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CHAPTER 4. mLEARNING INITIATIVES IN 2001

In this chapter 30 mobile learning initiatives in 2001 are presented and analysed. They give the background and context to the project and demonstrate the growing importance of mLearning as a field of educational research and endeavour.

1. Telenor mLearning Wap project

The project was run in Norway in spring 2001 with four partners:

  • Ericsson
  • Insite
  • Telenor Mobil
  • IT Fornebu Knowation (project leader).

The project report, written by Tove Kristiansen of IT Fornebu Knowation is divided into four parts:

  • International trends
  • Project description
  • The pilot course
  • User experiences.

The project gives a definition of mLearning: the use of mobile terminals in learning and attributes its growth to an in creasing mobility and the growing need for flexible learning.

International trends

Details are given of the expected growth of both eLearning and mLearning with a quotation from Brandon Hall 'I have the sense when I look at the Palm VII or a wireless phone that I am staring at the future'.

Project description

The aim of the project was to use some simple WAP solutions as an add-on to an ordinary course given in a classroom.

The course was an Ericsson course Introduction to 3G applications which focuses on UMTS technology and future applications and services.

All the 18 participants were employees of Telenor Mobil and each was given an Ericsson R380 WAP phone to use during the course.

The phones were used for demonstrating future services, repetition, a quiz, an idea box and course evaluation.

Future services were demonstrated by getting each participant to order their lunch via WAP from a local hotel. Repetition was for the revision of certain parts of the course outside the course hours. In the quiz a total of 18 statements were given and the participants had to answer 'true' or 'false' and submit their answers. Each person could immediately see their scores, and the scores of the other participants for comparison. The idea box was set up to allow participants to write down their thoughts about the mobile internet and the potentials of mLearning. In the course evaluation the participants were asked to fill in and submit the questionnaire. The course organizer could then read the evaluations immediately on the World Wide Web.

The tool for creating the course for WAP-telephones is presented thus at http://www.insiteint.com/e3g

User experiences

The overall impression was that the participants experienced the use of WAP telephones as a very positive supplement to the course. The possibility of revision while going back home at night was rated highly. The immediate feed-back to the quiz and the ability to do it anywhere and anytime were also appreciated.

In conclusion, Kristiansen writes

The potential for improvements is obvious. When broadband multimedia becomes accessible and mobile terminals get larger colour screens within a few years, there will be no limitations as to what kind of content is will be possible to provide. Thus, the challenge for further development of mLearning lies more within pedagogical and organisational aspects than with technological ones.

2. Mobilearn

There are two projects on mobile learning using the title Mobilearn: one, based at the Viktoria Institute at Gothenburg in Sweden is described here; the other, a German/Brasilian partnership is presented in section 4 below.

The partners in the Mobilearn project are:

  • Viktoria Institute, Gothenburg
  • Ericsson Radio Systems AB
  • ADB-Kontaret, Gothenburg
  • Ericsson Microwave Systems AB.

In an article titled 'Mobilearn: competence development for nomads' the aims of the project are presented:

Organizations in the new economy are dependent on organizational knowledge and competence. Workers in these organizations are to a large extent mobile. They need new competence development opportunities unrestrained by time and space. We have developed and successfully tested models, applications and activities (e.g. multimedia scenarios) supporting competence development. We are transferring this competence development activity to mobile settings to achieve successful competence development for nomads. The goal is identifying applications and services in the competence development realm suitable for 3G (third generation cellular networks). Combining our models and activities with the new technology we rethink how competence development can be conducted and managed.

To be able to redesign and evaluate multimedia scenarios on handheld devices the project used Compaq iPAQs Pocket PC and Sony VAIO C1 Picturebook. iPAQs were used for simulation of the expected small screens of the 3G - terminals. The Vaio (small size, built in video camera) is excellent for testing videoconference with a wireless LAN (simulating future 3G networks).

In another article 'Mobile competence development for nomads' it is stated that the project is attempting to create a human-computer environment on handheld devices that encourages and simplifies communication between groups as well as having support for educational models in order to facilitate collaborative learning. The project is based on the availability of 3G technologies for transferring already existing multimedia scenarios for collaborative learning to mobile multimedia scenarios.

Here is a multimedia scenario proposed by the project:

Jack is traveling by train to meet a customer. He has to get prepared for the meeting but after reading through the background material of the customer he has time to engage in some 3G competence development. He connects to the e-business education that started this week, and views a short video that introduces the first week's topic (see Figure).

The video raises some interesting points. Jack is especially interested in the point about customer relations' management (CRM). He decides to initiate a videoconference with a colleague in his group to discuss the issue right away. The 3G platform indicates that his colleague will accept incoming videoconference calls related to the e-business education. Jack makes the call and they talk for five minutes and reach the opinion that CRM seems to be a fad. Jack decides to share their thoughts with the rest of the group and posts a short written message in the common discussion area.

The project's use of the English word 'nomads' for 'mobile workers' or 'mobile people' seems unfortunate as the English word is not usually regarded as synonymous with the other concepts.

3. eMobility 2001 conference

From 31 May 2001 to 1 June 2001 there was an international conference at Gothenburg, Sweden with European Commission participation on all aspects of e-Mobility. A number of the papers dealt with mobile learning, including a presentation of the Viktoria Institute MobiLearn project. This was the conference presentation:

This conference shows the growing importance of mobile solutions and of mobile learning amongst them.

