UX and Instructional Design Guidelines for M-learning Anne-Marie Armstrong, PhD, Marija Franetovic, PhD

Colors for Mobile Device Screens

Some recommendations, High Contrast or Muted

There is a need to look beyond using mobile devices for social interaction or messaging (although this is important) and to design instruction that is specific to their pedagogical potential and that takes into account their psychological and social effects on learners.

Mobile technology isn’t interesting because it’s a new form factor. It’s interesting because it’s always with the user and because it’s equipped with sensors.

Pete Mortensen (2013)


Transactional distance theory

Transactional Distance Theory Explained

Transactional Distance Theory

"By manipulating the communications media it is possible to increase dialogue between learners and their teachers and thus reduce the transactional distance." (Moore, 1997, p. 25)

A T Nugroho and H D Surjono 2019

The effectiveness of mobile-based interactive learning multimedia in science process skills, Journal of Physics

In recent reviews of educational literature there is little mention about the standards for designing courses or developing strategies that use the power of mobile technologies for instruction and learning. This presentation provides a matrix of recommended standards for instructional designers and educators when they are designing and developing or choosing courses for use on mobile devices.

In 2005, Traxler looked at Mobile learning as a function of portable devices and called for more research into the pedagogies that would be useful for the mobile domain. More recently in Druin’s (2009) anthology of Mobile Technology for Children, other researchers and practitioners have called for m-Learning standards.

Who, When, Where, What, Why

Who is using it?

When are they using it?

Where are they using it?

What are they doing with it?


The original impetus for the proposed standards began while observing mobile phone use by students in both educational and public settings. Students share their devices in study groups, cafeterias, libraries, student unions, on busses, in parks. They stay in the moment with others using WhatsApp, texting or other mobile applications. Mobile devices also enable sharing with desktop devices using email, LMSs, One Drive (for Word) and Google Docs/Hangouts.

Examples for video use in m-Learning

Most definitions of m-Learning include the following terms: Anytime, anywhere availability, enabling read/watch, pause and replay, and the provision of better digital equality. It is learner-centered, ubiquitous, low-cost and the mobile phone device has a familiarity for the user beyond most other devices.

What has changed is the high usage of mobile phones for education and their integration with on ground classrooms and in some cases with laptop and desktop computers. Phones with cell service and internet connections are truly mobile as opposed to laptops or even tablets. A phone is with the user like their keys or wallets. For students that means that they can access and interact with information and messages outside a classroom, e.g., on the bus or in a coffee shop—anytime, anywhere.

Definitions and Attributes of m-Learning
Typology of Activities

Many educators now view cell phones as a means to allow their students to participate in instruction and construct their learning. The affordances of these devices easily allow active learning. Available applications extend the use of recall, inquiry, measurement, location, analysis, record, share and capture to a world outside of the lab, library or classroom. Disruption as it occurs for m-Learning allows an interweaving of life happenings with true learner centric scholastic advances and solutions to real problems. Learning is not a disconnect between instructor knowledge transmission and students’ attentions, but becomes a distribution of experts, hobbyists, environments and experiences. It contains the aspects of both formal and informal learning (Sharpels, Taylor, Giasemi & Vavoula, 2005, Winter in Sharpels, 2006).

Communication, text, visual, audio

Some specifics for m-Learning standards examined in this presentation are:

1. The pedagogical uses including the cognitive, physical, psychological, personal and cultural factors

2. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) standards.

3. Learning Objects for mobile learning

4. Peer learning with mobile devices

5. Combining apps with the mobile tools, e.g., camera, measurement, audio,

6. Active engagement of learners using the apps

Suggested Standards

Take the survey:

https://goo.gl/FNPAJZ https://goo.gl/FNPAJZ


Druin, A. (2009). Mobile technology for children: Designing for interaction and learning. Morgan Kaufmann.

Gouin-Vallerand, C., Ferreira, S. M., & Hotte, R. (2018). Towards a mobile serious game environment for children self-learning.

Miller, D., Costa, E., Haynes, N., McDonald, T., Nicolescu, R., Sinanan, J., ... & Wang, X. (2016). How the world changed social media (p. 286). UCL press.

Moore, M. G. (1997). Theory of transactional distance. In D. Keegan (Ed.), Theoretical principles of distance education (pp. 22-38). NY: Routlege Studies in Distance Education.

Sharples, M., Taylor, J., & Vavoula, G. (2005, October). Towards a theory of mobile learning. In Proceedings of mLearn (Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 1-9).

Sharples, M. (2006). Big Issues in Mobile Learning. Report of a workshop by the Kaleidoscope Network of Excellence Mobile Learning Initiative. 2006. <hal-00190254>

Traxler, J. (2005, June). Defining mobile learning. In IADIS International Conference Mobile Learning (pp. 261-266).

Traxler, J. (2007). Defining, Discussing and Evaluating Mobile Learning: The moving finger writes and having writ.... The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 8(2).

T Nugroho and H D Surjono (2019) J. Phys.: Conf. Ser. 1157 022024, The effectiveness of mobile-based interactive learning multimedia in science process skills,

UNESCO (2018) Spotlight on digital skills at Mobile Learning Week https://en.unesco.org/news/spotlight-digital-skills-mobile-learning-week

Winter N., in Sharples, M. (2006). Big Issues in Mobile Learning.


Created with images by janeb13 - "girl mali reading" • sik-life - "audiobook tablet touch screen"

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