Chen, Wen-Pin, Millard, David and Wills, Gary
Mobile VLE vs. Mobile PLE: How Informal is Mobile Learning?
In, mLearn 2008 Conference , the University of Wolverhampton,
08 - 10 Oct 2008.
Mobile Learning Systems are often described as supporting informal learning; as such they are a good fit to the idea of Personal Learning Environments (PLEs), software systems that users choose and tailor to fit their own learning preferences. This paper explores the question of whether existing m-learning research is more in the spirit of PLEs or Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs). To do this we survey the mobile learning systems presented at M-Learn 2007 in order to see if they might be regarded as informal or formal learning. In order to categorise the systems we present a four dimensional framework of formality, based on Learning Objective, Learning Environment, Learning Activity and Learning Tools. We use the framework to show that mobile systems tend to be informal in terms of their environment, but ignore the other factors. Thus we can conclude that despite the claims of m-learning systems to better support informal and personal learning, today’s m-learning research is actually more in the spirit of a VLE than a PLE, and that there remains a great deal of unexplored ground in the area of Mobile PLE systems.
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