Also proposed for the first time at the e-Mobility conference was the mLearning project Ultralab described in no 12 below. This is a United Kingdom IST (Information Society Technologies) project which will develop two prototype microportals; one for use with WAP/3G phones, and one for palmtop PCs and similar devices.

4. UniWap (University of Helsinki/ICL)

The aim of the UniWap project is to develop educational use of mobile technology and to find out pedagogical applications to be of benefit in the virtual university. The project deals with the WAP technology to be tested, piloted and completed in order to facilitateteaching and learning in the university. An environment of activities will be developed in order to provide services for flexible learning and to discover new forms of publishing of learning material.

The UniWap project is a joint venture of the Helsinki University and ICL Invia. The mCastor technology has an essential role in the project. This technology enables the user, who may have several terminals like WAP, PC or Communicator, to use the same information service or system adapted to the actual user environment.

The First Stage
The first stage of the project will concentrate on discovering new
ideas and pedagogical applications in which mobility could be of benefit in the in-service education of university teachers.

The Second Stage
At the second stage, the Educational Centre for ICT will support departments and multi-disciplinary research groups by training and consulting. The centre will make efforts to network different academic fields together in order to create collaborative development projects during 2001 to 2002. Also contacts to companies will be fostered in this process. The companies will provide the project with equipment, software and information systems.

The Third Stage
The third stage focuses on diffusion of innovation by training and commofidication throughout the Helsinki University and, perhaps, to be also used in the Finnish Virtual University.

5. MobiLearn: Mobile Computing in Learning Environments

This is a project in mobile computing funded by the German DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) and the Brasilian CAPES (Fundacao Coordenacao de Aperfeicoaments de Pessoal de Nivel Superior).

There are two partners:

  • Technische Universitat Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Germany
  • Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, Brasil.

The aim is to enable students to interact through a computer-supported learning environment not just from conventional desktop computers, connected to high-speed networks, but also from mobile terminals with low-speed wireless connections.

The project started on 1 January 1999 and ended on 31 December 2000.

The technological goal of the project is to develop and to study forms of integrating appropriate mobile computing capabilities into computer-supported learning environments. The project intends to evaluate the effectiveness of portable computers (such as light-weight notepads and laptops), connected to information servers, either through a terrestrial network or through lowspeed wireless connections, as delivery terminals for courses with multimedia and hypermediacontents.

It intends to exploit the adaptability of multimedia and hypermedia information (e.g., the form of presenting the content material, user interactivity, and information structuring) to the resources available at the user terminals and to the communication network conditions.

The project plan is to apply intelligent mobile agents in order to offer a context-sensitive resource utilization and suitable data access within the learning environment.

6. AvantGo


AvantGo is a producer of mBusiness products for palmtops and pocket pcs. Here is their presentation of their product for producing a mobile version of Lotus Notes.


7. IBrite

IBrite has developed an authoring product for putting content together for the Palm PC.

Together with Global Knowledge, the leading US IT training provider, it has developed two courses for the PC Palm, Telecommunications Fundamentals 1 and Telecommunications /fundamentals 2. Both of these courses are offered by Global Knowledge as classroom offerings but these new developments as PalmOS software enable the courses to be taken at any time anywhere.

Telecommunications Fundamentals 1 is 9 chapters long and has 48 graphics which work on colour and black and white Palms. It has 417 pages of text.

Telecommujnications Fundamentals 2 is also 9 chapters long and has 65 graphics, both for colour and black and white Palms. It has 524 pages of text. Ademo version of 1 chapter, 34 pages and 6 graphics can be down loaded from http://www.ibrite.com/download_software.htm.


8 Isopia

Isopia provides this definition of mLearning: 'With the power and functionality of Sun LearnTone LMS extended to mobile devices, Sun enables enterprises to offer a seamless, blended learning experience extending from classrooms and desktops, to PDAs, two-way pagers, mobile phones and hybrid devices'.

It claims that mobile learning or mLearning, is resulting in a paradigm shift in the way people learn. Learning has moved from the classroom, onto your desktop and with mlearning, into your pocket. Acknowledged by industry experts for its superior standards-based technology platform, Sun LearnTone LMS is the only eLearning infrastructure in the marketplace that offers both eLearning and mLearning capabilities delivered entirely using Java.

On 29 March 2001 Isopia announced that anytime, anywhere learning materializes with courses available on PDAs, cell phones, and handheld devices. With oibkly a cell phone, hand-held device, Personal Digital Assistant or hybrid unit (combination cell/PDA) users can access administrative functions, download courses, and review their learning history through Isopia's Integrated Learning Management System (ILMS) or Learn Tone.

The mLearning solution is designed for flexibility, incorporating Sun Microsystem's Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME). Unlike the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) and Wireless Markup Language (WML), J2ME enables the user to take courses without being connected to the network. It also supports more complex courseware than the standard wireless protocol.

Isopia's mLearning solution allows the user to upload the mobile course edition from the online learning path, whether connected to or disconnected from the internet, and take courses on any device, then upoload information about their course progress and test scores to the ILMS the next time they reconnect to the network.
Isopia presents the following scenario:

You are checking in at the airport. The line is long - So how do fill your time? Before leaving for the airport you had downloaded a course on your PDA from your computer at the office. In the line-up, you now pull out your PDA and decide to brush up your knowledge on your company's latest product offerings. At the end of this course you take a short quiz to test your knowledge.

