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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 III Methods

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10. Researching Informal and Mobile Learning: Leveraging the Right Resources Mark van ‘t Hooft Overview Researching learning is a challenging undertaking and the possibility of learning while mobile only complicates matters. As changes in learning are forcing us to take a closer look at process, rather than product, the research tools we have in our arsenal are no longer sufficient. Changes in learning should be complemented with changes in the research questions we ask, the methods we employ, and the data we collect. Mobile devices can aid us in the latter. Two examples of learning while mobile (Frequency 1550 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands; and the use of a context-aware guiding service at the National Museum of Natural Science in Taichung, Taiwan) are employed to demonstrate what research could look like in an environ- ment that is characterized by mobility and enhanced with digital tools. The examples also show issues and challenges to be addressed during the research design phase, including access v. privacy, ownership of information and related issues of data security, and control over the research setting. In sum, when leveraging mobile technologies to study mobile learning we need to reconsider the entire research process, not just new and different data collection techniques we should use. 170 Mark van ‘t Hooft 1. Introduction: Rethinking research Educational research is tricky business because learning is a construct that is difficult to measure. Many tried-and-true research methods and data col- lection strategies often fall short in getting us the data we want...

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