Conference Presentation

How handheld devices transform, augment and reinforce university students’ study habits

EDULEARN 2019 | Mallorca, Spain | 1st July 2019

Ownership and use of handheld devices for university study and revision is transforming learning habits and posing new learning design and pedagogic challenges to educators. How is seamless learning affecting study habits, what is the impact of simultaneous multiple-device use, and can existing learning platforms cope with new demands? Whilst surveys in the UK, US and other countries have helped monitor trends, there remains a paucity of comparably sized analysis of qualitative data. Such insight is essential to help interrogate and explain observed trends and to probe the new ‘opportunity time’ that mobile learning creates. This paper will present the results from a thematic analysis of open-comment survey data collected from UK distance learners. This work was conducted as part of the long-running E-Pedagogies Project which began in 2012. The dataset includes undergraduate learners from all subject disciplines and used an emergent coding scheme that was framed by key issues identified in a literature review, an analysis of initial learner interviews, and previous statistical analysis of the survey by the authors. The paper focuses on three learner groups identified in the statistical analysis: those using devices for a wide range of study purposes, those using devices for a limited number of purposes, and those deciding not to use devices for study. The paper will present findings that unpack differences as to how, why and where handheld devices are used, highlight examples of innovative, necessary or unusual study practice reported by learners, and summarise what changes learners want to see.