Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice

Document Type



Learning occurs when content is accessed in a recursive process of awareness, exploration, reflection and resolution within one’s social context. With the rapid adoption of mobile technologies, mobile learning (m-Learning) researchers should incorporate aspects of mobile human-computer interaction research into the instructional design process. Specifically, the most visible, current definitions of and current research in m-Learning provide overviews of the learning theory informing mobility and focus on device characteristics, but do not focus on how people interact with mobile devices in their every day lives. The purpose of this convergent study was to determine what effect does the incorporation of research in mobile user context have on student learning. Six mobile design principles were extracted from literature and applied to mobile apps. Using a true experimental design, the study had 60 participants randomly assigned to treatment and control conditions. Participants in the treatment group received a series of apps designed according to the mobile design principles. The control group received a placebo app that mimicked content from the learning management system for their course. The results of the analysis of covariance procedure indicated the treatment group scored a significantly higher mean score than that of the control group. Further analysis of event tracking data indicated a statistically significant correlation between content access events and posttest scores. Students in the treatment group used their apps for less time, but had more content access events and subsequently higher posttest scores. The data suggests that m-Learning is something more than just an extension of what already exist. It is not just a luggable form of Web based learning. It’s more than a deep understanding of pedagogy or the delivery of course material to a mobile device. It requires the designer to understand instructional and software design, mobile human-computer usage patterns, and learning theory.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Kennedy, Eugene



Included in

Education Commons