Mobile learning: Where is the niche?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters


The paper explores how the mobile technology can be appropriated as a tool to mediate learning in the "sweet spot" where meaningful mobile learning (m-learning) occurs. The author proposes examining m-learning under two intertwined conditions of (a) the properties of the context that enable the effectivities of the mobile technology, and (b) student capabilities and interpretations to take learning actions. When these conditions are met, the mobile technological tool is deemed to be appropriated at the "sweet spot" that involves the three interacting elements of affordances of the device, the context and student positive interpretations and actions. This "sweet spot" is termed as the "niche" for m-learning, and learning taking place in the spot is termed as "niche m-learning" in this paper. Five individual students' use of the mobile technology for learning in a university has been traced and examined for one year. Various qualitative data were collected and triangulated for the data analysis. The research findings show that niche m-learning resulted from the three interacting elements. Discussions are made and conclusions are drawn. Copyright © 2012 Asia-Pacific Society for Computers in Education.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWorhshop proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Computers in Education ICCE 2012
EditorsBen CHANG , Seng Chee TAN , Tatsunori MATSUI , Gautam BISWAS , Lung-Hsiang WONG, Tsukasa HIRASHIMA , Wenli CHEN
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherNational Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University
ISBN (Print)9789810746506
Publication statusPublished - 2012


Song, Y. (2012). Mobile learning: Where is the niche?. In B. CHANG, S. C. TAN, T. MATSUI, G. Biswas, L.-H. Wong, T. Hirashima, & W. Chen, (Eds.) Workshop proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Computers in Education ICCE 2012 (pp. 327-335), Singapore: National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University.


  • Affordances
  • Context
  • Niche m-learning
  • Student interpretations


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