Ghana Technology University College (GHANA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN15 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Page: 3056 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-606-8243-1
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2015
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Mobile learning or m-learning represents anytime and anyplace delivery of learning through Internet and wireless enabled mobile electronic devices. Personal mobile computing devices (Smartphones, iPads, Tablet PCs etc.), are becoming increasingly ubiquitous in the daily activities of people, and in academia, it has been established that students spend more time using mobile tools for informal learning and collaborative activities than on formal school activities.

It is within this context that educators generally think that delivering instruction seamlessly through these mobile devices should benefit students greatly, as learning can be personalized and also made readily accessible through systems that are in their direct control. Indeed, a growing number of initiatives are demonstrating ways in which m-learning can help confront existing educational challenges and pioneer new strategies for learning.

M-learning is however still very much in its infancy in higher education as best practice frameworks are still being developed, while no clear standards presently exist for guiding the design and development of learning initiatives that take into account the different kinds of mobile technology platforms available. Challenges also exist from the user perspective, for example, the small screen sizes, limited processing powers and graphical limitations of most mobile devices means instructors and learners might be spending more than necessary time searching for and accessing information.

Given these potential constraints, one cannot be certain the extent to which students are willing to accept m-learning as a viable alternative, or complement, to the present conventional learning models. There is thus a possibility of institutions encountering some learner resistance to full implementation of m-learning, particularly in African higher education institutions that are presently grappling with weak communication infrastructure, erratic Internet access, high bandwidth costs etc.

It is therefore necessary for these institutions to have a complete understanding of student perceptions and expectations of m-learning, so that sources of potential resistance can be assessed and addressed to meet students’ expectations of functionality and performance, and to support their technology environments while applying the right technologies to deepen their educational engagement.

It is against this backdrop that this study administered an online survey questionnaire to all undergraduate students at a private university in Ghana with the objective of assessing their perceptions and experiences (if any) with regard to m-learning adoption in Ghanaian higher education, and also identify the ways in which m-learning technologies can help students achieve their academic outcomes. 230 students out of about 3,000 students responded by the close of the survey.

Findings reveal not only varied student opinions and perceptions about m-learning, but also a complex student-technology relationship when it comes to the issue of personal mobile devices and their use in academic activities. These and all other findings are discussed to reveal their implications and thus provide educational institutions with actionable recommendations on how they can best meet students' expectations for m-learning within Ghanaian higher education in particular, and the developing world in general.
Mobile Learning, m-learning, Higher Education, Ghana, Student Perceptions.