When you arrive at your destination, you check into your hotel room and set up your laptop. Setting your PDA into its cradle, you link up to your learning portal through the Internet. You connect- "hot-synch"-directly with your company's learning management system, ILMS™, which will read the results of your completed courses and automatically update your learner profile. You then decide to download a number of reference materials and courses for study on the road and at home.

In this real-life scenario, as you synchronize your device using a wireless or wireline connection, the latest mobile versions of designated courses are loaded from Sun LearnTone LMS onto your device. You are then free to take the courses or manage your training at leisure when disconnected from the network. The next time you connect to your learning environment to synchronize the information on your device, all the course progress and assessment scores are passed to the Learning Management System, updating your profile.

On 19 June 2001 Sun Microsystems bought Isopia and integrated it into its education division. There does not seem to be a link from the Sun home pages to the Isopia material.

9 Experient.com

Experient.com have published a white paper titled Mobile eLearning Systems which promotes its Calypso product. Calypso enhances current technologies, it is said, that do not adequately exploit the potential of the internet for learning. Calypso allows learning any time, any place, any where without constant access to, or persistent use of, the internet.

The system is designed to run on virtually any platform and bring the power of web-based eLearning to the learner in either online or offline mode, with the advantage of offline tracking. One connects to the internet only long enough to download the web-based courses from the central server of learning management system. Then, one disconnects and the system gives one complete browser functionality, along with learning aids, progress checks, and testing features all the actions are stored for later retrieval.

The basis of the mobile eLearning system is Calypso, a 100% Java-based application built by Experient Technologies. Calypso is a software engine designed to manage both the deployment and retrieval of distributed, rapidly changing data and functionality across differing client hardware including wireless. it can run on handhelds using Windows CE and PalmOS devices.

Calypso provides the Mobile eLearning System with a robust database for gathering data on learners whether a network connection is maintained or not. Once the learner goes online, the Mobile eLearning System automatically synchronizes the learner with the central LMS and an asynchronous exchange of data takes place. At the same time as the learner is receiving automatic eLearning updates, the data is collected on the learner and transmitted to the main LMS.

The Java-based Calypso product is built in 5 layers: user interface layer; content layer - for the course content; toolkit layer - including testing, studying and scoring; network layer - for connectivity; engine layer - provides a single interface to information so that other layers can read from or write to the internet of the computer.

LearnSomething.com, Inc, a leading developer of customized web-based continuing education programmes, and Experient have agreed to integrate LearnSomething's ASP-based learning management system with Experient's mobile learning access technology. Clients and partners of both companies will be able to create and download complete Web-enabled courses to a variety of mobile devices, such as laptop computers, pocket PCs, PDAs and other hand-held equipment. Learners will be able to complete those courses offline using their browser features. The software allows for comprehensive testing and offline tracking, enabling a complete, efficient, and mobile learning management solution.

10 INSEAD/Nokia/ICUS

INSEAD, NOKIA, and ICUS formed an Asia-Pacific consortium to pilot m-learning. The initial result of their endeavor was the development and deployment of an e-course delivered via WAP-enabled NOKIA phones. The course, eBusiness on the Move, was developed to make use of both WAP (wireless) and Web (wired) technologies, allowing participants to access content via phone and computer.

Evaluations tracking learner progress revealed that WAP technology delivered an average level of coaching support and higher than average level of technical support.

Based on an INSEAD classroom course, eBusiness on the Move offered an introductory look at current and future use of the Internet in business,

Learning activities comprised reading material, bulletin board discussions,
multiple-choice quizzes, and writing assignments. Learners linked to video clips, PDFarticles, and Websites. In addition, the course required two coaches to facilitate and track learner progress. For example, one coach provided feedback on an interactive bulletin board while the other coach used email to provide direct assistance to learners about course content and procedural matters. There was significant peer-to-peer and peer-to-coach interaction via bulletin boards, direct email, and voice applications.

The course was approximately 20 hours, and learners were expected to complete it over a period of four to five weeks. Participants received an INSEAD certificate upon successful course completion.

The WAP/ Web equation

This course used two delivery formats: Web and WAP. The WAP format requires short text, additional screens, and more titles than the Web version, resulting in a multilevel hierarchical menu system. An MS Word document that cross-referenced WAP chunks and Web topics was provided as a navigational aid.

Although 10 percent of the course was WAP-only accessible, 80 percent of the overall course was accessible via phone, including links to WAP sites, multiple-choice questionnaires, and quick reminders and alerts from the coaches. Likewise, approximately 20 percent of the course was Web-only, but nearly 90 percent of the overall course content was on the Web, including digital video clips, bulletin board discussions, email, and links to Websites. Obviously there was some redundancy.

Most learners accessed about 40 percent to 50 percent of WAP-delivered material and 70 percent to 80 percent of Web-delivered material. Reasons for accessing the course via the Web rather than WAP included small screen size, slow connections, and limited graphics.

Prior to taking the course, most learners believed they would make little use of the phone. In fact, only five of the 14 participants said they expected to like using WAP-enabled phones for learning. Their opinion was based primarily on the notion that the phone's screen size was too small to be useful.

Following the course, participants reported that WAP-delivered content added value to the learning experience, saying that anywhere, any time access provided a high level of convenience.

