Mobile Phone and Learning at University


Cell Phones are one of the fastest-growing technologies in this century across the country and these devices are very influential for young people. Increased dispersion of mobile devices in all aspects of people’s lives are on the rise.

Like all technology, cell phones can have their advantages and disadvantages, depending on how they are used. To the best of their ability, they can be useful tools for communicating, acquiring new information and coordinating social activities. Worse, they can adversely affect focus, communication and sleep, or increase fear of loss, delay and stress.

Mobile devices have a wonderful opportunity as a learning tool in the classroom: many students for example use them to take notes in class, while others use them to record lectures or parts of lectures for the future. Mobile learning is any type of learning that occurs when a student is not in a predetermined, predetermined position, or learning that occurs when a student takes advantage of the learning opportunities provided by mobile technology.

Mobile learning allows students to access their learning materials anywhere and anytime using mobile technology as well the Internet. Despite the amazing growth and potential of mobile devices and networks, mobile learning is still in its infancy.

Although the use of Mobile Phone for learning purposes has grown exponentially, several challenges still remain in the use of mobile technology in higher education. These challenges include a disconnect between student views and teachers’ technology proficiency, a lack of support or teacher training, and a lack of effective technical support for mobile learning.

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Advantages of Utilizing Mobile Phone by Students

Mobile Phone in the classroom can work as catalysts to promote collaboration, interaction and students’ interest in course content and tasks as well as facilitate formative and summative assessment activities. The integration of mobile devices in teaching and learning will create opportunities for students to be in contact with outside world such as their families. The potential of these devices facilitates engagement and participation in the discussion when used in the classroom setting, it allows students to adapt course content to fit their learning style and pace, the visual and tactile learning opportunities presented by these devices made the learning

experience more hands-on. Students were able to share information more efficiently, formulate responses to questions, and increase their sense of accountability. Study found that the capabilities of these devices encourage learning and engagement. This is evident in students’ reports of using their mobile devices to access course content and use ‘apps’ to support their learning.

Following are few benefits for usage of mobile phone in classroom

  1. Preparing Students for the Future: Students knowing how to use a smartphone is getting an important part in this connected world. In many rural areas even if they own a smartphone, they don’t know how to actually use many of its features. If student starts using the device continuously, they will get closer to the new trends and technologies.
  2. Up-to-date Learning: The lapsed trend of searching for the particulars in books and other references has gone away. If students have mobile phones in classroom, he can instantly access the latest information about anything and everything, and thus increases the motivation and engagement level of students in their studies. Also, they will get instant access to information about new technologies in their interested fields and they can share this information to other students through smart phone. Even though the lecturing is one of the ways of conveying information to students, this way of teaching won’t hold their attention very long. Thus, this way of sharing information will greatly help students to widen their knowledge.
  3. Alternative to Textbooks: The old way of going to libraries, searching for books, contents, topics etc., everything has gone away. Student knowledge will increase only if they get updated, knowledgeable information of anything and everything instantly. Many textbooks will not contain relevant information a student need. Library books couldn’t able to provide updated information as like a smart phone do. Also, they can keep digital textbooks in .docx, .pdf etc. formats or even as e-books in their smart phone. This is how smartphone replaces pen-drives, external hard-disks and other data storage devices.
  4. Learning goes outside of classroom: Learning will happen not only from classrooms but also from home too. Research has studied that learning will be more engaging if they study with newer technologies like Smartphone. If they start using smart phones in classrooms it will extend their studies to more fields. They can carry notes, videos for references and go through it whenever they are free. In classroom, if the students are engaged and excited in learning, then they are more fairly to continue learning outside of the classroom. They can do it with smart phones.
  5. Collaborative Learning: Through smartphone devices students can easily share materials of their subjects, relevant information about their courses easily. Today ‘Computer Supported Collaborative Learning’ (CSCL) plays a vital role in learning. We can introduce a new term called ‘Smart phone Supported Collaborative Learning’ (SSCL) in which the students can learn collaboratively using smart phones. The traditional way of ‘combined study’ can also be achieved through this

How Mobile Devices Are Used for Learning

Several types of research had been conducted with the aim to ascertain how mobile devices are used for learning. Among which include the following:

One of the researches is a study of using mobile devices to support the learning of university students at Islamic Azad University of South Tehran. The study was carried out during the academic year 2011/2012 on 284 students who have been randomly selected among 2140 students of Psychology and Educational Science at the aforementioned university. That particular study showed that the most frequent use of mobile devices for educational purposes by university students are activities that include using a calculator, sending/receiving educational SMS, and dictionary use. Activities which were rated very low were: usage of the internet for educational purposes (22.2% students used it very little and 31.7% not at all), usage of educational software (23.0% students used educational software on their mobile phone very little and 30.4% not at all), and sending/receiving educational e-mail (40.1% students didn’t use that activity at all). On average, 24.4% of students didn’t use mobile phones for any educational activity. The study also showed that female students, in comparison to their male colleagues, are more likely to use mobile devices for educational purposes.

