mobile learning

Mobiles for Quality Improvement Pilot in Uganda

Posted by jamesbt on Dec 02, 2011
Mobiles for Quality Improvement Pilot in Uganda data sheet 1015 Views
Pamela Riley and James BonTempo
Publication Date: 
Nov 2011
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

USAID‘s Strengthening Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) project seeks to increase the role of the private sector in the sustainable provision and use of quality family planning/reproductive health and other health products and services. One of the areas of technical focus of the SHOPS project is to identify, deploy, and scale up promising uses of mobile technologies to improve health outcomes. Many developing countries have a severe shortage of health providers, and many of the providers who are working have only limited access to up-to-date clinical protocols, or face-to-face trainings. Mobile phones offer an innovative channel through which to provide cost-effective approaches for clinical training and support for improving quality of care.

SHOPS‘ partners Abt Associates, Jhpiego, and Marie Stopes International (MSI), collaborated in a mobile learning and performance support pilot called Mobiles for Quality Improvement (m4QI) conducted in Uganda during the period September 2010–August 2011. The goal of m4QI was to demonstrate the potential for positive behavioral change in service delivery by reinforcing face-to-face induction training lessons provided to Marie Stopes staff. Research supports the theory that spaced reinforcement of training combined with testing can significantly improve long-term knowledge retention and facilitate behavioral change.

The objectives of m4QI were to develop and test a technology-supported approach to performance improvement including processes for identifying performance gaps in adherence to clinical protocols, a platform to manage and automate the delivery and receipt of text message reminders and quizzes to address the gaps, and production of actionable data to improve effectiveness of supportive supervision and follow-up. To support scalability and replicability, the pilot platform was designed for users of low-end phones, and those without Internet access.


Mobile Learning Toolkit

Posted by MarkWeingarten on Aug 29, 2011
Mobile Learning Toolkit data sheet 2011 Views
Parker, Jenni
Publication Date: 
Jul 2011
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

The mobile learning toolkit is the result of research into mobile phone use and user needs within the African context, however it has been developed for use in all developing contexts. It is intended as a “trainer’s toolkit” that can help deliver a wide range of training activities both inside and outside of the classroom.


The mobile learning toolkit is an open source resource that can be used in the delivery of all kinds of training in any context. It has been designed to be as inclusive as possible, with most of the methods requiring only low end devices (basic mobile phones with voice calling and SMS capability). In this way the toolkit can be used to deliver interactive learning experiences to participants right to the Base of the Pyramid (BoP).

Mobile Learning for Africa

Posted by MarkWeingarten on Aug 25, 2011
Mobile Learning for Africa data sheet 2263 Views
Parker, Jennifer
Publication Date: 
Jan 2011
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

Within this brief an applied project was conducted in collaboration with the ILO in Geneva. The ILO is currently launching a worldwide training programme called (Managing Your Cooperative), which aims to teach contemporary principles of managing agricultural cooperatives to people in Africa, Asia and Latin America.


The goal of this applied project was to identify mobile learning opportunities within the delivery of this training programme in the African context. The result is a mobile learning toolkit that contains an overview of mobile learning, 15 mobile learning methods and a selection of tools that can be used to facilitate these methods. Each method includes a general step-by-step guide plus a customisation to the training programme.


The mobile learning toolkit is an open source resource that can be used in the delivery of all kinds of training in any developing context. It has been designed to be as inclusive as possible, with most of the methods requiring only low end devices (basic mobile phones with voice calling and SMS capability). In this way the toolkit can be used to deliver interactive distance learning experiences to participants even at the Base of the Pyramid (BoP).

Learning about mLearning: Thoughts from The International Mobiles for Education Symposium

Posted by MarkWeingarten on Aug 25, 2011

USAID recently hosted the International Mobiles for Education Symposium (M4Ed4Dev for short) in Washington, DC. The conference brought together academics, development professionals, tool developers, educators, and representatives from the private sector to assess the current state of mLearning and consider future developments. Given the varied backgrounds of the event’s participants, it’s understandable that a number of different, often conflicting, viewpoints were expressed. Here are a few.

Content Delivery Systems or Learner-Generated Content?

In general, the mobile tools discussed and demonstrated at the event can be divided into two distinct types: Those that deliver content and those that enable students to generate content and/or interact via mobile phone. Content delivery applications (which make up the majority) are largely designed to provide educational content chosen by educators to students who wouldn’t otherwise have access. Examples range from preloaded e-readers in Ghana to “internet a box” projects such as the eGranary.

SMS-Based Mobile Learning System: A Veritable Tool for English Language Education in Rural Nigeria

Posted by MarkWeingarten on Jan 13, 2011
SMS-Based Mobile Learning System: A Veritable Tool for English Language Education in Rural Nigeria data sheet 2618 Views
Nwaocha, Vivian Ogochukwu
Publication Date: 
Dec 2010
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

In sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in rural Nigeria, students in high school face the challenge of lacking exposure to English. For most, English language class are the only opportunity for learning English. Consequently, English skills are poor.

On the other hand, the use of mobile phones in Nigeria has continued to soar, with everyone having at least one mobile phone and Short Messaging Service (SMS) becoming the cheapest and regular mode of communication across different socio-economic spheres. Thus, there is great potential for this technology to be used as an instructional tool.

