The Open UniversitySkip to content

Mobile learning: two case studies of supporting inquiry learning in informal and semiformal settings

Jones, Ann; Scanlon, Eileen and Clough, Gill (2013). Mobile learning: two case studies of supporting inquiry learning in informal and semiformal settings. Computers & Education, 61 pp. 21–32.

Full text available as:
Full text not publicly available (Version of Record)
Due to publisher licensing restrictions, this file is not available for public download
Click here to request a copy from the OU Author.
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Mobile technologies can support learning across different contexts as their portability enables them to be used by the learner in whichever context she or he is in. They can be particularly beneficial in informal and semiformal contexts where learners have more control over their learning goals and where motivation is often high. Inquiries in informal contexts are likely to be personally relevant in terms of topics of interest and capitalise on learners' location as learners decide what, where, when and whether to learn. There is considerable interest in how such benefits can be harnessed for more formal learning and one challenge is how to make inquiries personally relevant in such contexts. However, there is little literature that considers the structure needed to support informal and semiformal inquiry learning. This paper contributes to that literature by examining dimensions for researchers and designers to consider investigating or developing support for inquiries in informal or semiformal settings.

The paper examines two case studies of inquiry learning in contrasting settings in order to understand more about learner control and how technology can support learners' inquiries. Case study one considers the use of web based software to support science inquiry learning by 14–15 year olds in a semiformal context, whilst the second case study reports on informal adult learners using their own mobile technologies to learn about landscape. These case studies are compared and contrasted in terms of the dimensions of learner control, location of learning, and the different support mechanisms for inquiry learning and a framework is proposed for considering these dimensions.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2012 Elsevier Ltd
ISSN: 0360-1315
Keywords: mobile learning; inquiry learning; informal learning; semi-formal learning; learning communities
Academic Unit/School: Institute of Educational Technology (IET)
Research Group: Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)
Item ID: 34827
Depositing User: Ann Jones
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2012 10:52
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2020 06:59
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU