Fostering personalized learning in science inquiry supported by mobile technologies

Special Issue on Personalized Learning


In this paper, we present a mobile technology-assisted seamless learning process design where students were facilitated to develop their personalized and diversified understanding in a primary school’s science topic of the life cycles of various living things. A goal-based approach to experiential learning model was adopted as the pedagogical design to support the student’s personalized learning process. We chose to report the student’s inquiry into the life cycles of the spinach plant and the butterfly to pinpoint the how the student’s personalized learning was fostered in the experiential learning. The learning process consisted of (a) in-class enculturation and question posing; (b) out-of-class field trip observation; (c) on site reflection after observation; (c) data collection and conceptualization of life cycles in the field trip; (d) the hands-on experimentation of growing the spinach plant and rearing a butterfly after the trip at home; (e) creation of animations and composition based on the hands-on experience individually either at home or in class to re-conceptualize the life cycles of the spinach plant and the butterfly, and (f) sharing and evaluation of their work in class. Each student was assigned a smartphone on a 1:1, 24 × 7 basis, which was used by individuals to mediate their seamless learning experience across multiple contexts. Through our analysis of the learning content, processes and products, we illuminate how the goal-based approach applied to mobile-assisted experiential learning facilitates students’ personalized learning and helps them to fulfill their agency in such learning experiences.


Personalized learning Experiential learning Goal-based approach Mobile technologies Seamless learning Field trip 



This project was funded by Singapore’s National Research Foundation, Project ID: NRF2007-IDM005-MOE-008 LCK. We would like to thank Gean Chia, Peter Seow and Baohui Zhang for their contributions to the work reported here.


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Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Learning Sciences LabNational Institute of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

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