Mobile Informal Learning

  • Dirk Börner (Speaker)
  • Christian Glahn (Speaker)
  • Marcus Specht (Speaker)

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesTalk or presentation (not at a conference)Academic


    Presentation for the Education in the Wild: contextual and location-based mobile learning in action workshop at the STELLAR Alpine Rendez-Vous 2009. November, 30-December, 3, 2009, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

    Mobile devices are gradually becoming ubiquitous and useful for personal informationmanagement and communication through different channels. This mobile revolution depends ontwo paradigms: firstly, the mobility of people and information, and secondly, the personalisationand contextualisation of information. This leads to new understandings of connectedness,interaction, participation, and context. In the field of education these paradigms have beenreflected by the concepts of “flexible learning” and “situated learning”. Flexible learning has beenthe key concept of distance education for many years and focuses on the flexible organisation oflearning tasks in the context of formal education. Situated learning has its background inworkplace learning and refers to the arrangement and to the embeddedness of learningexperiences in real life or authentic environments. Both concepts play an important role for thedifferent approaches of mobile learning.While the majority of flexible learning approaches have been related to formal education withpredefined learning goals, the situated learning approaches have been linked to informal andincidental learning. With regard to acquisition of domain knowledge and skills, informal andincidental learning is characterised by its learner centred, weakly structured, and incidentalnature. This type of learning is triggered by and situated in activities, experiences, and events.These “learning fragments” are usually not isolated to the learner, but part of a long‐termlearning process in which different learning goals are followed in parallel. Furthermore, learningprocesses have been identified as tightly coupled activity and reflection phases.The main benefit of mobile technologies in this context is their availability, when learning andlearning needs occur to people. Thus enables people to connect their fragmented learningexperiences to their long‐term learning goals. This raises the question on the aspects anddimensions that are key parameters influencing learning processes, and on the technicalconsequences of these aspects for developing mobile solutions to support informal and incidentallearning. Besides of appropriate educational content, contextualisation, personalisation,interaction, awareness, and reflection are the main aspects that need to be explored in greaterdetail.Contextualization is a key concept for informal learning activity support enhanced by theopportunities offered through mobile technology. Personalisation facilitates and accommodatesthe individual differences within the learning activity based on individual characteristics. Theinteraction aspect is crucial to organise information flows and navigate through differentchannels. Awareness is an important aspect for learning that can be related to several stages ofthe learning process, depending on the ability to select and to structure available information in alearning situation, as well as to relate this information to prior knowledge. While awarenessfocuses on the perception and selection of information, reflection considers structuring andanalysis of information.The challenge is to identify relevant patterns for these aspects resulting in a framework formobile informal learning considering the different aspects and phases of learning processes andsupporting the design of mobile solutions for different forms and stages of informal andincidental learning.
    Period30 Nov 20093 Dec 2009
    Event titleSTELLAR Alpine Rendez-Vous 2009: Education in the wild: contextual and location-based mobile learning in action
    Event typeWorkshop
    LocationGarmisch-Patenkirchen, Germany, Bavaria
    Degree of RecognitionInternational


    • mobile learning
    • Informal learning