Mobile Learning - an Alternative to Classroom Studies

The Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) contracted with Hezel Associates in July 2007 to undertake a study on the effectiveness of handheld devices for course delivery. Hezel Associates provided a summary of its findings to DANTES in June 2008.

The report contains a literature review on mobile learning that included a study of two different handheld devices – the Dell Pharos GPSX and the Apple iTouch – in the context of course syllabi that were submitted by two of the participating institutions. It also contains analysis of 2004-2007 course completion data from five institutions that serve military students.

Completion rates for courses delivered by handheld devices ranged from 70 to 76 percent, while online completion rates were between 72 and 84 percent. One school reported 534 face-to-face equivalent course enrollments (80 percent completion rate), 415 PDA enrollments (76 percent completion rate) and 13,908 online enrollments (72 percent completion rate).

This indicates that completion rates for courses delivered on handheld devices is close to the completion levels of online and classroom courses, and a significant difference in delivery methods is not apparent.

An additional study is planned that will utilize data from a larger number of institutions to more fully understand how completion rates compare across modalities and disciplines, how successful students learn in courses that utilize handheld devices and how effective the devices are as modes of delivery.

© 2009 All opinions expressed in this article are DANTES' and do not necessarily reflect those of

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