normal that they “ get on with something each day ”, That Means At Least accessing the UOC to consult the subject forums, discuss group work, view email or messages from lecturers, which creates a certain sensation of stress and urgency. E4 said: “ I access the campus at least everyday, if not I worry, there are always new messages THESE CIRCUMSTANCES CAUSE the students, a-part from tasks they carry out at home, to use every moment or situation to “ get ahead with work ”. Therefore all of the students study UOC activities at home and whilst commuting and some also during waiting time and at work
  • study organization and planning take into account all the study contexts, including mobile contexts the tasks performed and the variety of materials and devices that can be used to perform these tasks at home are what distinguishes the mobile context from the fixed context
  • AT HOME they have access to hard-copy materials to read and to the computer and/or laptop and netbook with internet connection for learning activities, accessing the virtual campus, doing searches and consulting digital formats. WHEREAS, DURING THE COMMUTE THEY only have access to hard copies, therefore they only read materials, underline and make notes (E3 said: “I have read all the subjects on the metro. I’ve become used to this time, to doing it this way and it works well for me ”), read the assessment activity questions, and some write down their initial ideas for the activities. ONLY ONE STUDENT carries a netbook when he/she has to revise or prepare a presentation and to write the initial ideas for the activities. FINALLY, AT WORK the students use their computer to access the campus, and during waiting time they use paper to read and write up their initial ideas about the assessment activity
  • FOCUSING ON HOW UOC STUDENTS carry out their study activities whilst commuting, it is worth noting that the students read on all types of transport they use during the day. The only time when they do not read is during short trips (5 minutes) or if they have to start a new section and they won't have time to finish it during the remainder of the journey. ALSO, SOME STUDENTS don’t read if they can’t sit down, although in general they state that normally they are able to sit on public transport THEREFORE, TO MAKE THE MOST of any travel time they always carry notes on them, either in a briefcase, backpack or folder. E6: “ I am me and my folder ”. READING MORE on on the way to work (mornings) or the afternoon on the way home from work (afternoon) depends on available seats, motivation, or tiredness. FINALLY, ALL OF THE STUDENTS underline using one colour and mark, make notes and brief outlines
  • WITH REGARD TO THE STUDENTS’ EXPECTATIONS of new formats and devices to use during their journey (e-reader devices, audio material and mobile internet), all of the students were enthusiastic about the advantages e-books could provide for studying and said that they are part of what would be their ideal study conditions in a commuting context, provided that they have a series of specific characteristics for studying. These characteristics include: being able to underline and write having an internet connection having materials provided by the university that are compatible with the device being able to work with more than one document at a time being able to editing functions having basic editing functions such as copy, paste, etc. WITH REGARD TO AUDIO FORMAT, it is not considered useful given the ease of losing concentration and because it is not the best way to study. Therefore, they would only use it if the audio were adapted to short commutes, on journeys where they cannot sit down or for learning languages. FINALLY, THE POSSIBILITY OF HAVING INTERNET on their mobile for on-line learning activities was highly valued, above all for the fact that whilst travelling they could search the internet and consult forums and emails, and especially when they are tired and do not feel like reading, for example, after a day’s work. In fact, one of the complaints made by the students was that the daily enquiry on forums and study groups and the search for information on the internet takes up too much time.
  • TO SUN UP, THE POTENTIAL of m-learning for on-line education in a mobile context is evident: students plan their studies taking into account all the moments and places where they can possibly study. ONE OF THESE MOMENTS and places is whilst commuting. For example, it is common to see students reading material on regional train and metro journeys. Therefore, commutes form another context of studying (E4: “ I think I get a lot out of studying during the commute ”), which is basically used for reading. THEREFORE THE INTRODUCTION of devices such as e-books would cover these needs. HOWEVER, SO THAT THE E-BOOK is really useful in a commuting context, students request that they be able to underline, make notes and connect to the internet. THE INTERNET CONNECTION, either using an e-book or a mobile, is also a basic element for students during their commute, as the possibility of connecting to the internet to carry out learning activities on the virtual campus and consult forums, enables students to spend their travel time doing this. FINALLY, IS POSSIBLE TO STATE that a student profile exists that is characterised by people who work full-time with little free time for studying and who use their commuting time to read or do learning activities. Using mobile devices such as the e-book or a mobile, these students can meet their needs as students, as well as opting for new learning content given the technological and application potential of an e-book and a mobile, above all if they have internet connection
  • THIS INFORMATION WAS USED to define two scenarios: one for short trips of 20 minutes and the other for large trips of 45 minutes, in which students use mobile Internet and electronic-ink devices or tablets as to read contents, doing communication activities in the virtual campus, etc
  • Xavi is 35, single and works in accounts. He is studying Business Administration and Management at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Open University of Catalonia, UOC) to enhance his career prospects.
