• No results found

Information type and learning

Chapter 6: Discussion

6.4 Participants’ Perceptions of the Usefulness of SMS as an Educational Tool

6.4.3 Information type and learning

education could usefully implement educational SMS to promote learning, as long as an appropriate number of messages was timed properly and was appropriately synchronised with lectures.

In addition, SMS can be used to improve other aspects students’ self-regulated learning strategies. SMS can be used to encourage students to attend lectures, tutorials and workshops, as well as to complete assignments. The findings suggest that to improve students’ academic study time during the semester, educational SMS should be sent over the whole semester regularly and at specific times in order to help students organise their study time. SMS could also be used to develop and maintain a feeling of connection throughout the academic semester, and to provide social and academic support to first year university students to improve their transition from school to university. In addition

educational SMS can be used to support students who might be at risk in certain classes.

6.4.3 Information type and learning. Students consistently identified the type of

would be useful to for receiving educational content from their classes. However, the participants reported some issues related to the type of information that can be received via SMS.

In the first interview, some participants said they believed that educational SMS should contain simple educational content that needed to be memorised rather than

complicated educational content that needed to be comprehended. Such perceptions might have originated from the perceived deficiency of SMS in sending detailed messages due to the limited number of characters that can be sent via one SMS. The brevity of SMS made the students believe that they could not be used to send large amounts of information, and should therefore be used to send short messages that need to be memorised rather than to send large amounts information that needed to be comprehended. Previous research studies supported using SMS to support teaching and learning in courses that depend on

memorisation such as foreign vocabulary in language learning courses (Lu, 2008; Cavus &

Ibrahim, 2009).

Some participants believed that SMS would be useful for sending administrative information. The immediacy of communication offered by SMS might have made the students believe that SMS would be useful to communicate time sensitive administrative information related to their classes. The findings regarding students’ preferences for receiving administrative information by means of SMS aligned with the findings of similar research studies. For instance, Naismith (2007) suggested the types of administrative information that can be sent via SMS included: notices of changes and cancellations;

reminders to submit assignments, reminders to collect assignments, and notices of relevant lectures/activities. In the second interviews, some participants believed that SMS would also be useful to send quizzes in order to encourage them to study more. Research has shown the usefulness of SMS for sending quizzes in higher education settings (Abu Ziden

& Abdul Rahman, 2013). This finding suggests that participants started to think about other possible uses of SMS, and they believed that SMS would also be useful to send short quizzes that would motivate them to study.

The findings showed that students’ perceptions of SMS as an educational tool were strongly related to their perceptions of SMS ease of use and usefulness as a communication tool. For instance, the reported difficulties of using SMS due to the limited number of

characters that can be sent in one SMS made the students believe that SMS is useful for sending simple educational content that depends on memorisation rather that

comprehension, short administrative messages, or short quizzes. In addition, students’

positive perceptions of the usefulness of SMS for convenient and direct communication made them believe that educational SMS would allow them to receive key points of the lectures and important short details of the lectures.

The findings have several implications for how institutions of higher education could implement SMS to support teaching and learning. The nature of the courses in which SMS can be used to support teaching and learning needs to be carefully considered. Course information should be carefully selected. For instance, the types of the educational content that can be sent via SMS would include the main concepts and the key points of the lectures. In addition, educational SMS can be used to deliver details related to the course that the students might fail to notice during the class. The educational content in these courses should suit SMS communication, as many aspects could be reduced to short messages (e.g. one programming statement) that could stand alone and retain meaning.

Examples of such courses include foreign language and programming language courses, where foreign language tips or a code statement and its explanation can be sent in one SMS message. The educational content of the SMS should be carefully selected. The educational content of SMS should be simple and short, and should fit in one, clear, understandable message. However, the content of educational SMS should not be trivial and should include significant details related to the educational content.

The findings support the previous argument that suggest that institutions of higher education can profitably send important and time sensitive administrative information. On the university level SMS can be used to send students key dates for registration and

enrolment. On a class level, SMS can be used to send students course management-related information such as assignment due dates and absentee rates. The findings suggest that besides the possible use of SMS in higher education to send educational and administrative content, SMS can also be used to send quizzes in the form of short questions for students.

Institutions of higher education could use SMS to support face-to-face instruction rather than SMS being the main educational tool in the class. The integration of technology into

the educational process should be accompanied with showing the students the positive benefits of such integration on their learning.