Field Activity and the Pedagogy of Simultaneity to Support Mobile Learning in the Open

  • Michael Sean GallagherEmail author
  • Pekka Ihanainen
Part of the Research in Networked Learning book series (RINL)


Field activities are presented in this chapter as a mechanism for enacting learning in the ‘open’, either in response to formal disciplinary learning activities or to support those moored in informal learning practices. Field activity represents a disciplinary model found across the (field) sciences and throughout the humanities. Mobile technology has accelerated the process and potential for “coming to know” in the field by allowing the learner to engage multiple layers of meaning, social presence, time, and place simultaneously. This chapter identifies three continuums in which this simultaneous activity is taking place, continuums that emerged from the learning activities conducted in Helsinki, Jyväskylä, Edinburgh, London, and Seoul: the serendipity-intentionality of learner orientation, the informal-formal activity structure and the initiative-seduction-sense of intervals continuum of human presence. All three speak to the variety of learner engagements that occur as a result of mobile learning and field activity. All three, although not exclusive, need to be considered when developing learning activity situated outside the classroom.

This chapter advances the belief that new pedagogical approaches are needed to account and make use of these continuums of activity. These continuums overlap and are simultaneously engaged in by the learner to generate context and understanding in mobile, open spaces. The Pedagogy of Simultaneity is proposed to account for these layers of overlap and simultaneity. In this pedagogical model, learning in open space is enacted through trust, discussion, and collage. Teachers can generate field activities that emphasize this layered environment for learning. This pedagogy addresses the complexity and simultaneity present in mobile learning, particularly mobile learning in the open spaces of the everyday.


Mobile learning Informal learning Lifelong learning Open learning Fieldwork Pedagogy Practice as epistemology 


