What Makes Mobile Learning Ubiquitous?

ubiq·ui·tous - Pronunciation: \yu-'bi-kwE-tEs\

Function: adjective, Date: 1830, existing or being everywhere at the same time: constantly encountered: widespread "a ubiquitous fashion"

Source: Merriam Webster

The term ubiquitous often appears in conjunction with scholarly articles on mobile and communication devices and more specifically, mobile learning. This article will help us understand more about this term and why it has become so relevant in the field of mobile learning.

Wikipedia states that ubiquitous learning (or u-learning) is equivalent to a form of simple mobile learning, e.g. learning environments that can be accessed in various contexts and situations.

With mobile learning expanding globally, more and more people have begun to experience ubiquitous learning (learning that can happen whenever you need it, however you want it) using their mobile devices.

Features of Ubiquitous Learning

The main characteristics of ubiquitous learning are (Chen et al., 2002; Curtis et al., 2002):

Permanency: Learners can never lose their work unless it is purposefully deleted. In addition, all the learning processes are recorded continuously in everyday.

Accessibility: Learners have access to their documents, data, or videos from anywhere. That information is provided based on their requests. Therefore, the learning involved is self-directed.

Immediacy: Wherever learners are, they can get any information immediately. Therefore learners can solve problems quickly. Otherwise, the learner may record the questions and look for the answer later.

Interactivity: Learners can interact with experts, teachers, or peers in the form of synchronies or asynchronous communication. Hence, the experts are more reachable and the knowledge is more available.

Situating of instructional activities: The learning could be embedded in our daily life. The problems encountered as well as the knowledge required are all presented in the nature and authentic forms. It helps learners notice the features of problem situations that make particular actions relevant.

Adaptability: Learners can get the right information at the right place with the right way.

By looking at the features of ubiquitous learning, it's easier to understand why many consider mobile education to be a form ubiquitous learning.

With the development of mobile learning, the concept of ubiquitous education has become more tangible. While u-learning itself extends beyond known technologies like portable computers and mobile devices, this decade has ushered in the advent of mobile education, considered by many as a vital step towards a truly ubiquitous learning system.

Reference: Chen et al., Curtis et al., 2002, In Young Scientific Research(2) no. 15700516 from Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.