Mobile-assisted language learning [Revised and updated version]

Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes (2018). Mobile-assisted language learning [Revised and updated version]. In: Chapelle, Carol A. ed. The Concise Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. Wiley.


Mobile-assisted language learning (MALL) is the use of smartphones and other mobile technologies in language learning, especially in situations where portability and situated learning offer specific advantages. A key attraction of mobile learning is the ubiquity of mobile phones. Typical applications can support learners in reading, listening, speaking and writing in the target language, either individually or in collaboration with one another. Increasingly, MALL applications relate language learning to a person’s physical context when mobile, primarily to provide access to location-specific language material or to enable learners to capture aspects of language use in situ and share it with others. Mobile learning can be formal or informal, and mobile devices may form a bridge connecting in-class and out-of-class learning. When learning takes place outside the classroom, it is often beyond the reach and control of the teacher. This can be perceived as a threat, but it is also an opportunity to revitalize and rethink current approaches to teaching and learning. Mobile learning appeals to a wide range of people for a variety of reasons. It may exclude some learners but it is often a mechanism for inclusion. It is likely that the next generation of mobile learning will be more ubiquitous, which means that there will be smart systems everywhere for digital learning. Mobile learning is proving its potential to address authentic learner needs at the point at which they arise, and to deliver more flexible models of language learning.

Viewing alternatives

Download history

Item Actions