  • TODAY is the last day to submit the assignment
  • HE CATCHES THE METRO every morning to work. While he is waiting for the train to arrive he checks his emails and calendar to see when he has to submit the next assessed activity after sending in one last night.
  • ONCE ON THE TRAIN, as all the seats are full, he leans on the doors and carries on looking at his mobile phone. After checking his campus emails, he enters the virtual classroom. The lecturer has sent a task that involves finding a news article on the recession. As Xavi has some doubts about the task, he decides to write an email to the lecturer to clarify them.
  • AT LUNCHTIME, now at work, the lecturer has already answered his email, and Xavi plans to look for the newspaper article on his way home
  • XAVI USES THE JOURNEY HOME to search for the article and uploads it to his work group
  • THAT EVENING, after dinner, he starts to read the news articles uploaded by the other students in the work group and to do the assignment .
  • Imma is 28 and lives with her partner. She is a lawyer and studies Humanities as a hobby.
  • She is about to start a new course and she is downloading all the to her e-book reader so that she will be able to read them whilst travelling to work.
  • As her journey to work takes 45 minutes, she uses the time to read the material, underlines and makes notes on her e-book reader.
  • On her way home, Imma feels tired after having worked all day and does not feel like reading much, so she uses the time to connect to the Internet and consult the virtual classroom forum
  • Imma also uses Google Scholar to search for complementary reading material, downloading it to her e-book reader.
  • As she has not arrived home yet, she starts to do one of the activities in the self-assessment test.
  • When she gets home, before dinner, she starts to do the assignment that she has read about and made notes on during the journey, whilst her partner prepare the meal
  • THANKS TO THESE SCENARIOS it has been possible to make progress in redesigning and adapting the UOC Virtual Campus to different mobile devices (mobiles, e-readers and iPad). THE DESIGN AND ARCHITECTURE OF THE INFORMATION for each case was defined bearing in mind the properties of the different devices, while maintaining the services and contents of the website of the UOC Virtual Campus and, in some cases, adding new services. FOR EXAMPLE, A MOBILE ADAPTATION for UOC Virtual Campus mobiles (HTC and iPhone) and an email, teacher and forum update alert system have been developed and tested with users. IN ADDITION, THE ADAPTATION OF CONTENT and the OUC Virtual Campus to e-readers has commenced. An The OUC Virtual Campus has also been adapted to iPad and is ready for evaluation by users.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Mobile learning & commuting: contextual interview and design of mobile scenarios Eva Patrícia Gil-Rodríguez [email_address] Pablo Rebaque-Rivas [email_address] Learning Technologies Office USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
    • 2.
      • Open University of Catalonia (UOC)
      • A completely on-line higher education institution
      • More than 50,000 students & 2,000 teachers who teach and learn through a virtual
      • learning environment
      • Learning contents in different formats (xml technology): paper, pdf, web, audiobooks, daisy
      • Continuous assessment
      Our university USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
    • 3. Mobile society Our premises USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
    • 4. Mobile society Our premises In Spain: smartphones sales increased until 118% (that is, 762.729 units), during the second quarter of 2010, comparing with the same period of last year (El País, 29.09.2010) 7,000 of UOC students (14%) use internet connection with mobile phone USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
    • 5. Learning while commuting Our premises USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
    • 6. The main challenge of m-learning stems from the enormous potential that taking advantage of the combination of these "other contexts - mobile connection" which thus implies for learning Mobile society Learning while commuting Our premises USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
    • 7. From Virtual Learning Environments to… … Mobile Learning Environments Our premises USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
    • 8. Reviewing the literature reveals a notable lack of research that examines the use of m-learning in education that is exclusively done on-line and its use by students while commuting Our premises : State of art USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
    • 9. Understand the needs and requirements of students who undertake on-line learning and use their commuting time to study or do learning-related tasks To define m-learning application scenarios , in order to design mobile learning applications, based on the requirements of potential users Objectives USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
    • 10. Description of personas & Student focus groups How? UCD This opened up the possibility of interviewing students as they commuted Commuting context was a potential opportunity for reading and for connecting to the virtual campus USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
    • 11. Whilst students commute, in-depth interviews and ethnographic observations How? Methodology USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
    • 12. How? Methodology Students More involvement More truthfulness More recall Interviewer Immersion in the natural situation allows accessing to speech students, practices, daily tasks, context USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
    • 13.
