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Researching Mobile Learning

Frameworks, Tools and Research Designs

Edited By Giasemi Vavoula, Norbert Pachler and Agnes Kukulska-Hulme

Learning with mobile technologies is an emerging field with a developing research agenda and many questions surrounding the suitability of traditional research methods to investigate and evaluate the new learning experiences associated with mobility and support for increasingly informal learning. This book sets out the issues and requirements for mobile learning research, and presents recent efforts to specify appropriate theoretical frameworks, research methods and tools. Through their accounts of particular mobile learning projects, leading researchers in the field present their experiences and approaches to key aspects of mobile learning research such as data capture and analysis, and offer structured guidance and suggestions on adopting and extending these approaches.

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Part I Introduction

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1. Research Methods in Mobile and Informal Learning: Some Issues Norbert Pachler Overview This introductory chapter aims to set the scene for the discussion of research methods in mobile and informal learning in this book. It argues that, in order to be able to fully understand the intricacies of the issues attend- ant to mobile and informal learning, an interdisciplinary approach and methodological diversity are desirable, if not necessary. It posits that as a field, mobile and informal learning research needs to be guided by a common set of underpinning research purposes, in the same way they exist in other disciplines, with which aims, research questions, data collection / research methods and frames for analysis of individual studies articulate. One intention behind the current volume is indeed to contribute to the delineation of such an overarching set of purposes. This chapter provides a brief overview of some considerations concerning definitional bases for mobile learning and goes on to discuss what issues emerge from them for mobile learning research. 1. Mobile and informal learning as interdisciplinary phenomena Mobile learning is maturing as an academic discipline. Informal learning, by comparison, already is a relatively mature field of enquiry, not least because of the sustained contributions by academics like Michael Eraut or David Livingstone over the years. I argue here that, due to the affinity of much of 2 Norbert Pachler mobile learning with informal learning, the former can benefit consider- ably from an exploration of the insights gained in the latter. The...

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