Involving Students in the Development and Evaluation of a Ubiquitous Learning Application for a Design Practice Setting

By Lisa-Dionne Morris and Anthea Connolly.

Published by Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

Design students at the University of Leeds are using increasingly, and in increasingly innovative ways, mobile phone applications as part of their learning. Projects in UK higher education institutions (HEIs) have shown that well-designed mobile learning tools have the ability to engage students and bring a new dimension to their learning. This paper describes how a Ubiquitous Reusable Learning Application (URLA) for Product Design education at Leeds was able to echo the successes of similar tools developed elsewhere, and how the development of the tool was itself based around Product Design students. The pedagogy underlying the design and layout of the application originated with the course tutor. Product Design Masters students were, however, involved in the application as technologists, designers, end users and evaluators. The application, designed around ubiquitous computing technology, allows for a more context-driven, task-sensitive, and performance supportive model for learning and teaching. The success of the application, which meshes with undergraduate fieldtrip visits, has been judged in terms of students’ ability to critically analyze and evaluate designed products. Objective evaluation of the application has shown that it has succeeded on these fronts, and student feedback has been positive. There is concern that ubiquitous learning should be discipline relevant and, particularly amongst Product Design and Engineering educators, that any Ubiquitous Reusable Learning Application should reflect a perspective on learning focused on developing a high level of cognitive and creative skills. The current Ubiquitous Reusable Learning Application has set out to address and meet this concern. The continuing challenge for UK HEIs is that subject specialists are generally not learning technologists and learning technologists often lack subject specific expertise. This paper discusses the need to present new collaborative opportunities between students (users) and academics, and to bridge the gap between pedagogical and technological drivers and how, through projects such as this one, this can be achieved.

Keywords: Ubiquitous Learning, Ubiquitous Learning Mobile Application, Collaborative Design, Development and Evaluation of Ubiquitous Learning, Students as Instructors, Reusable Learning Object, Mobile Application, Mobile Phones, Mobile Technology, Mobile Learning, Assessment and Learning, Design Education, Product Design Education

Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp.21-38. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 4.466MB).

Lisa-Dionne Morris

Teaching Fellow, School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK

Lisa-Dionne Morris is a Teaching Fellow for the MDes in Product Design in the School of Mechanical Engineering, at the University of Leeds. In 2008 she completed her PGCLTHE and became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She has a design career spanning 10 years, with experience in both the automotive and product design sector. She graduated from the Royal College of Art with a MA in Industrial Design and worked as an Industrial Designer for the IBM Corporation in the United Kingdom. Her research is in the area of Mobile Learning Design with specific focus on the context-centric approach to modelling learning. She is currently studying for her PhD in Operational Interface Design at the University of Leeds. This work continues her interest in operational interface design.

Dr. Anthea Connolly

Feedback and Assessment Officer, Faculty of Engineering, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK

Anthea moved into the field of assessment and feedback two years ago. In this time she has worked to pin-point student expectations and understandings of assessment and feedback in the Faculty, and has studied the pedagogy of assessment and feedback. She is interested in learning more about the effects that technology can have on teaching and learning, and has, amongst other things, orchestrated projects in the Faculty to ‘capture’ live lectures; to facilitate staff-student interactions in lectures through personal response systems; and to deliver feedback via audio. She has a growing interest in mobile learning and is developing Faculty activity in this area.