Mobile Design: mLearning Reference Model

This framework from ADL used a Design-based Research (DBR) approach to generate (through the efforts of a community working group) an integrated master flowchart of processes, decisions, and considerations for the entire instructional design process, specifically including and highlighting elements that optimize it for mobile learning. The objective was to define and refine a design decision support framework that includes consideration of the motivational, contextual, pedagogical, and performance support aspects of mobile learning.

Following the needs assessment, the ADL Mobile Learning Research Team formed a community of 533 members, and an active working group of 15 people focused on incorporating several considerations impacting the mLearning design process. The needs assessment findings and working group feedback revealed the following high-level requirements for the design of the intervention:

  • There is a need for integrating theoretical, conceptual, and process models with the collective intelligence of the mLearning community. The elements of learning theory and learning technology are often not completely separate, and are often co-constructing each other.
  • mLearning solutions should drive consideration of performance support solutions instead of or in combination with training.

Mobile learning design should be informed by:

  • Human-computer Interaction (HCI) and mobile usage patterns
  • The opportunity to add context to the experience
  • An integration of existing mLearning theory and best practices in one place that is usable both conceptually to spur thought, and a practical tool to aid practitioners in the process of design
  • The unique capabilities and affordances of the mobile platform that can be used for mLearning

These intervention design requirements and other related themes were incorporated into a baseline version of the Reference Model. Similar to the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM), the mLearning Design Reference Model is a "reference model" rather than a native model because it is mostly an integration of existing models and best practices. In comparison, a native model is one that is created anew from the very beginning. The ADL Mobile Learning Research Team determined there were already enough quality materials published on mLearning theories and best practices such that it was not necessary to completely reinvent the wheel to try to publish a new ISD model from scratch. A working group was convened in the Fall of 2014 to validate these design assumptions and refine the Reference Model product, using the collective wisdom of members of the learning, education, and training community who have a stake in designing mLearning.

The ADL Mobile Learning Research Team further refined the Reference Model by integrating research findings and feedback from the Mobile Training Implementation Framework (MoTIF) project with existing practices and models from the global mLearning community. The first round of working group meetings was completed January 12, 2015, producing the beta version. Since then, the Reference Model was iteratively improved by the working group over several months. In mid April, 2015, version 1.0 of the Reference Model was published.


by Jason Haag | October 2nd, 2014 | home research mobile, augmented reality & performance support mobile learning mobile design: mlearning reference model

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