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M-learning design and mobile apps

There are 23 categories of apps in iTunes:

Books

Business

Catalogues

Education

Entertainment

Finance

Food & Drink

Games

Health

Lifestyle

Medical

Music

Navigation

News

Newsstand

Photo & Video

Productivity

Reference

Social Networking

Sports

Travel

Utilities

Weather

Research by Kukulska-Hulme et al. (2011) found that the most prominent uses [of mobile devices] were:

Contact with others Information seeking E-book reading Listening to podcasts Scheduling Photo-taking Voice recording Updating notes Facebook, and Instant messaging (p. 25).

In the top 200 list, 18 out of 23 categories appear. The following categories had apps that matched the prominent uses listed by Kukulska-Hume et al. (2011): Education Music Photo & Video Reference Social Networking

Books

Business

Catalogues

Education

Entertainment

Finance

Games

Health

Lifestyle

Music

Navigation

Photo & Video

Productivity

Reference

Social Networking

Sports

Utilities

Weather

In the top 200 list...

4 out of 200
were educational apps.
Games

Education

122 out of 200


were gaming apps. Percentage of apps by category in the top 200 list

of gaming apps appeared in the top 200 list.

70%

of education apps appeared in the top 200 list.

0%

This is no surprise, Schwabe and Goth (2005) found that game design in learning was not only motivating but engaging. In their mobile game design for learning, they found that students most enjoyed the experience of:

Mixed reality and interaction with other players.


Even iTunes users gave high ratings to the gaming applications in the top 200:

4.34
average
From

615 938

users.

44% 33% 10% 4% 4% 3% 2%

of the gaming apps from the top 200 train...

Finger Dexterity

of the gaming apps from the top 200 teach...


Strategy

of the gaming apps from the top 200 teach...


Design & Planning

of the gaming apps from the top 200 teach...

Detail-orientation

of the gaming apps from the top 200 teach...

General Knowledge

of the gaming apps from the top 200 teach...

Vocabulary

of the gaming apps from the top 200 teach...

Subject Specific Topics (ex. Medicine)

88%
3%
of the gaming apps in the Top 200 designed the game with only trivia questions.

of the gaming apps in the Top 200 designed the game with levels that include tasks or challenges.

9%

of the gaming apps in the Top 200 designed the game as a virtual world.

While storytelling is a powerful teaching method in engaging students in learning, creating ones own story gives the learner more choice in what they want to learn and develop versus a forced learning path. For example, Schwabe and Goth (2005) found that students enjoyed navigation through a map or virtual world similar to their present environment.

43%

of the gaming apps in the top 200 had a narrative or used storytelling to guide the player.

7%

of the gaming apps in the top 200 allowed players to create their own world and story.

Some of the mobile apps had avatars or a story line for a main character. These characters varied from human, animal or insect to zombies. Interestingly enough, Nowak and Rauh (2005) writes participants strongly preferred avatars that were both human and matched their own gender (p. 172). This is reflected in the game apps in the top 200.

73%
15%
of the gaming apps had an animal avatar.

of the gaming apps had a human avatar or a human as the main character in a story.

7%

of the gaming apps had a creature or monster avatar.

5%

of the gaming apps had a cartoon as an avatar.

While some of the gaming apps had educational value, some raised questions about content appropriateness. While these types of games are popular, is it appropriate for learning?

11%

of the gaming apps in the top 200 had a violent storyline or topic.

2
References

of the gaming apps use virtual weapons to torture a human figure.

Kukulska-Hulme, A., Petit, J., Bradley, L., Carvalho, A. A., Herrington, A., Kennedy, D. M., and Walker, A. (2011). Mature students using mobile devices in life and learning. International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning, 3(1), 18-52. Nowak, K. L., and Rauh, C. (2006). The influence of the avatar on online perceptions of anthropomorphism, androgyny, credibility, homophily, and attraction. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 11, 153-178. Schwabe, G., and Goth, C. (2005). Mobile learning with a mobile game: Design and

Note: The data was collected via iTunes on July 7, 2012. Rankings can change during the day based on activity.