Exploring mobile learning opportunities and challenges in Nepal: the potential of open-source platforms
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AbstractWith the increasing access to mobile devices in developing countries, the number of pilots and projects embracing mobile devices as learning tools is also growing. The important role it can play in improving education is also positively received within education communities. But, providing a successful mobile learning service is still significantly challenging. The considerable problems arise due to existing pedagogical, technological, political, social and cultural challenges and there has been a shortage of research concerning how to deploy and sustain this technology in a resource constrained educational environment. There are studies mainly conducted in sub-Saharan countries, India, and Latin America, which provide some guidelines for incorporating technology in the existing educational process. However, considering the contextual differences between these regions and other countries in Asia, such as Nepal, it requires a broader study in its own challenging socio-cultural context. In response to this difficulty, the aims of this exploratory research work are to study the distinct challenges of schools’ education in Nepal and evaluate the use of open-source devices to provide offline access to learning materials in order to recommend a sustainable mobile learning model. The developmental study was conducted in University of West London in order to assess the feasibility of these devices. The main study in Nepal explored i) the overall challenges to education in the challenging learning environment of schools with limited or no access to ICT, ii) how ICT might be helping teaching and learning in the rural public schools, and iii) how an offline mobile learning solution based on the open source platforms may facilitate English language teaching and learning. Data collection primarily involved interviews, questionnaires, observations and supplemented by other methods. This thesis presents the sustainable model for deploying and supporting mobile technology for education, which is based on the findings emerging from completed exploratory studies in Nepal. It highlights all the aspects that need to be addressed to ensure sustainability. However, to translate this understanding to a design is a complex challenge. For a mobile learning solution to be used in such challenging learning contexts, the need is to develop simple and innovative solutions that provide access to relevant digital learning resources and train teachers to embed technology in education. This thesis discusses these findings, limitations and presents implications for the design of future mobile learning in the context of Nepal.
Shrestha, Sujan (2016) Exploring mobile learning opportunities and challenges in Nepal: the potential of open-source platforms. Doctoral thesis, University of West London.