Master of Education in Distance Education (MDDE) 623

Introduction to Mobile Learning

Course cover

Delivery Mode: Group Study

Credits: 3

Prerequisite: None.

Availability: Normally, Winter Term Only

Note: MEd program students must complete Mdde601 & Mdde602 prior to all other courses
Early access to the Moodle Learning Management System begins a few days before the official start date of your course. At that time you will have limited course access.


MDDE 623: Introduction to Mobile Learning  provides students with the opportunity to explore and experience firsthand the potential of mobile learning in a distance learning environment. the course provides an overview of mobile learning research, trends, and  instructional design strategies for curriculum integration and professional development in a variety of learning and training contexts. It blends the theory and practice of m-learning as students experiment with mobile technology to engage in the course-related activities and analyse existing m-learning designs.  A number of trends and issues relating to the real-world practice of m-learning are explored to help students make a critical evaluation of m-learning tools, strategies, and approaches. Once students have examined the pedagogy, technology, design and critical factors of m-learning, they progress to evaluate existing mobile learning artifacts and solutions to assess their effectiveness in addressing educational needs and performance problems. The course lays the foundations critical for m-learning practitioners and enthusiasts to understand, create, facilitate, and implement mobile learning.

Course Goals

The course is designed for student to achieve the following goals:

  1. Evaluate the potential of mobile learning in distance education by critically analyzing current research on mobile learning affordances and challenges.
  2. Critically evaluate the effectiveness and applicability of existing mobile learning solutions, including strategies, technologies, and materials in the students' own educational environments or in case studies.
  3. Identify educational contexts for which mobile learning is an appropriate learning approach and describe m-learning strategies and technologies that should be applied in these particular contexts.
  4. Develop effective m-learning instructional strategies that integrate existing learning and teaching theories and/or approaches while recognizing the pedagogical nuances of mobile learning.
  5. Analyze the ethical implications of m-learning design and curriculum integration choices in distance education contexts.
  6. Synthesize a variety of instructional design frameworks and/or models and describe their application in a mobile learning instructional design context.
  7. Discuss common criticisms and controversies related to the adaptation of mobile learning.
  8. Select appropriate mobile learning technologies for individual mobile learning contexts.

Course Outline

The course consists of six units:

  • Unit 1: Definitions, key notions and technologies of mobile learning.
  • Unit 2: The real-world application of mobile learning.
  • Unit 3: The roles and uses of technology in mobile teaching and learning.
  • Unit 4: Mobile learning at a distance.
  • Unit 5: Introduction to instructional design for mobile learning.
  • Unit 6: Mobile learning case studies.

Learning Resources

Online Study Guide and Readings.


Ally, M. (Ed.) (2009). Mobile learning transforming the delivery of education and training. Athabasca, Alberta: Athabasca University Press.

Ally, M. & Tsinakos, A. (2014). Perspectives on open and distance learning: Increasing access through mobile learning. Vancouver, BC: Commonwealth of Learning.

Palalas, A., & Ally, M. (Eds.) (2016). The International Handbook of Mobile-Assisted Language Learning. Beijing, China: China Central Radio & TV University Press.

Tsinakos, A., & Ally, M. (Eds.) (2013). Global mobile learning implementations and trends. China Central Radio & TV University Press, Beijing China.

Student Assessment

Activity Weighting
Conference Participation: Students are expected to participate in the course forums. 15%
Assignment 1: (Individual) A short paper (1500 - 2000 words) discussing and critically evaluating the benefits and challenges of adopting m-learning in an online or blended learning educational context. 15%
Assignment 2: (Group) A short paper (2000 - 3000 words) identifying a course that you believe would benefit from the inclusion of mobile learning strategies and technologies and why. 20%
Assignment 3: (Group) Part 1: A brief proposal to modify the course you identified in Assignment 2 posted for peer feedback. Part 2: A blog posting (mobile) based on the peer feedback. 25%
Assignment 4: (Individual) A paper (2500 - 3500 words) that demonstrates your perspective on the adoption of mobile learning in a variety of education settings. 25%
Total 100%

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.