USING SHORT MESSAGE SERVICE (SMS) FOR PROVIDING PEDAGOGICAL SUPPORT TO DISTANCE LEARNERS
The main goal of this study is to reveal the results of a study that focused on examining the learners' satisfaction and perceived learning in a distance learning course in which short message service (SMS) was used to provide pedagogical support. Mobile learning refers to use of mobile devices (mainly mobile phones, smart phones, and tablets) into learning processes to provide anytime anywhere learning opportunity to the learners. Literature provides a list of use cases for integrating mobile learning into open and distance learning. A few of these cases includes use of short message service (SMS). Although SMS is one of the most frequently used mobile services, there are very limited empirical studies in the field that explore the effectiveness, efficiency, engagement and endurance of using SMS for pedagogical support.
This presentation and associated paper intended to uncover the results of a study conducted in one of the distance courses of Anadolu University in Turkey, where SMS was used to support learners pedagogically. Anadolu University is a dual mode institution, acts as an open university, provides ODL to millions since early 1980s. The study was conducted in a distance course, entitled as Visual Culture, in the Photography and Camera Operations associate degree program. It is a sixteen-week long course where self-study is required and textbook is the main instructional medium. This textbook-based self-study was supported with a number of support materials and means, such as broadcast TV programs, face-to-face evening or weekend tutoring services, and online tools. The study was conducted in 2014-2015 Spring Term with the participation of 112 students. At the end of the course a survey instrument included items for identifying the learners’ satisfaction and perceived learning levels was administered online to collect data.
During the study, first, a list of support messages including questions, attention messages, recaps, etc. were prepared with help of the content expert. Then the learners were informed about the goal and structure of the implementation. Later, every week at least one message sent to the learners. During the last two weeks of the course, the online questionnaire was administered.
The results are quite promising. A big majority of the learners indicated higher level of satisfaction and perceived learning with this use case. The more detailed result will be provided during the presentation and in the full paper.
Those audiences who would like to explore the cost effective and appealing ways of integrating mobile learning into open and distance learning offerings might find this presentation beneficial.