M-learning's potential

Today, wireless development focuses on integrating data and voice functionality in a single device. Whether a mobile phone with Internet access or a handheld data device with phone capability, the goal is forindividuals to have wireless access to data applications. Handheld digital devices are becoming more common, and their quality and capability is increasing due to technological breakthroughs in miniaturization and advancements in wireless bandwidth and data networks.

Devices used in the project were the Palm Pilot IIIc and the Nokia 6210 WAP Phone:

Conclusion

M-learning has been slow to grow because most wireless devices have small screens, low resolution, slow processing, and limited storage capabilities. Likewise, difficulty connecting various types of devices to the same network is a real limitation. It seems likely that m-learning is better suited to such specific content areas as sales or language skills. Also, current WAP technology makes it best suited to particular aspects of e-learning courses, such as:

  • quick reminders and alerts
  • communication with peers and managers
  • multiple-choice quizzes with immediate feedback
  • daily tips
  • glossary information
  • browsing e-learning course material
  • searching for specific information within a topic
  • links to WAP sites
  • course registration.

The course system for the project was illustrated thus:

11. University of Birmingham HandLeR project

The Educational Technology Research Group at the University of Birmingham runs the HandLeR programme whose aim is to develop mobile technologies for learning.

The concept HandLeR developed by the student group employs an animate mentor as the main interface metaphor and method of interaction. Figure 5 shows two screen displays from the implemented system. The mentor, shown as a cartoon rabbit, acts as an alter ego that could offer assistance with capturing events, solving problems and managing learning (these functions were not implemented in the demonstrator). The mentor also provides icons for the main tools of HandLeR, based on the mentor's body functions and displayed objects. Thus, clicking the mentor's eyes shows an image from the HandLeR's video camera, the palette brings up a set of drawing tools, the book opens the user's topic book, and the heart opens a profile of the user.


Basic functions provided by the system include still and video image capture, drawing, and text input through a screen keyboard or handwriting recognition. Data from each of these sources can be tagged by time and location (demonstrated using a GPS position location card). The user can copy and organise the images, drawings and text in the topic book.

Clicking on the mentor's "brain" opens up a map (shown at the right of Figure 5)
showing linked concept words, named topics created by the user (from the topic book),and items of external information including web pages and documents. If the topic item is not available on the HandLeR then it automatically initiates a cellular phone connection to a web server and downloads the web page identified for that topic. For example, clicking on the "hurricane" topic item opens the web page http:\\www.hurricanehunters.com. The aim for future versions of HandLeR is to enable the user to create new nodes in the topic map for drawings, notes or camera images, linked together by title, keywords and time and place of origin.

The user can navigate through the topic map either by clicking on one of the outer ovals, which brings it to the centre and displays the topics related to it, or by clicking "search" and writing a keyword or phrase that identifies the topic. Much further work is needed to enhance the navigation and search facilities and to provide other views such as a timeline that orders events by time of creation.

The main interface to the demonstrator system also provides a means to connect to other HandLeRs. Clicking on the face at the lower right of the screen opens a list of known contacts and selecting one brings up an image of that other person's mentor. The user can then click on the other mentor's body parts, such as the heart (to show the person's sharable profile). A click on the mouth or ears initiates a direct cellular phone connection that person's HandLeR.

The concept HandLeR runs on a Fujitsu Stylistic tablet computer with a Nokia GSM card phone. All the functions described above have been demonstrated on a handheld device consisting of a Fujitsu Stylistic pen-based tablet computer running Windows 95, a Nokia GSM card phone, a PCMCIA card GPS receiver, and a Kodak DVC 323 miniature digital video camera

12 mLearning IST project (Ultralab)

Ultralab is a European Commission IST m-learning project addressing social and educational problems in young adults.

The m-learning project addresses 3 social/educational problems relating to many young adults in the EU:

· Poor literacy/numeracy - see e.g. Improving Literacy and Numeracy: A Fresh Start
· Non participation in conventional education/training
· Lack of access creating ICT "haves"/ "have nots" resulting in inequality of opportunity

m-learning will develop prototype products to provide information and modules of learning via inexpensive portable technologies which are already owned by, or readily accessible for, the majority of EU young adults.
The design of the prototypes will be informed by research including:

· Research into the use of mobile phone technology: needs, preferences, attitudes and habits of young adult mobile phone users.
· Research into computer game design and their users' preferences.
· Research and development seeking appropriate knowledge representation, learner models and standards, including metadata standards to provide a framework for development and description which can be practically applied to very small modules of basic skills learning delivered via mobile communications technologies.

