1 University of Westminster (UNITED KINGDOM)
2 University of Lincoln (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2016 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 5155-5164
ISBN: 978-84-608-5617-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2016.0234
Conference name: 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2016
Location: Valencia, Spain
Unlike private industries and commerce, universities have not used technology to fundamentally transform the way they conduct their core business of curriculum delivery (Heur, 2015). With respect specifically to mobile learning and the flipped classroom, a majority of academic staff are suspicious of mobile devices and often see them as distractions or only useful for surface learning (Garrison and Vaughan, 2012).

There are a number of reasons cited for not making use of mobile devices as a teacher that are unrelated to concerns around surface learning. Many academic staff lack the confidence to engage with tools or services that can be accessed on mobile devices mainly for fear of the approach failing on the day in a classroom. Thus the technical infrastructure and support for staff is frequently raised as an impediment to progressing attempts to integrate mobile learning approaches into classroom teaching (Sharples et al, 2009).

In 2012 a project called Flexilearn, funded by the JISC transformations programme, led to a marked increase by students in the use of the mobile app for the institutions’ virtual learning environment (VLE). Staff use of this app has remained limited however. As a consequence the students largely use the app in passive ways to receive notifications and to access certain types of content.

To begin to address this and also to increase awareness of approaches to make use of the devices students have for meaningful learning, a new staff development course called ‘Flipping Mobile learning’ was designed and offered for the first time in January 2015. The 2 hour workshop was initially delivered face to face but shortly after a companion online site within the VLE was developed which allowed for a more blended approach to delivery. Further refinement of the VLE site and its content allowed for the workshop to be offered in wholly distance mode. In addition at that time completion of the workshop became linked to the award of a digital badge. Over the Summer of 2015, through a combination of face to face, blended and wholly distance participation nearly 150 staff took some part in the workshop. Completion of the workshop required reflection by each participant on a range of key questions and development of a brief plan to go forward and integrate some aspect of mobile learning in their subject context.

This paper will present the collective views of the 150 staff who have taken part in the workshop and will examine the extent to which staff from across a range of subject areas feel that simple mobile learning strategies can have an impact on their teaching.

[1] Garrison, D.R. & Vaughan, N.D., (2012) Institutional change and leadership associated with blended learning innovation: Two case studies, The Internet and Higher Education, vol. 18, July 2013 pp. 24–28
[2] Flexilearn, A JISC Transformations Project,, last accessed 9th November 2015
[3] Huer, J.B. (2015) Higher Ed Disruption in Context, Educause Review, November/December, pg. 92-93
[4] Sharples, M., M. Milrad, I. Arnedillo-Sánchez, and G. V avoula (2009) ‘Mobile learning: small devices, big issues’ in N. Balacheff, S. Ludvigsen, T. de Jong, A. Lazonder, S. Barnes, and L. Montandon (eds.). Technology Enhanced Learning: Principles and Products . Dordrecht: Springer
Mobile learning, staff development, flipped classroom.