1.1 Background of the Study
Present developments in the field of computer and communication technologies have opened tremendous opportunities for learning. The application of computers and information communication devices is a force to be reckoned with in modern education systems. With the advent of emerging mobile technologies the need to integrate mobile devices in learning is inevitable. Mobile learning emerges as a new progression based on the use of mobile devices together with wireless communications for teaching and learning purposes.
Mobile learning is the delivery of educational materials and learning contents through mobile technologies. Mobile technologies used in education
include mobile phones, smartphones, PDAs, MP3/MP4 players, e-book readers (e.g. Kindle), netbooks, tablets (e.g. iPad, Galaxy Tab), hybrid tablet/smartphone gadgets (e.g. Galaxy Note) and specialist portable technologies used in science laboratories.
The use of these mobile technologies in learning improves accessibility, efficiency and quality of learning by facilitating access to education resources and services. The capability of m-learning technologies to present learning materials, not only in text, but also graphics, video and sound, and easy access through many different devices further enhances the interest of the learners.
Mobile learning can take place anytime anywhere, including conventional learning environments such as university classrooms, lecture theatres, libraries, and even canteens as well as learners‟ homes, community locations, parks, and in public transport. Students can have access to lecture notes and assignments by using mobile technological devices. It involves connectivity of mobile devices for downloading, uploading, online working via wireless networks, mobile/ networks or both, and linking to university systems such as virtual learning environments (VLEs) and management information systems (MIS). It could also be in the form of mobile educational apps installed or pre-installed on certain mobile devices.
A focal point of m-learning is information sharing, which makes it possible for learners to interact with each other and share knowledge anytime. It therefore, promotes collaborative learning, extends learning beyond lecture theatres and diminishes barriers such as distance and space significantly. It can be made to support modern classroom learning tools as well as distance learning and e-learning, as a result of which lectures can be delivered in remote areas for the benefit of people across countries and continents.
A good implementation of mobile learning will complement and add value to existing formal learning, teaching, assessment and educational administration and management.
However, the impact of mobile learning in teaching and learning delivery has not been ascertained by university students in many developing countries such as Nigeria. This paper seeks to provide a broad assessment of the impact of mobile learning in Nigeria Higher Education Institutions and attempts to understand the effects of having lectures notes and slides on mobile devices on students learning tasks. To discover viable solutions, the paper will describe different research questions and survey activities carried out and results obtained from the study.
According to Dr. Robbie Melton, Associate Vice Chancellor, TBR eMobilization and Emerging Technology, mobilization offers educators an opportunity to deliver education “on demand and in students’ hands.” It is well documented that people carry their mobile devices, especially their phones, with them at all times. Infographic, 2010, reported that, “From the moment they wake up to the moment they go to bed, young people are constantly connected to their electronics, syncing their tablets and smartphones with all the latest updates that came in while they caught their precious shuteye. 83% of young people sleep next to their smart phones; 35% boot-up apps before getting out of bed; 40% use their devices in the bathroom; 70% of college students take notes on their mobile devices; 51% of people do online research as part of their job; 60% of TV viewers use a computer/mobile device at the same time; 50% of Americans prefer communicating to face-to-face conversation.”
Many research on m-learning have ascertained the acceptability and the potentials of using mobile devices in education, and the benefits of incorporating them in the classroom for collaborative learning and active student‟ participation. There are many studies that also discuss the effectiveness and integration of m-learning with classroom and e-learning. Reference state that mobile learning is one of the developing areas in teaching and learning, and it is getting more accepted with the improved accessibility and major enhancement in the capabilities of handheld devices in terms of processing speed, screen sizes, memory capacity, storage volume and network connectivity. The authors state that the use of these modern mobile devices falls in line with planned educational goals to improve students‟ study retention and achievement, support segregation of learning needs, and reach out to students who would not have use their mobile phones to participate in learning.
The effectiveness of m-learning, however, faces some constraints. Vogel 2009 listed the constraints in three dimensions which are the human dimensions (students and instructors), the design dimension (content and technologies), and the institutional dimension (universities, colleges and schools). The human dimensions include distractions, noise, differing comfort levels, and differing visibility levels. The design dimensions include small screen size, inadequate memory, short battery life, inadequate built-in functions and the complexity of adding applications. The institutional dimensions include network speed and connectivity, content and software application limitations.
Some scholars pointed out that m-learning can neither replace nor displace classroom or other learning approaches, but only complement and add value to the existing learning methods Sitthiworachart 2008, therefore, efforts should be directed at integrating m-learning with other learning methods. The integration of m-learning with classroom and e-learning is considered as a form of blended learning strategy. Blended learning as described by Kose 2010 combines classroom instruction with e-learning or m-learning to optimise the benefits of both face-to-face and online methods of education. Three techniques are used in integration of m-learning devices with mainstream of pedagogical instruments. An m-learning device can be a supportive tool, an instructional tool and an assessment tool. As a supportive tool, a mobile device can be used to support communication between learners and their instructors, as a file sharing mechanism, a discussion medium, as well as for information search. As an instructional tool, mobile device can be used by instructors to give learners e-books, educational content, and other learning materials.
Also learners, for example, can execute their learning tasks on mobile devices
Ktoridou et al 2005. Furthermore, an m-learning device can be used as a tool to evaluate students learning activities as an assessment tool. Above all, m-learning devices can be used to ease learning ICT modules, particularly in game programming.
In Nigerian Higher Education Institutions, much research have been carried out on m-learning and majority of studies are based on the implementation, prospects, possibilities and problems of m-learning in Nigeria.
Shonola and M.S. Joy 2014 discuss the acceptance and readiness to use mobile technology by the teachers as well as the learners as a critical factor determining the success rate of mobile learning implementation.
Okeke and Umoru 2012 state the possibilities and challenges of m-learning in Nigerian universities. The challenges they raised on m-learning devices includes small screens, tiny keyboard efficient input, high price, and limited computing capability and connectivity issues
Boyinbode and Akinyede 2008 indicate that m-learning is the gateway to e-learning for many Nigerian students and m-learning has already started to play a vital role in e-learning in Nigeria by bringing e-learning to the learners in rural communities. The research conducted shows that learners in Nigerian universities are well prepared for m-learning as they have acquired various types of mobile devices and demonstrated a high level of operational skills for successful implementation. They concluded that government and management in the education sector should concentrate on building substantial m-learning platforms in terms of authoring, publishing and content development.
1.2 Statement of the problem
In their view Boyinbode and Akinyede (2008), opined that a key benefit of Mobile learning in higher institution is the potential for increased productivity by making learning available anywhere anytime. In support Thomas Stone (2012) suggest that before embarking on Mobile learning initiative we must first ask the question why? The Why then becomes the statement of the problem, which has been identified as seeking a better and more convenient way of delivery content to students faster and easier within the campus environment. Attempts will be made to solve these problem statements during the cause of this study and proposed solutions for infrastructural challenges and high cost of implementation by allowing for stakeholders involvement we shall attempt to find out how mobile devices can increase participation from both ISP companies and Management staffs.