Description of the work

Research elements of m-learning will include:

1.An analysis of current standards in the field of learning object representation to inform development of an intelligent tutor and to inform development workpackage managers' decisions as to appropriate standards to apply.
2.An initial investigation followed by a continuously updated technology watch service toidentify, review and select from current and emerging mobile communications technologiesthose with potential for use as delivery vehicles for m-learning information and learning modules, taking into account medical research into possible health hazards associated with excessive use of mobile phones.
3.A survey of young adults use of mobile technologies exploring needs, preferences, attitudes, habits and experiences. Followed by research focussing on the potential ofm-learning for specific groups e.g. those with sensory impairments.
4.Research into the use of computer games consoles by young adults
5.Work with groups of learners to identify design approaches for internet micro portal user interfaces to m-learning modules which will encourage independent exploration of on-line resources and empower learners to exercise choice whilst facilitating ease of use and making m-learning enjoyable.
6.Initial and on-going desk research to identify other relevant research projects which might inform m-learning developments. Development work with m-learning will include:
7.Design, development and trialing of a prototype multi-agent "intelligent" tutor system to evaluate learner knowledge and preferred learning styles/strategies and assist with personal development planning including tailoring of micro-courses to suit individual needs.
8.Design, development and trialing of prototype multimedia modules, incorporating speech technology functionality , for use via mobile technologies to deliver aspects of literacy and numeracy skills learning. Incorporating advanced speech and languages technologies functionality to maximise the potential of handheld devices.
9.Development of microportals and interfaces tailored to the needs of specific groups of users within m-learning's target audiences and to different levels of technological sophistication in the handheld devices used.
10.Translation of prototypes and microportals developed to achieve both English and Italian versions.

Milestones and expected results

It is expected that commercial m-learning products will be developed based on the prototype literacy and numeracy modules and microportals developed by this project. The capability of mobile communications devices to deliver aspects of learning, and the design principles which motivate users to use such devices, will have been investigated and assessed.

Participants

Co-ordinating Partner is The Learning and Skills Development Agency whose office is at Citadel Place, Tinworth Street, Vauxhall, London SE11 5EH, UK. LSDA are also a Principal Contractor in the m-learning project. Other partners are:
CRMPA (Principal Contractor), Via Ponte don Mellillo, 84084, Fisciano, (Salerno), Italy
CTAD (Principal Contractor), Lincoln House, The Paddocks, 347 Cherry, Hinton Road, Cambridge, CB1 8DH
The Learning Kernel (TLK) (Assistant Contractor), Sint-Krispijnstraat 7, 8900 IEPER, Belgium
Ultralab at Anglia Polytechnic University (Principal Contractor), Victoria Road South, Chelmsford, CM1 1LL

13 The mLearning Forum

The m-Learning Forum is an initiative of Peter Bates, manager of P.J.B associates at Ely, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom.

By clicking on m-learning on his website at http://www.pjb.co.uk one is taken to a listing of various activities related to m-Learning. There is a rationale for establishing a European m-Learning forum, details of a conference on the theme organised for 31 October to 1 November 2001 in Paris, presentations from the first meeting of the m-Learning forum on 24 September 2001, and a comprehensive listing of useful papers and articles.

Speakers at the first meeting of the forum included:

"Introduction - developing m-learning - the time is right?"- Peter Bates, pjb Associates
"Market Trends in Mobile and Wireless Developments - opportunities for m-learning" Phil Kendall, Director Strategy Analytics Global Wireless Practice
"Developing m-learning - Pedagogical and Design Perspectives" - Prof. Mike Sharples, Kodak/Royal Academy of Engineering Professor of Educational Technology, University of Birmingham (UK)
"Opportunities for European Research and Development in m-learning" -
Joseph Bremer, European Commission. DG Information Society (Luxembourg)

14 Wireless learning in your palm by Audrey Choden

In an article posted on 28 December 2000, Choden draws attention to a study by Clark Quinn
(http://www.i5ive.com/article.cfm/training_and_development/55907).

Clark Quinn, she writes, has a vision that he calls mobile or mLearning. If his vision comes true, learning will no longer be confined to the desktop or classroom.

As Director of Cognitive Systems at KnowledgePlanet, Quinn's vision involves using mobile computational devices or information appliances (IA), such as a Palm Pilot or a digital cell phone, to support learning and performance on the job. This pocket-sized computer would combine content, interactive practice activities and personalized feedback with a means of tracking performance, updating records and providing certification. It would be connected to a network (always on, no need to dial-up). You could input data with a pen, keyboard and/or speech.

There are two problems with m-Learning:
· managing learning through intermittent connection - today's devices are limited by dial-up access to a network, small screens, slow processing and limited storage capacities.
· Device-independent delivery.- Quinn sees a solution in XML.

15 Empowering Technologies, The mobile learning era

Empoewering Technologies begin their presentation of their products with a list of statistics:

The evidence is overwhelming that mobile learning is beginning to take hold:

· Over 50 percent of all employees spend up to half of their time outside
the office.
· More than 75 percent of all Internet viewing will be carried out on wireless platforms by 2002.
· Mobile devices will outnumber landline PCs by 2002 and exceed the 1 billion mark the following year.
· More than 525 million web-enabled phones will be shipped by 2003.
· Worldwide mobile commerce market will reach $200 billion by 2004.
· There will be more than 1 billion wireless internet subscribers worldwide by 2005.

The company plans to develop courses for the Palm V and offers this example:

16 Codeonline

This is an experiment in Espoo, Finland in which students prepared a series of quizzes in the subjects they were learning and published them to be answered via WAP phones or the internet. 'Making learning fun' is the motto in developing new solutions for mobile learning. The project used Codeonlines technological platformand solutions for creating and publishing question sets via any wireless end-user device, WAP phones provided by Ericsson and mobile connections by Radiolinja.