  1. Baran, E. (2014). A review of research on mobile learning in teacher education. Journal of Educational Technology and Society, 17(4), 17–32. Retrieved September 20, 2014, from Scholar
  2. Bayne, S., Gallagher, M. S., & Lamb, J. (2014). Being ‘at’ university: The social topologies of distance students. Higher Education, 67(5), 569–583.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Benjamin, W. (1999). The return of the flâneur. Selected Writings, 2, 1927–1943.Google Scholar
  4. Brookshaw, R., Fuller, A., & Waters, J. L. (Eds.). (2012). Changing spaces of education: New perspectives on the nature of learning. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Bruner, J. (1991). The narrative construction of reality. Critical Inquiry, 18, 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bruns, A. (2007, June). Produsage. In Proceedings of the 6th ACM SIGCHI conference on Creativity & Cognition, Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) (pp. 99–106), Washington, DC, June 13–15, 2007.Google Scholar
  7. Buchem, I. (2011). Serendipitous learning: Recognizing and fostering the potential of microblogging. Form@ re-Open Journal per la formazione in rete, 11(74), 7–16.Google Scholar
  8. Carless, D. (2012). Trust and its role in facilitating dialogic feedback. In Feedback in higher and professional education (pp. 90–103). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Colley, S., & Gibbs, M. (2012). Capturing archaeological performance on digital video: Implications for teaching and learning archaeology. Retrieved May 1, 2015, from
  10. DeMeulenaere, E. (2012). Toward a pedagogy of trust. In Places where ALL children learn: The power of high expectation curricula with low achieving students (pp. 28–41). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  11. Gallagher, M. (2013a). Incessant motion through space: Mobile learning field activities in the humanities. Retrieved August 20, 2013, from
  12. Gallagher, M. (2013b). mLearning workshop in Helsinki: Documenting the city through architecture, religion, sound, habitus. Retrieved October 1, 2013, from
  13. Gallagher, M., & Gallagher, J. (2013a). London street scene: PoS. Retrieved September 1, 2014, from
  14. Gallagher, M., & Gallagher, J. (2013b). Parisian cafe scene: PoS. Retrieved September 1, 2014, from
  15. Gallagher, M., & Ihanainen, P. (2013). Pedagogy supporting the simultaneous learning processes of open education: Pedagogy of Simultaneity (PoS). Open Education 2030: Higher Education. Ispra: European Commission, Joint Research Centre: Information Society Unit.Google Scholar
  16. Gallagher, M., & Ihanainen, P. (2014). Pedagogy of simultaneity: Compositions. Retrieved November 1, 2014, from
  17. Gupta, A., & Ferguson, J. (Eds.). (1997). Anthropological locations: Boundaries and grounds of a field science. Oakland: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  18. Haapala, O., Sääskilathi, K., Luimula, M., Yli-Hemminki, J., & Partala, T. (2007, June). Parallel learning between the classroom and the field using location-based communication techniques. In World conference on educational multimedia, hypermedia and telecommunications (pp. 668–676), 2007.Google Scholar
  19. Harvey, B. (2007). The twentieth part: Virginia Woolf in the British Museum Reading Room. Literature Compass, 4(1), 218–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hollevoet, C., Jones, K., & Nye, T. (1992). The power of the city: The city of power (Vol. 1). New York, NY: The Museum.Google Scholar
  21. Hwang, G. J., Tsai, C. C., & Chen, C. Y. (2012). A context-aware ubiquitous learning approach to conducting scientific inquiry activities in a science park. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 28(5), 931–947.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ifenthaler, D. (2012). Determining the effectiveness of prompts for self-regulated learning in problem-solving scenarios. Journal of Educational Technology and Society, 15(1), 38–52.Google Scholar
  23. Ihanainen, P. (2013). A zone between formal and informal learning. In K. Aaltonen, A. Isacsson, J. Laukia, & L. Vanhanen-Nuutinen (Eds.), Practical skills, education and development - Vocational education and training in Finland. Helsinki: HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Sciences.Google Scholar
  24. Ihanainen, P., & Moravec, J. (2011). Pointillist, cyclical, and overlapping: Multidimensional facets of time in online education. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 12(7), 27–39.Google Scholar
  25. Jacucci, G., Oulasvirta, A., & Salovaara, A. (2007). Active construction of experience through mobile media: A field study with implications for recording and sharing. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 11(4), 215–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Jones, A. C., Scanlon, E., & Clough, G. (2013). Mobile learning: Two case studies of supporting inquiry learning in informal and semiformal settings. Computers and Education, 61, 21–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development (Vol. 1). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  28. Kress, G., & Pachler, N. (Eds). (2007). Mobile learning: Towards a research agenda. WLE Centre, Occasional Papers in Work-based Learning 1.Google Scholar
  29. Leander, K. M., Phillips, N. C., & Taylor, K. H. (2010). The changing social spaces of learning: Mapping new mobilities. Review of Research in Education, 34, 329–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Marty, P. F., Alemanne, N. D., Mendenhall, A., Maurya, M., Southerland, S. A., Sampson, V., … Schellinger, J. (2013). Scientific inquiry, digital literacy, and mobile computing in informal learning environments. Learning, Media and Technology, 38(4), 407–428.Google Scholar
  31. McFarlane, C. (2010). The comparative city: Knowledge, learning, urbanism. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 34(4), 725–742.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Otavan opisto. Retrieved October 1, 2013, from
  33. Park, Y. (2011). A pedagogical framework for mobile learning: Categorizing educational applications of mobile technologies into four types. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 12(2), 78–102.Google Scholar
  34. Polson, D., & Morgan, C. (2010). Towards an intelligent learning system for the natural born cyborg. Journal of the Research Center for Educational Technology, 6(1), 185–193.Google Scholar
  35. Railly, M. (2012). Bold schools: Part I - Learner as knowmad. Retrieved December 10, 2013, from
  36. Robinson, C., & Sebba, J. (2010). Personalising learning through the use of technology. Computers and Education, 54(3), 767–775.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sääskilahti, K., Sippola, O., Partala, T., & Luimula, M. (2010). Location-based communication techniques in parallel learning between the classroom and the field. International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life Long Learning, 20(1), 21–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Säljö, R. (1999). Learning as the use of tools. In K. Littleton & P. Light (Eds.), Learning with computers: Analysing productive interaction. Hove: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  39. Sengers, P., Boehner, K., David, S., & Kaye, J. J. (2005). Reflective design. In Proceedings of the 4th decennial conference on Critical computing: Between sense and sensibility (pp. 49–58). Washington, DC: ACM.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sharples, M., Taylor, J., & Vavoula, G. (2007). A theory of learning for the mobile age. In R. Andrews & C. Haythornthwaite (Eds.), The sage handbook of eLearning research (pp. 221–247). London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Shields, R. (2006). Flanerie for cyborgs. Theory, Culture and Society, 23(7-8), 209–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Shotter, J. (2011). Getting it: Withness-thinking and the dialogical--in practice. New York, NY: Hampton Press.Google Scholar
  43. So, H. J., Tan, E. B. K., & Tay, J. (2012). Collaborative mobile learning in situ from knowledge building perspectives. Retrieved May 1, 2015, from,%20Tan%20&%20Tay_FINAL.pdf.
  44. Van Acker, F., Vermeulen, M., Kreijns, K., Lutgerink, J., & Van Buuren, H. (2014). The role of knowledge sharing self-efficacy in sharing open educational resources. Computers in Human Behavior, 39, 136–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Vavoula, G. N., & Sharples, M. (2002). KLeOS: A personal, mobile, knowledge and learning organisation system. In IEEE International Workshop on Wireless and mobile technologies in education (pp. 152–156). New York, NY: IEEE.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Verpoorten, D., Westera, W., & Specht, M. (2012). Using reflection triggers while learning in an online course. British Journal of Educational Technology, 43(6), 1030–1040.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Virsu, V., Oksanen-Hennah, H., Vedennaa, A., Jaatinen, P., & Lahti-Nuuttila, P. (2008). Simultaneity learning in vision, audition, tactile sense and their cross-modal combinations. Experimental Brain Research, 186(4), 525–537.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wali, E., Winters, N., & Oliver, M. (2008). Maintaining, changing and crossing contexts: An activity theoretic reinterpretation of mobile learning. ALT-J: Research in Learning Technology, 16(1), 41–57. Retrieved September 20, 2014, from Scholar
  49. Warriner, D. S., & Wyman, L. T. (2013). Experiences of simultaneity in complex linguistic ecologies: Implications for theory, method, and practice. International Multilingual Research Journal, 7(1), 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hankuk University of Foreign StudiesSeoulSouth Korea
  2. 2.HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied SciencesHelsinkiFinland

Personalised recommendations