In this study, an SMS-based mobile learning system is employed in teaching high school students English. In order to determine if there were significant differences between students' success rate, pretests were administered to the experimental and control groups, after both received classroom instructions from the same Instructor. Subsequently, post-tests were administered to both groups, after the experimental and control groups had received SMS-based instruction and extra classroom instructions respectively. A paired sampled t-test was carried out and the results clearly revealed that after receiving the SMS-based instruction, the experimental group performed better than their counterparts who had received additional classroom instructions.

Mobile Research at Your Desk - No RSVP required!

Posted by MohiniBhavsar on Jul 25, 2010

At MobileActive, we’ve held a bi-weekly Research Ignite series to keep up with the latest in research related to mobiles for development. For the past few weeks, our team has been learning and discussing new research and reports. We invite you to put on your learning caps and plug into our screencasts, where we will feature some exciting developments in the world of m4d.

For this Ignite, we’re featuring three studies that were presented at the 28th ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. The research covers mobile games in rural India and China that address literacy, and a study on mobile Internet use in South Africa.


mGames for Literacy and Mobile Internet - Research Ignite #1 from on Vimeo.

Practice Chinese Strokes and Learn Characters

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, University of California, Carnegie Mellon University and Nokia Research Palo Alto developed two mobile games, Multimedia Word and Drumming Stroke, which aim to help young children in rural China recognize Chinese characters and practice strokes. It is the first known m-game that leverages a mobile learning tool for the Chinese language.

A Mobile Marakothi, a Traditional Children’s Game in India, that Teaches English

In rural India, empirical studies show that children often miss school largely due to family labor, assisting in domestic work at home or in the farm without wages or as hired labor. The authors believe that “Mobile learning can empower poor children to balance their educational and income earning goals,” and so, pursued the development of a mobile game to teach English vocabulary. Mobile phones with the m-game were deployed to children living in rural Uttar Pradesh, India for 26 weeks. The pilot identified opportunities for out-of-school learning, revealed gender influences on m-game usage and surprisingly, showed that m-games traversed caste and village boundaries and facilitated social interaction.

Presentation starts at 4:03 min.

Challenging Assumptions of Mobile Internet Access: The Experience of Women in A Township in South Africa

More and more mobile users are surfing the internet on their phones. For most people in developing countries, there is no plan B – in other words, no PC-based internet access. This study reports the experience of a group of women in Khayelitsha, in Cape Town, South Africa who connected to a mobile-based internet for the first time. In this article, six challenges facing mobile-only internet users in developing countries are identified. The authors propose how to the mobile industry can move forward by keeping the end-users in mind and introduce the concept of “digital divide” that is secondary to mobile access – it’s “after-access”.

Presentation starts at 9:59 min.

Thank you to the authors for providing permission to use images, screenshots and data as well as helpful feedback for the screencast. For more research, reports, and white papers about mobile technology for social change visit our mdirectory.

Mobile Research at Your Desk - No RSVP required! data sheet 4768 Views
Countries: China India South Africa

Learning in a Mobile Age

Posted by LeighJaschke on Aug 18, 2009
Learning in a Mobile Age data sheet 1694 Views
Traxler, John
Publication Date: 
Mar 2009
Publication Type: 
Journal article

The launch of the International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning is one of several indicators that mobile learning globally is reaching a critical and sustainable momentum and identity. The past six or seven years have seen a host of pilots and initiatives across sectors and across countries and these have established firstly that mobile learning takes learning to individuals, communities and countries where access to learning was challenging or problematic and secondly that mobile learning enhances, enriches and extends how learning is understood. Environmental factors have meant that this development has been haphazard.

The mobile learning community is now faced with broader challenges of scale, durability, equity, embedding and blending in addition to the earlier and more specific challenges of pedagogy and technology, but these developments take place in the context of societies where mobile devices, systems and technologies have a far wider impact than just mobile learning as it is currently conceived. This paper looks at the definition and evolution of mobile learning as the starting point for a discussion of this wider impact.

One Laptop Per Child v. Cellphones and Radio: A view from Malawi

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Jan 30, 2008

This report about the reality of the One Laptop Per Child initiative in one of the poorest countries on earth, the mobile revolution, the reality of radio, and what this all means for children was written by Martin Lucas in Malawi, and posted on a mailing list. We are publishing it here in its entirety for its insights and opinion. We'd love to hear from you - tell us what you think!

One Slate per Child by Martin Lucas

I have been reading with interest the discussion of the 'hundred-dollar laptop' and the One Laptop per Child initiative as I sit in Malawi, a small landlocked Southern African nation lodged between Mozambique, Zambia, and Tanzania. According to Wikipedia, the OLPC effort has its philosophical base in the idea that children with laptops will be able to do a certain kind of thinking that isn't possible without the computer - exploring certain areas - particularly in math and science where computer access offers a qualitatively superior learning experience. Making such machines available at low prices should allow developing countries to bridge the 'digital divide', and leapfrog learning. Countries that have signed on include Uruguay. India has given a definite no. Either way, the OLPC initiative is an aspect of 'development' even 'IT for Development.' How does the initiative square with the reality of a small African nation?