17 Pjb Associates latest news

Another service provided by Pjb Associates (see Chapter 13 above) is a listing of latest news on mobile communications and learning. Items of relevance to mLearning on 20 October 2001 included:

AlphaSmart to use Palm OS

AlphaSmart, Inc., a technology solutions provider for education, and Palm, Inc. have announced AlphaSmart has licensed the Palm OS ® platform. The flagship AlphaSmart 3000 is a low-cost, portable technology solution used in thousands of classrooms in the United States and by millions of students throughout the world. A highly useful writing, keyboarding and test-taking tool, the AlphaSmart 3000 addresses a broad range of needs in K-12 education. It is offered at a fraction of the price of a full-featured computer, so an entire class can be economically outfitted with AlphaSmart 3000s, enabling students to learn and advance at their own pace. (see press release)

Medical Students Embrace Wireless Tools of Future

Students at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine are packing handheld IBM WorkPads with an array of special applications to give them an extra edge as they enter their clinical rotations.The clinical rotations are the point in the students' academic studies when they begin interviewing and examining patients and making diagnoses based on their observations. (see article)

First school in the US to actually require the use of PDAs

High school students at Forsyth Country Day School in Lewisville, N.C., will pick up more than books with their registration packets when school starts. Each student will get a Palm handheld loaded with educational software and a Palm portable keyboard. Forsyth, the first K-12 school in the nation to require the use of Palm handhelds, plans to use them throughout its curriculum. (see press release)

AvantGo Takes Its Own Advice, Offers M-Learning

Recognizing the market potential, AvantGo (Nasdaq: AVGO - news) has used some of its own technology to offer mobile, Web-based training to wireless developers throughout the world. (see press release) (see article)

Wireless Internet in Classroom Annoying?

Article in MSNBC that addresses the issue of wireless internet access during meetings and classes (see article)

M.kids: the future is mobile

Research conducted by NOP during January 2001 shows that nearly half of all 7-16-year-olds in Britain now have their own mobile phone. (see press release)

Free WAP-enabled mobile phone for Dutch university

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal the University of Twente in Enschede, Netherlands, is piloting a project called M-poort that "will create the first common wireless standard in Europe designed to support educational applications. Unlike many European academic institutions, the University of Twente is willing to work closely with businesses, particularly high-tech concerns such as KPN, Ericsson, and Lucent Technologies, to have cutting-edge technology. KPN has distributed free WAP-enabled mobile phones to the university's 10,000 students, who are able to contact teachers and fellow students and access such information as exam grades. Services are presently provided by WAP-5, a company founded by four students with seed money from the university, as the larger companies wait for newer technologies that will allow mobile phones to offer e-learning systems available for laptops and personal computers. This could include the university's Web-based e-learning software, Teletop, which is built on IBM's Lotus Learning Space program. The university's departments are working to make all classes available through the Teletop software."

Piloting the wireless classroom

Motorola, WorldCom and APTE are sponsoring a new pilot programme designed to introduce wireless technology to the classroom. It involves students and teachers in two US states. As part of the programme, Motorola presented students, teachers and a select group of parents from two schools with its Timeport P935 two-way devices embedded with APTE's Internet Coach Learn Together applications and wireless service from SkyTel, a WorldCom company. (see article)

m-Learning takes off

press conference, held by EFECOT, the European Federation for the Education of the Children of Occupational Travellers, two m-learning projects were presented, showing how education via GSM and satellite can be used for mobile, travelling learners, such as bargees, circus and fairground children. (further details)


Universities find wireless systems bring them convenience and savings

Claims that wireless technologies can connect up a classroom more cheaply and are more convenient. (see article)

Palm Reading Goes Educational

Students with Web-enabled handheld devices can seriously cut down their library time this school year according to a recent article. Dictionaries, daily preparatory tests, calculators, research from the Internet, and temperature-measuring probes for scientific experiments are all available to students on their mobile phones, pagers, or personal digital assistants (PDAs) - generally for free. (see article)

e-ducavia" - multi-media training services via the Internet, third generation
mobile telephony and interactive television

Spain's Telefonica [TEF.MC], IBM [IBM.N] and Cisco Systems Inc [CSCO.O] said recently that they were creating an online business school for Spanish- and Portuguese speakers. The project, called "e-ducavia", will provide a range of multi-media training services through the Internet, thirdgeneration mobile telephony and interactive television, the companies told a news conference. Telefonica will participate via its Media unit, and International Business Machines Corp (IBM) through its Spanish unit. Cisco is the world's top maker of data networking equipment for the Internet. The three companies will spend an initial 100 million euros ($95.42 million) on the education initiative, which is expected to begin offering courses in January 2001, Telefonica Media's Chairman Jose Antonio Rios said. The project will target individuals and companies, offering a range of courses up to the Masters level in areas such as management, marketing, communications and advertising.

18 Setaro, Distance learning through wireless devices

This is an analysis by Setaro of comments made by Elliott Masie at a conference that extensive use of handheld wireless devices such as PDAs and Web enabled cell phones would dominate the eLearning industry within three to five years.

Setaro lists a number of problems with this scenario including screen size, difficulties with graphics, restricted bandwidth and the claim that there was cultural resistance because wireless companies are not creating user-friendly products.

19 Palmpowerenterprise (Knowledgenet and Smartforce)

This is an analysis by J S Kossen of learning tools that run on Palm devices.
It claims that few companies are very far along in actually making mLearning a reality. It suggests that two exceptions are KnowledgeNet and SmartForce.