      • Contact with the students
      • Semi-structured interview conducted as a conversation
      • Points:
        • General study organization
        • Study patterns and behavior during the journeys
        • Teaching materials and forms of use
        • How students perceived the usefulness, for their academic studies, of e-readers, mobile internet and audio content used when commuting
      • Additional observations on the characteristics of the context were noted in a field diary
      • The transcriptions of the interviews and the field diary observations were subjected to a content analysis
      • Commuting journeys: long (40-45 minutes) or short (20-30 minutes), in the morning (on the way to work or an activity) or the afternoon (on the way home from work or an activity).
      How? Field Study & Data Analysis USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
    • 14. 7 students from our university who did some of their learning tasks (reading learning materials, e. g.) in their commuting context on the train, metro or bus Sample
      • 5 men and 2 women
      • Between 23 and 42 years of age
      • All have prior studies (mostly diplomas or degrees)
      • All work full-time until 6pm or 6:30pm and reach home between 7pm and 7:30pm
      USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
    • 15.
      • Steady working pace: they “ get on with
      • something each day ”
      • The learning activity deliverables and
      • group work is what sets the study pace
      • At least, accessing the virtual campus
      •  stress and urgency
      • Therefore all of the students study UOC activities at home and whilst commuting and some also during waiting time and at work
      USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure Results Study organization
    • 16.
      • Study organization and planning take into account all the study contexts, including mobile contexts
      • The tasks performed and the variety of materials and devices that can be used to perform these tasks at home are what distinguishes the mobile context from the fixed context
      Results USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
    • 17. Results Variety of materials, devices and tasks USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
      • Accessing the virtual campus
      At work
      • Reading contents
      • Write down the initial ideas for the activities
      Waiting
      • (Only 1 student using a neetbook)
      • Write down the initial ideas for the activities
      • Reading contents
      • ( several students have read all the
      • subjects during commuting )
      • Underline and make notes
      • Reading assessment activity questions
      • Write down their initial ideas for the activities
      Commuting
      • Learning activities
      • Accessing the virtual campus
      • Doing searches
      • Consulting digital formats
      • Reading contents
      • Reading assessment activity questions
      • Underline and make notes
      At home PC or laptop Paper
    • 18.
      • Students read on all types of transport they
      • use during the day, except short trips (5 minutes)
      • They read although they can’t sit down
      • All of the students underline using one colour
      • and mark, make notes and brief outlines
      • They always carry notes on them (briefcase, backpack or folder). E6: “I am me and my folder”
      • Reading more on on the way to work (mornings) or on the way home from work (afternoon) depends on available seats, motivation o tiredness
      Results Their study activities whilst commuting USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
    • 19.
      • Audio adapted to short commutes
      • Journeys where they cannot sit down
      • Learning languages
        • Underline and write
        • Internet connection
        • Having compatible materials
        • More than one document at a time
        • Editing functions
      • Search the internet and consult forums and emails
      • When they are tired and do not feel like reading
      Yes!!!... but No , only if Yes!!!... because Results Students’ expectations of new formats and devices to use during their journey USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
    • 20.
      • The potential of m-learning for on-line education in a mobile context is evident
      Conclusions USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
      • Students saw commuting trips as a study context
        • Reading  e-book (underline, make notes and
        • connect to the internet)
        • Checking virtual campus  devices with
        • Internet connection (e-book, mobile phone, etc)
      • A student profile exists that is characterised by
      • people who work full-time with little free time for
      • studying and who use their commuting time to read
      • or do learning activities
    • 21.
      • one for short trips of 20 minutes
      • the other for large trips of 45 minutes
      Mobile Learning Scenarios in which students use mobile Internet and electronic-ink devices or tablets as to read contents, doing communication activities in the virtual campus, etc… This information was used to define two scenarios: USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
    • 22. Xavi 35 years old Single Works in accounts Studies Business Administration Management Motivation: Enhance his career prospects Scenario 1 : 20-min short trip USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
    • 23. 1/6 USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
    • 24. 2/6 USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
    • 25. 3/6 USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
    • 26. 4/6 USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
    • 27. 5/6 USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
    • 28. 6/6 USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
    • 29. Imma 28 years old Lives with her partner Lawyer Studies Humanities Motivation: Hobby Scenario 2 : 45-min long trip USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
    • 30. 1/6 USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
    • 31. 2/6 USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
    • 32. 3/6 USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
    • 33. 4/6 USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
    • 34. 5/6 USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
    • 35. 6/6 USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
    • 36. Campus mobile Campus iPad Campus e-book Learning materials in different formats Future Some mobile learning projects in progress USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure
    • 37. Questions? Thank you very much! Eva Patrícia Gil Rodríguez [email_address] Pablo Rebaque Rivas [email_address] Learning Technologies Office USAB 2010 HCI in Work & Learning, Life & Leisure

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