DEVELOPMENT OF A CONTEXT-AWARE MOBILE LEARNING APPLICATION TO SUPPORT MIGRANT LEARNERS IN VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING (VET)

S. Vaupel

Philipps-Universität Marburg (GERMANY)
Countries with a long tradition of VET systems enjoy the reputation of effectively reducing youth unemployment by improving school-to-work transitions, especially for students who do not intend to take a university course. Compared with natives, only half of the migrant population in Germany started a VET there in 2010. Furthermore, Beicht and Ulrich [1] find that having a migrant background significantly increases the risk of drop-out from vocational training. It has been argued that a dearth of knowledge about the host country language could hamper young migrants’ access to vocational training or endanger their graduation [2]. Since there is only little support for such groups, we have developed a context-aware mobile learning application to support these learners during their VET. This application is designed to provide a more informal, flexible, situational, and context-based [3] learning process, driven by the learners and their learning environment.

The mobile learning application exploits augmented reality (AR) technology to recognize and augment real-world objects which are part of the learning environment. Learners can use this mobile learning application to acquire knowledge of working equipment, materials, or tools that have to be managed during on-the-job training periods. Moreover, the application assists learners while mounting or assembling different kinds of products. In particular, this mobile learning application identifies different elements or validates arrangements of them. The mobile learning application interacts with the user as well as with the environment.

The context-aware mobile learning application provides a content creation and import mechanism. Teachers can easily create new learning objects and train the recognition of real-world objects through this mechanism. Programming skills are not required for this task.

In this paper, we identify and describe the requirements of the designated target group of migrant learners, develop an appropriate domain model to describe the used data and behavior of the mobile learning application, and outline the system design and development process.

To demonstrate the applicability of the mobile learning application, we demonstrate the usage lifecycle right from the beginning of the creation of content (teacher’s role) and the consumption of content (learner’s role).

References:
[1] Beicht, Ursula, and Joachim Gerd Ulrich. "Welche Jugendlichen bleiben ohne Berufsausbildung." Analyse von wichtigen Einflussfaktoren unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Bildungsbiografie, BIBB REPORT 6 (2008): 2008.
[2] Jobs for Immigrants (Vol. 1): Labour market integration in Australia, Denmark, Germany and Sweden, OECD Publishing: 2007.
[3] Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes, and John Traxler (2005). Mobile Learning - A handbook for educators and trainers, pp. 25-44