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|
Teaching Fellow, School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
Feedback and Assessment Officer, Faculty of Engineering, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK