Smartphones could be the fastest spreading technology in human history. These mobile devices change the way we communicate and enable mobile and ubiquitous learning at a different level. This study evaluated the use of mobile instant messaging tools to support teaching and learning in higher education. A total of 61 undergraduate students enrolled at a teacher-training institute in Hong Kong who have smartphones with WhatsApp were assigned into experimental and control groups. Besides the traditional classroom learning for both groups, the experimental group was also supported with bite-sized multimedia materials and teacher-student interaction via WhatsApp outside school hours. The participants of the control group used WhatsApp only for academic communication. Pre-test scores were used as the covariate. The marginal means on the post-test scores showed that the participants in the experimental group performed better than those in the control group. The intervention of WhatsApp improved the learning achievement of the participants. The strength of the intervention between the two groups was medium to large. A questionnaire designed by the author was administered at the end of the study. The participants showed positive perception and acceptance of the use of WhatsApp for teaching and learning. The participants slightly rejected the view that receiving instructional materials and questions outside school hours could interfere with their private lives. The typical usability issues on mobile learning were found to be valid. The experience learnt in this research was discussed. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc.
CitationSo, S. (2016). Mobile instant messaging support for teaching and learning in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 31, 32-42.
- Over-the-top (OTT) service
- Mobile instant messaging (MIM)
- Bite-sized learning
- Mobile learning