What Students Think Of Mobile Learning And What Makes A Great App

Are students addicted to their phones? We don’t need a study to know they are. But why? What is the biggest reason they can’t put their phones down? We now know the answer(s) thanks to Answer Underground. They’re resident experts in the area of mobile learning since they have a free app that connects students with information through a study group Q&A environment.

They were kind enough to share some useful research with Edudemic and chat about what they think it takes to make an actually helpful mobile learning app.

“The next generation consumes in a new way and that consumption is mobile,” says Sallie Severns, Founder of Answer Underground. A recent study shows 45% of students are using their mobile devices for learning and these percentages will only keep growing.

Students just can’t put their phones down. What is the preferred smartphone for college students? It’s iPhones. Students prefer iPhones over Android 2:1. When we asked students why? “Simple to use” says Christine Benik, a Junior at UC Berkeley. Students are addicted to their phones.

Research shows 52% of students often check their phones before getting out of bed in the morning, Nearly 50% do so while in bed at night before they fall asleep.

What Makes A Better Mobile Learning App?

We spoke with the Answer Underground folks about what they think it takes to make a better mobile learning app. Not surprisingly, they had done plenty of research in this area as well.

They found that the biggest feature students want in an app is simply not a ton of features. Students say hunting for answers via Google can be cumbersome as it’s easy to get quickly distracted or lost in the clutter of ads and related links. In fact, even toolbar bookmarks in browsers can be too distracting.

Being able to do one task very well is the key to a good app. Don’t try to be a Swiss Army Knife for everything in education. An app like Answer Underground performs one function well. I’ve found that most of my favorite education apps (and all apps in general) do just that. One thing well. Simple as that.

Answer Underground is available on iTunes now, download it for free by clicking here.

Sources: Mashable

1 Comment

  1. Dom Centra

    July 17, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Simplicity is key. This generation is often described as “digital natives” which is accurate. The generation has grown up with simple and intuitive web based applications like facebook and twitter which are very simple to learn. Educational apps have to mimic the simplicity these applications provide. One application we have been testing that shows tremendous promise is Via Response (www.viaresponse.com). It combines participation, collaboration and formative assessment in and out of the classroom. Students get to use devices that they carry with them everywhere. Instead of telling them to power down, we need to tell them to join with the technology tool that they use almost every waking minute of each day.