It is claimed that KnowledgeNet are able rapidly to develop content for PDAs that is as rich and interactive as it is for the PC. The courseware for the PDA contains animation, high-quality sound and intuitive navigation.

SmartForce see the greatest value of PDAs in assessment They are developing downloadable assessment exams that allow learners to test their knowledge and then rank and report their results. An example is given:

Let's take a look at an example. First, you need to go over the instructional material, like that shown in Figure A.

FIGURE A


First, you go over the lesson.

Then you're be given a series of questions to test your retention of what you read. A sample question is shown in Figure B.

FIGURE B


Test yourself with a series of questions.

Finally, you receive your score, as shown in Figure C.


FIGURE C


The software tracks and reports your results

21 The changing faces of virtual learning

The changing faces of virtual learning is a comprehensive overview of virtual educaaation published by the Commonwealth of Learning, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The chapter on Technology and virtual learning by Tony Bates of the University of British Columbia lists mobile technologies and voice recognition technologies as future assets for virtual learning.

22 Supermemo

Supermemo is a technology owned by Supermemo world of Poznan in Poland. The system will be used for a system of mLearning called 3GEMS. It is planned to use state-of-the-art technologies including Bluetooth and 3rd generation mobile.

23 goReader

GoReader is a Tablet PC, which is being used to provide k-12 (kindergarten to matriculation) education with web browsing, basic computing and ebook functionality. It is also claimed that its mobile learning solutions provides students, institutions and professors with access to all of their information. It has the follwing functionality:

· Connect to the Internet wirelessly, via a LAN or Dial-in connection.
· Enjoy full-page 800x600 Web browsing.
· Access your corporate network utilizing Citrix ICA or Microsoft's RDP.
· Synchronize with Microsoft Outlook to download important emails and contact information.
· Download, revise and upload Office, PDF, HTML and many other documents with goReader's multiple format support.
· Draft Word, Excel and email documents easily via a virtual keyboard, USB keyboard or handwriting recognition.
· Jot notes on screen in your own handwriting with Ink Memo.
· goReader weighs only 2.4 pounds, yet is secured by a durable magnesium housing.
· Windows CE operating system provides users an intuitive, familiar interface.
· Supports all Windows CE applications.
· Memory is easily expandable using CompactFlash or PC Card options.
· SuperVGA 10.4" TFT touchscreen provides a bright, easy read.

24 Learning Circuits Goin Mobile

Learning Circuits is a website of the American Society for Training and Development.

Four recent presentations from the site are discussed here:

Goin Mobile by Paul Harris
Get ready for mLearning by Donna Abernethy
Introducing WML by Steve Heckler
M is for Maybe by

Goin Mobile provides a definition of mLearning. It is the point at which mobile computing and eLearning intersect to produce an anytime, anywhere learning experience. It is the ability to enjoy an educational moment from a cell phone or personal digital assistant (PDA), but almost exclusively the latter. The ubiquitous laptop computer dosen't qualify in most definitions, even though it's the lifeline of the mobile workforce.

This definition is well formulated. It clearly includes mobile or cell telephones and PDAs but does not include laptop computers thus throwing the emphasis on wirelessness as the defining element.

The article then continues with caveats saying that despite the strides made by Palm and other handheld devices, PDAs have obvious limitations as learning tools. Screens are tiny, the processing is slow and storage is limited.

It then draws attention to the ISOPIA initiative, now taken over by Sun, to access their system through cell phones, handheld wireless devices and PDA handsets to check their learning activities, course information or training status. It continues with a description of Global Knowledge's development with Ibrite and concludes with a presentation of PDAs in the classroom.

Get Ready for M-Learning draws attnetion to the contribution of Clark Quinn to the promotion of mLearning at KnowledgePlanet, Introducting WML provides an introduction to writing code in WML and M is for Maybe gives a critical evaluation of the possibilities for mlearning.

25 Global Learning Systems

Global Learning Systems is a major eLearning provider. Its website at http://www.globallearningsystems.com/ has a simulation of a course on PDAs with text audio and graphics.

Their system is called 'Learning to Go'.

Learning to Go™ Mobile Learning, Wherever You Are, Right in the Palm of Your Hand.

The PDA that manages your work life so effectively is now a delivery system for training, knowledge management and just-in-time performance support. Imagine downloading exactly what you need, when you need it - with full-motion video, audio and maximum interactivity. The performance improvement potential is unlimited when you deliver custom learning on a PDA.

The greatest benefit of this delivery method for training is the combination of true interactivity coupled with portability. Learners are no longer tethered to a classroom or even their desktop PC. Just as the cellular phone has become the preferred (mobile) person-to-person communication device, the PDA is rapidly becoming the preferred personal information organizer and information delivery device. Now, that "information" can be "training." The PDA gives learners the ability to learn wherever they are. That is a type of freedom we've not experienced before.

Learning to Go™, by the very nature of its instructional design infrastructure, leads organizations into true knowledge management. Using a series of unique 5-minute mentor lesson templates, virtually any type of training is modularized, stored in a database and reassembled on demand.

26 Stanford Learning Lab

Stanford University has a long history of leadership in distance learning in the US.

This is a highly innovative project to use mobile phones in language teaching at the university. It is grounded in the American tradition of using live lectures and teaching by satellite and videoconferencing as a characteristic of distance learning, rather than the individualized print based approach better known in Europe.

