A review of the types of mobile activities in mobile inquiry-based learning


Inquiry-based Learning is increasingly suggested as an efficient approach for fostering learners' curiosity and motivation. It helps learners to develop their ability to work in complex and unpredictable environments making them more critical thinkers and agentic learners. Although mobile technology is a suitable support for this learning process, there is a lack of practical strategies for educational practitioners to enact the right balance between enabling agency and supporting the students through the mobile technology. Thus, we conducted a literature review that analyzed 62 studies on mobile inquiry-based learning. The analysis focused on the level of agency supported by mobile technology. This review study provided two main results. The first result is a two-layer classification –with five types and twelve subtypes– of the most common mobile activities used in inquiry-based learning. The types and subtypes are: 1) Direct instruction formed by 1a) location guidance, 1b) procedural guidance and 1c) metacognitive guidance, 2) Access to content formed by 2a) fixed and 2b) dynamic content, 3) Data collection that consists of 3a) cooperative and 3b) collaborative data collection, 4) Peer-to-peer communication formed by 4a) asynchronous and 4b) synchronous social communications and 5) Contextual support that includes 5a) augmented experience, 5b) immersive experience and 5c) adaptive feedback. The second result consists of an analytical framework –based on six dimensions– to assess the level of agency supported by the different types of mobile activities. The learners' agency dimensions are: 1) Goals, 2) Content, 3) Actions, 4) Strategies, 5) Reflection and 6) Monitoring. Finally, the review presents insights on how this analytical framework can be used by educational practitioners to identify mobile activities that effectively balance learners’ agency with mobile technology.

Computers & Education

Suarez, A., Specht, M., Prinsen, F., Kalz, M., & Ternier, S. (2018). A review of the types of mobile activities in mobile inquiry-based learning. Computers & Education, 118, 38-55. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2017.11.004

Marco Kalz
Marco Kalz
Professor of Educational Technology

My research interests is on open education, pervasive technologies and formative assessment to support (lifelong) learning and knowledge construction.