Distance learners use of handheld devices for study

The nature of distance learning and the constantly changing patterns in the ownership and use of handheld devices makes it essential to continually monitor and review how students are using their handheld devices for study. How do patterns of ownership, adoption and use by distance learning students differ? How are study habits and learning experiences changing and how do students perceive this? Does use in study features in student decisions to purchase devices?

These questions formed the focus of a 2013 student survey undertaken by the OU’s Pedagogy of EBooks Project. A report detailing these findings is now available as an IET Research and Innovation Report. The report describes the results of an undergraduate survey which asked students how they used e-readers, tablets and smartphones for study. This represents a snapshot of the rapidly changing interaction between technology and education, and highlights issues and opportunities for Higher Education in supporting student adoption of appropriate technologies and development of effective new methods of study.

The Pedagogy of Ebooks Project began in 2012 and seeks to document, analyse and explain the changing study practices of UK distance learning students as they employ, adapt and integrate the use of new portable digital devices such as e-book readers and tablets into their learning. Data from the most recent survey in 2014 Survey is currently being written up and a 2016 survey is anticipated.

A copy of the report is freely available: Cross, S., Sharples, M. and Healing, G. (2015) E-Pedagogy of Handheld Devices 2013 Surevy: Patterns of Student Use for Learning, IET Research and Innovation Report Series IET-2015-01, ISSN: 2058-9867. Available at:  http://proxima.iet.open.ac.uk/public/2015-01-RI-E-Pedagogy-of-handheld-devices-2013-survey.pd


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