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Athabasca University


MDDE 623: Introduction to Mobile Learning

Delivery mode: Online course using Moodle

Credits: 3 - Elective

Prerequisites: MDDE 601, MDDE 602 for MEd program students only

Instructor: Agnieszka Palalas


The aim of this course is to explore and experience first-hand the potential of mobile learning in a Distance Learning environment. MDDE 623 provides an overview of mobile learning research, trends, instructional design strategies for curriculum integration and professional development in a variety of learning and training contexts. The course blends the theory and practice of m-learning as students experiment with mobile technology to engage in the course-related activities and analyse existing m-learning designs.  A number of trends and issues relating to the real-world practice of m-learning are explored to help students make a critical evaluation of m-learning tools, strategies, and approaches. Once students have examined the pedagogy, technology, design and critical factors of m-learning, they progress to evaluate existing mobile learning artifacts and solutions for their effectiveness in addressing real-life educational needs and performance problems. The course lays the foundations critical for m-learning practitioners and enthusiasts to understand, create, facilitate, and implement mobile learning.  

Course Objectives

  1. Evaluate the potential of mobile learning in Distance Education by critically analyzing current research on mobile learning affordances and challenges.

  2. Critically evaluate the effectiveness and applicability of existing mobile learning solutions, including strategies, technologies and materials in students' own education environments or other case studies.

  3. Identify educational contexts for which mobile learning is the appropriate learning approach as well as what m-learning strategies and technologies should be applied in these particular contexts.

  4. Develop effective m-learning instructional strategies that integrate existing learning and teaching theories and approaches while recognizing the pedagogical nuances of mobile learning.

  5. Analyze the ethical implications of m-learning design and curriculum integration choices in distance education contexts.

  6. Synthesize a variety of instructional design frameworks/models and describe their application in a mobile learning instructional design context.

  7. Discuss common criticisms and controversy related to the adaptation of mobile learning.

  8. Select appropriate mobile learning technologies for individual mobile learning contexts.

Course Outline

The course consists of six units:

Unit 1: Definitions, key notions and technologies of mobile learning.

Unit 2: The real-world application of mobile learning.

Unit 3: The roles and uses of technology in mobile teaching and learning.

Unit 4: Mobile learning at a distance.

Unit 5: Introduction to instructional design for mobile learning.

Unit 6: Mobile learning case studies.

On-line Interaction

Accompanying each unit is a computer-mediated conference (CMC) component. The CMC element of the course allows students to interact with each other and with the course instructor. Students also use the online course page to access such basic course components as the schedule, details of assignments, e-mail, introductions and biographies of the participants, and updates to the course Study Guide. (Students are required to have reliable Internet access as a condition of acceptance into the course.)

Student Evaluation

Conference Participation: Students are expected to participate in the course forums.


Assignment 1: (Individual) A short paper (1500 - 2000 words) discussing and critically evaluating the benefits and challenges of adopting m-learning in an online or blended learning educational context.


Assignment 2: (Group) A short paper (2000 - 3000 words) indentifing a course that you believe would benefit from the inclusion of mobile learning startegies and technologies and why.


Assignment 3: (Group) Part 1: A brief proposal to modify the course you identified in Assignment 2 posted for peer feedback. Part 2: A blog posting (mobile) based on the peer feedback.


Assignment 4: (Individual) A paper (2500 - 3500 words) that demonstrates your perspective on the adoption of mobile learning in a variety of education settings.



Course Texts

Ally, M. (Ed.) (2009). Mobile learning transforming the delivery of education and training. Athabasca University Press.

Ally, M. & Tsinakos, A. (2014). Perspectives on open and distance learning: Increasing access through mobile learning. Commonwealth of Learning.

Tsinakos, A., & Ally, M. (Eds.) (2013). Global mobile learning implementations and trends


Get Started Early

Early access to the Learning Management System, Moodle, begins one week before the official start date of your course, at that time you will have limited access to the course. On the Official Start Date of the course, instructors will be available and the discussion forums will automatically become active.



Last updated by CY November 25, 2016

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