Another study was about the impact of mobile learning on students’ learning behaviors and performance. The study was carried out at Network Education College, Shanghai Jiaotong University, among 178 students. One hundred and forty- three students participated in activities of mobile learning, of which 89 students participated in all activities of mobile learning. That study showed that students use their mobile devices for the following learning activities: discussing course content with classmates (85% of the participants), asking classmates questions (54%), asking the instructor or teaching assistant questions (90%), answering questions from the instructor (82%), answering questions from classmates (52%), exchanging ideas with classmates about the course material (38%). Students also had some suggestions for improving the mobile learning content, for example: more discussions through emails and forums to accommodate students with special needs, the mobile learning content must have a variety of topics and formats in addition to quizzes and situational dialogues.

Mobile Phone Can Impair Your Learning

New research on college students suggests that the mere presence of a cell phone can impair learning during a lecture. The study, published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, found cell phones tended to reduce attention and memory.

While a surge of research has suggested that technology generally impairs learning if not used directly for learning-related activities, cell phones and laptops are likely just going to become more frequent in the classroom. Thus, we need to understand the factors that impact learning in the presence of technology rather than to forcibly take away students’ technology

For their experiment, the researchers had 381 college students watch a videotaped lecture and take a short quiz about it afterward. The lecture was a 20-minute TED talk given by Dr. Sam Richards called “A Radical Experiment in Empathy.”

Some of the students were allowed to use their cell phones, some were told not to use it and to put it into silent mode, and some were not allowed to possess a cell phone at all. In addition, four text messages were sent to the participants during the lecture.

The researchers found that students tended to perform worse on the quiz when they had their cell phone and when they scored higher on a measure of nomophobia the fear of being without access to one’s cell phone. The same was true of students who were noticeably distracted by the texts. The researchers found the effects were most pronounced 10 to 15 minutes into the lecture.

Having mobile technology in the classroom has multiple and independent negative effects on learning. The mere presence of a cell phone can be distracting for both the cell phone user and students sitting around the cell phone user, not to mention the obvious distraction if someone gets a text or phone call (even if on silent),” McDonough explained.

In addition, people’s own emotional state, such as the need to feel connected to others via their mobile device, has a reliable and negative impact on attention and learning. Thus, teachers and students alike need to work together to find solutions to enhance learning without sacrificing one’s learning ability and emotional health. This problem will not be easy to fix, especially as students become more emotionally reliant on their cell phones or other mobile devices.


Not with standing these recommendations, it is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the benefits of mobile devices which include, storage of information, access to information, mobility of the device, use of social media. It is also important to know how students have been using the mobile devices for learning among which are: To access course materials, doing classwork, send and receive e-mails, taking and sharing notes, virtual classrooms.

To ensure broader mobile technology adoption among teachers, institutions should focus on better educating them about mobile technologies. At UCF, we created a self-paced online course, ‘Mobile Essentials,’ that covers available resources and considerations for implementing mobile technology into teaching. We include further information in IDL6543: Interactive Distributed Learning, a required blended course for all instructors who will be teaching online or in a blended course. The focus in this course is on educating instructors about ownership and beliefs about mobile technologies, as well as on best practices aimed at improving the mobile user experience through mobile design.

Because mobile technology changes frequently, developing a university-wide mobile strategy can be a difficult task. Although hardware has traditionally defined the technology, mobile software is now outpacing hardware in innovation. Further, mobile technologies such as smartwatches and virtual reality headsets have begun entering the mainstream, while mobile-connected internet of things (IoT) devices — such as activity trackers, smart speakers, and Bluetooth beacons — are now a part of the mobile ecosystem at many institutions

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Mobile Phone and Learning at University. (2021, Mar 09). Retrieved from

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