The design of economical blended mobile learning with SMS

Kwang Sik Chung
Korea National Open University
Seoul, Korea

Vincent Chung Sheng Hung and Teoh Ping Chow
Wawasan Open University
Penang, Malaysia

As mobile devices become daily necessities, almost all learners have their own mobile devices, especially cellular phones or smartphones. A mobile ecosystem increases competitiveness and has influenced daily life and particularly e-learning. However, mobile devices are not cheap and mobile communication fees are very expensive. Therefore, mobile learning could create a digital divide between the rich and the poor, an issue which needs to be carefully and continuously considered. Mobile communication services, such as SMS (short message service) and MMS (multimedia messaging service) are very efficient and useful e-learning tools. MMS is certainly more efficient than SMS, but its receive and send fees are still expensive, while in SMS receiving is free.

In this paper, the authors propose blended e-learning scenarios that use SMS for learning instruction and feedbacks to students. Students receive SMS from a lecturer or tutor without cost. When students receive this free SMS, they respond without cost on their desktop computers. There are two kinds of SMS one for homework, references and class events; and the other for pop-up quizzes and short-answer examinations. Because of free SMS, our proposed blended mobile learning scenarios can support a more interactive e-learning environment between lecturers and students. With SMS, we have designed blended scenarios for examinations, assignments and tutorials, and a blended learning activity encouragement scenario. The proposed blended e-learning scenarios will suit poor students so that their learning conation and motivation will be improved.