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The Impact of Mobile Learning on Students

The Impact of Mobile Learning on Students

Teaching with mobile devices prepare students to work in a world which uses technology in its operations and interactions, provide a learning space that engages students and provoke critical thinking. They are used in accessing learning information, enhancing collaborative learning among students and assessing and measuring students. Thus, they positively impact on student instruction and learning. As Robinson and Reinhart (2014) affirm, “the computer has made the greatest contribution communicatively, educationally and societally” (p. 14). This analysis looks at the effect of mobile learning on students. It critically reviews technologies which assistant mobile learning considering theories, concepts and the 21st century student.

Mobile Devices

Mobile devices change learning spaces, offer access to course content and engage students through collaboration with other groups and their peers. They include phones, ipads, tablets and other handheld devices. Why are mobile devices important in learning? Apart from offering the user access to connection, collaboration and communication, they are portable and convergent in nature which allows the user to access information whenever wherever. Using mobile devices, users can video chat, call, network, watch video recording, listen to audio, send text message as well as email others (Robinson & Reinhart, 2014). A student is able to do multiple things using one device.

21st century student

Robinson and Reinhart (2014) present statistics that explains why mobile learning for the 21st century student is necessary. They says that 89 percent of the general students own laptops, over 70 percent of all students own smartphones and over 27% own tablets. Educational institutions keen on maximizing the students’ learning environment as well as saving cost cannot overlook the opportunity mobile learning presents.

Impact of Mobile Learning

Schofield et al. (2011) states that “ mobile learning is the use of handheld technologies, together with wireless and mobile phone networks to facilitate, support, enhance and extend the reach of teaching and learning” (p. 2). This kind of learning aims at making learning information and materials available whenever and wherever the students need them.

Students whose learning has integrated mobile learning are better prepared to be fully functional in a today’s world that require literacy in the use of digital technology. The 21st century students are adept at using mobile technology in interactions and communication. However, they need assistance on how to use these devices in the academic and professional settings. Thus, if their learning will integrate the use of these mobile devices, they will gain skills that will help them to create real-life solutions using mobile devices. This knowledge can be transferred to their personal and career lives.

Mobile learning also impacts on students’ critical thinking skills. According to Robinson and Reinhart (2014), mobile devices and apps used in learning expose students thought process as they realize the connection between their learning settings and the rest of the world. Use of mobile learning in instruction make the learning process flexible (Kim et al., 2013). This is because both the students and instructors can communicate through text, images and voice.

Mobile learning is particularly beneficial to students in the developing world since mobile application as well as the internet provide increased access to educational services and materials. Students feel that they can using mobile devices helps them to personalize their learning. This means that students can engage in learning even outside of the

Learning design that incorporates the benefits of experiential learning is important in giving ensuring student achievements. One of the areas mobile learning aids in experiential learning is by generation interest in the content of the course. Mobile learning also engage students enhancing the development of critical thinking skills. Other than affording the students access to a wide array of information and course content, mobile learning gives students an avenue to collaborate with groups and peers and provide solutions to problems faced in experiential learning environment. This is supported by Kolb’s model of experiential learning where the accommodator learners are argued to use collaboration to fully understand content. The world that the student are going to expects people who can access information, collaborate with others and use critical thinking skills to solve problems (Robinson & Reinhart, 2014).

Although mobile learning has been established to positively impact student learning, research has shown various challenges which could result in negatively impacting on the student learning. Jabbour (2014), observed that one challenge to mobile learning is the issue distractions with mobile devices and the internet. Students tend to engage in activities that are not class related like using instructional time instant-message or play games. Chu (2014) argue that mobile learning could negatively impact on the students’ learning achievement and cognitive load. However, they note that with proper learning design these negative impacts could be mitigated. Chu’s findings are important indicators for instructors to come up with mobile learning design that will ease on the cognitive load and focus on learning achievements. Similarly Kim et al. (2014) recommend that instructors should modify class activities core pedagogical component.

In a study that explored the “impacts of mobile learning on Lebanese higher education”, Jabbour (2014, p. 1) established that students who used 3G technology in learning enjoyed class time, had a positive learning experience. He also found that mobile devices positively impacted the instructor-student interactions. This kind of learning is not only instrumental in instruction, it is also useful in assessing students. This is through the use of creativity and productivity apps whose features allow students to make podcasts, spreadsheets, and movies and take notes among other things (Robinson & Reinhart, 2014)


Learning theories, digital learning concepts and the nature of the twenty-first century student work together to affirm that mobile learning positively impact on students’ achievements, learning experience and access of course materials among other educational goals. Mobile learning is versatile, interactive and connected; characteristics that would largely impact learning the 21st century. Although some challenges have been cited in regards to mobile learning, proper instructional design and guidance could mitigate the challenges. This is high time that learning institutions incorporate mobile learning in their curriculum in order to remain relevant in today’s technologically controlled world.


Chu, H. C. (2014). Potential negative effects of mobile learning on students’ learning achievement and cognitive load: a format assessment perspective. Educational Technology & Society, 17 (1), 332-344.

Jabbour, K. K. (2014). An analysis of the effect of mobile learning on Lebanese higher education. Informatics in Education, 13 (1), 1-15.

Kim, D., Rueckert, D., Kim D. J. & Seo, D. (2013). Students’ perceptions and experiences of mobile learning. Language Learning and Technology, 17 (3), 52-73.

Robinson, R. & Reinhart, J. (2014). Digital thinking and mobile teaching: communicating and constructing in an access age.

Schofield, C. P., West, T. & Taylor, E. (2011). Going mobile in execution of education: how mobile technologies are changing the executive learning landscape. Ashridge Executive Education. United Kingdom.