Mobile learning

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Mobile learning can refer to e-learning with mobile technology or refer to a change in educational practice, such as flexible, ubiquitous, location-based learning.

See also: ubiquitous learning, One-to-one TEL

“Leveraging ubiquitous mobile technology for the adoption or augmentation of knowledge, behaviors, or skills through education, training, or performance support while the mobility of the learner may be independent of time, location, and space.” (ADL Mobile Learning Handbook, Basics, retrieved nov 1 2012).


The following table from the ADL Handbook, shows a large scope and potential of mobile learning.

Training Modules

  • Just-in-Time Learning
  • Microlearning
  • Reach-back/Review

Performance Support

  • On-the-Job Support
  • Alerts
  • Reminders
  • Procedures
  • Job Aids
  • Forms and Checklists
  • Decision Support

Access to Information, Education and References

  • Field Guides
  • Presentations
  • Podcasts
  • Updates
  • Audio Recordings
  • Video Recordings


  • Coaching
  • Conferencing
  • Feedback
  • Mentoring
  • Social Networking


  • Quizzes
  • Evaluations
  • Tests
  • Surveys or Polls
  • Reporting
  • Certification

Innovative Approaches

  • Games and Simulations
  • Location-Specific Content
  • Augmented Reality
  • Contextualized Learning
  • Spaced Learning

 User-Generated Content

  • Note Taking
  • Transcription
  • Translation
  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Audio Capture


  • Text Books
  • Papers
  • Manuals or Reference Guides
Table retrieved from Mobile Learning Handbook, Basics, Nov 1 2012. License: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0.


In schools, most most mobile applications do not seem to be particularly disruptive (Burden, Kearney, M, Schuck & Hall 2019). However, Tho et al. showed that learners can come up with innovative uses outside the classroom.


  • Most mobile devices do include a modern Webbrowser that can run HTML5
  • So-called "apps" are developed using rather proprietary and incompatible technology between operating systems.



Resource sites

  • ADL Mlearning Guide. This is a condensed version of the ADL handbook that can be read on mobile devices (HTML/iOS/Android).





  • Buchem, Ilona, Wolfgang Reinhardt, Timo van Treeck, Moshe Leiba, Alexander Perl (2012). Designing and Developing Mobile Learning Applications in International Student Teams, eLearning Papers 32 ISSN: 1887-1542 • 32, HTML
  • Burden, K, Kearney, M, Schuck, S & Hall, T 2019, 'Investigating the use of innovative mobile pedagogies for school-aged students: A systematic literature review', Computers and Education, vol. 138, pp. 83-100
  • Burden, K. & Kearney, M. (2017). Investigating and critiquing teacher educators’ mobile learning practices. Interactive Technology and Smart Education 14(2), 110-125
  • Kearney, M., Burden, K., & Rai, T. (2015). Investigating teachers' adoption of signature mobile pedagogies. Computers & Education, 80, 48-57,
  • Laurillard, D. (2007). Pedagogical forms for mobile learning: framing research question. In N. Pachler (Ed.), Occasional Papers in Work-based Learning: Vol. 1. Mobile learning – towards a research agenda (pp. 153–175). London: WLE Centre. PDF reprint
  • Lim, T., Fadzil, M. and Mansor, N. (2011) Mobile learning via SMS at Open University Malaysia: Equitable, effective, and sustainable IRRODL, Vol. 12, No. 2
  • Pachler, N., Bachmair, B., & Cook, J. (2010). Mobile learning: structures, agency, practices. New York: Springer.
  • Peng, H., Su, Y. J., Chou, C., & Tsai, C. C. (2009, May). Ubiquitous knowledge construction: mobile learning redefined and a conceptual framework. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 46 (2), 171–183.
  • Sharples, M., Taylor, J., & Vavoula, G. (2010). A Theory of Learning for the Mobile Age. Learning through Conversation and Exploration Across Contexts. In B. Bachmair (Ed.), Medienbildung in neuen Kulturräumen. Die deutschsprachige und britische Diskussion (pp. 87–99). Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.
  • Toh, Y., So, H. J., Seow, P., & Chen, W. (2017). Transformation of participation and learning: Three case studies of young learners harnessing mobile technologies for seamless science learning. The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, 26(5), 305-316.
  • Yeonjeong Park (2011) A pedagogical framework for mobile learning: Categorizing educational applications of mobile technologies into four types IRRODL,Vol. 12, No. 2. HTML