Thursday, 19 April 2012

#ict4d challenges to deliver sustainable #mLearning in developing regions

In a previous post I linked to a presentation by John Traxler, focusing on the discrepancy between current mLearning projects constructed by the mLearning research community that are often lacking rigorous evaluation and sustainable options, and the mobile corporate world pushing for scalable, sustainable mobile projects that are based on pragmatic, transparent facts.

The video below is provided by the University of Kwazulu-Natal, the recording can be downloaded from their seminar website here. The video you see here is the low bandwidth version, but on their site you will find a high resolution version (which works great on a television set as well).

John highlights the lack of mLearning pilots being evaluated in full, and the lack of reports on mLearning projects that did not reach the goals they were build for. For - as he points out - full reporting of mLearning endeavors will allow all of us (academics, corporations, ict4d community...) to really engage in meaningful education through mobile devices (if such is possible), all the while allowing both local (not localized) and really contextual pedagogies (based on pedagogies that are meaningful within the culture in which education will take place) to be developed, leading towards meaningful education through the use of mobile devices (or any ubiquitous technologies).

All through his talk he links to the philosophical undertow of technological beliefs that have and are coloring our contemporary development in mobile learning, and as such risk being at the core of what is and is not working with target populations that are not fully understood. For - as John mentions - if you go in as a technologist, any project will be evaluated based on technology, while if you are an educationalist, chances are all results of a project will be linked to education... and so on. What we need is an interdisciplinary understanding of how learning works, how it differentiates between cultures/regions/groups... and if how these differences can give rise to educational solutions that are sustainable, scalable yet at the same time can be adjusted to local needs and pedagogies.

Well, not sure if my brief transcript is clear, but the presentation surely works inspirational.