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Mobile Devices and Lifelong Learning: The Students’ Perspective

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Teaching and Advising Tools Using Computers and Smart Devices

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Susan L. Miertschin University of Houston (CoT)

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Susan L. Miertschin, M.Ed., M.S.I.S., is an Associate Professor teaching in the Computer Information Systems program at University of Houston. Her teaching interests are in the areas of (1) information systems applications development and the complementary nature of back-end developer and front-end developer skill sets and (2) managing IT services. Her research interests are program and student assessment, the impact of instructional technology on student learning, and the improvement of e-learning environments and experiences.

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Barbara Louise Stewart University of Houston

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Barbara L. Stewart is a Professor of Retailing and Consumer Science at the University of Houston. Her teaching and research interests are in the application of strategies to improve student learning and life enhancement in online courses. She has served as an academic administrator and in leadership positions for numerous professional organizations.

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Carole E. Goodson University of Houston (CoT)

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Carole Goodson is a Professor of Technology at the University of Houston. As an active member of ASEE, she is a member of the Academy of Fellows, a past Editor of the Journal of Engineering Technology, a past Chair of PIC IV and the ERM Division, and a past Chair of the Gulf Southwest Section of ASEE.

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Mobile Devices and Lifelong Learning: The Students’ Perspective

In Rethinking the Future, Alvin Toffler notes that: The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. With the advances in technology, this process of pursuing knowledge for a lifetime has become not only more readily accessible but also more impelling. With advanced technical tools, we have the opportunity to seek, renew, rekindle and thus, grow.

Although lifelong learning has become a particularly popular concept in the last several years, it is as old as human history (Bosco). Lifelong learning typically refers to a process characterized by learning that is informal or formal, open ended, voluntary, and self-motivated with the aim of improving an individual knowledge’s base. Both personal and professional reasons can motivate the learning activity. Lifelong learning has long been the aspiration of educators and in fact, within recent times, it has become a requirement for program credibility. For example, ABET student requirements specify that “students have recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning”.

Since the 1960’s, computers have emerged in the classroom to provide information, instruction, tutoring and testing for students. With the advent of the internet in the 1990’s and the subsequent development of mobile technologies in the twenty first century, the use of computer based/mobile devices has expanded to provide learning experiences beyond the classroom. Sharples reports that mobile learning supports lifelong learning in that it provides a mechanism that is highly portable and thus, available wherever the user needs to learn; is adaptable to the learner’s abilities and knowledge base; enables communication with experts and peers; offers convenience for learning throughout a long period of time, enabling the learner’s personal accumulation of resources and knowledge; and is intuitive which enables use by people with no previous experience of the technology.

If the intent of educators is to help students plan and accomplish goals within this framework, it is desirable that we understand how students perceive the lifelong learning process in the new world of readily accessible information. The intent of the current study was to explore the application of mobile devices to lifelong learning, particularly as perceived and used by students. A survey directed at these concepts was completed by 256 students enrolled in eight University courses in the spring of 2015. Included were courses in computer information systems, research methods, merchandising systems, statistics, and supervision.

Using the results of the survey and related literature, the current study explores and addresses issues such as the following. • What mobile devices are commonly utilized by students to support learning? • How do students perceive that they can use mobile devices to continue learning? • What do students view as contributions that the institution and individual instructors can make to the lifelong learning process? • How can the institution promote and develop students’ lifelong learning abilities?

Results of the research are presented with implications for delivery of courses.

Miertschin, S. L., & Stewart, B. L., & Goodson, C. E. (2016, June), Mobile Devices and Lifelong Learning: The Students’ Perspective Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25736

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2016 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015