Cell phones, Palm Pilots, wireless Web - they help us check email, trade stocks and stay in touch - but can they help us learn? Can we, should we, try to fill in gaps of daily time with learning opportunities?

Last summer, the Stanford Learning Lab (SLL) developed a few rough prototypes for mobile learning. The SLL staff chose foreign language study as the content area, hypothesizing that mobile devices could help provide sorely needed opportunities for review, listening and speaking practice in a safe, authentic, personalized and on-demand environment.

The prototypes developed let users practice new words, take a quiz, access word and phrase translations, work with a live coach, and save vocabulary to a notebook - all in an integrated voice/data environment. The intent this summer was not yet to support an actual Stanford course, but instead to begin exploring recent technologies and fundamental human cognitive challenges involved in learning on-the-go.

Being mobile correlates with highly fragmented attention, and the challenge was to better understand what kind of learning can happen in
those fragmented pieces of time.

Three User Modes and Technology Tests

SLL staff conducted three discrete technology explorations and informal tests on several language learners of varying skill, with the following general results:

Text Quiz: vocabulary quizzes over mobile phone-based wireless Web.

Pros - convenient small question chunks to test knowledge during opportunistic bits of time.
Cons - small screen is difficult to focus on while outdoors; small bits of text do not provide an immersive enough experience for learning new content.

Live Coach: live-voice coaching sessions over mobile telephones.

Pros - speaking with an expert is ideal for language practice.
Cons - comprehension can be difficult over the phone; time with real-live coaches is difficult to scale.

Interactive Audio: automated voice-controlled vocabulary and quiz sessions over mobile telephones

Pros - audio experience can coincide with other activities (driving, walking, waiting, etc.) instead of replacing those activities; automated system offers potential for scalable, personalized, database driven listening and speaking practice.
Cons - voice recognition technology, flaky and expensive mobile phone connections, and audio interface design complexities are just some of the potentially show-stopping technology challenges.

Automated Audio: General Responses and Guidelines for Design

While intitial test results were mixed, SLL continues to be intrigued by the potential for interactive audio to provide a scalable, rich, and flexible language learning environment. A summary of their user test findings and suggestions for future development
follows.

Mobile Learning is a Highly Fragmented Experience:

Learning can be hard work. It requires concentration and reflection. However, being on-the-go (driving, riding a train, sitting in a cafe, walking down the street) is fraught with distractions. Users are in situations that place intermittent, unpredictable, yet critically important demands on their attention. Where does this leave the mobile learner? With a highly distracted, highly fragmented experience. The learning application must be designed with this in mind.

Learning is a Personal and Emotional Process:

Feeling shy about speaking your new foreign language, even with your teacher? Afraid you'll accidentally insult someone, or that they'll laugh at you? Learning is a sensitive process and language learning especially requires opportunities to practice in an emotionally safe and supportive environment.

The SLL's current interface is friendly, congratulates you when you get something right, and encourages you to try again when you don't.

User Frustration Wrecks Trust and Decreases Learning:

Poor cellular connections and environmental noises can cause imperfect voice recognition and therefore failed menu navigation and incorrect responses to learning interactions (such as quizzes). User observations indicate that repeated voice recognition misunderstandings impact users in interesting ways: on the surface, frustration and a reluctance to continue the lesson; on a perhaps less conscious level, a perception of the system as stupid or uncaring and therefore not an effective, trustful way to learn.

Also, not all misunderstandings are created equal. Users were more forgiving when the system made an incorrect response to their attempted Spanish than when it made an incorrect response to a simple navigation command like "back".

Did It Work?

This first attempt at supporting language learning over mobile phones was not perfect. While voice interface design and creating studio quality audio are not easy, these can be remedied with a more professional development process and budget than SLL had available last summer. What about the more fundamental question of learning over the phone and in a mobile environment? Is the technology far enough along? Can a threshold of usability be reached, even though it's not perfect? Yes, and no.

With care and attention some parts of the learning process can be supported. SLL's testing showed that simply having access to the application anytime, anywhere increased daily attention to learning Spanish and boosted motivation. However, highly fragmented attention and bleeding edge technology can result in an environment too frustrating for learning. The Learning Lab's advice is to keep it simple. Focus on those parts of the learning process most suited to audio, most suited to small chunks of time, and most suited to a highly distractable learner. Allow learners to personalize their experience - from personality to interaction mode - to match their own learning styles and situational needs.

27 Global Knowledge.com

Global Knowledge have developed four of their courses for Palm computers:

· Understanding Network Fundamentals (483 text pages, 120 figures, 2450k file size)
· Telecommunications Fundamentals 1 (417 text pages, 48 figures, 1240k file size)
· Telecommunications fundamentals II (524 text pages, 65 figures, 1555 file size)
· Syngress CCNA Study Guide (1648 text pages, 120 figures, 4421k file size).

This is how they describe their system:

We have selected some of our most popular courses and made them available for use on your handheld PDA. Mobile Learning is the perfect pre and post course enhancement. With Mobile Learning, opportunities to reinforce your technical competence are greatly expanded - while traveling, in-between meetings, while waiting in line, or anytime you have a few minutes.

The Mobile Learning interface simplifies content navigation using familiar controls and speeds learning through four learning modes. These features are built around adaptive learning technology that remembers what material has been covered and focuses students on areas that require improvement.

 


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Last update: August 2002
Editor: Paul Landers