The Three Eras of Mobile Learning User Experience

  • Amir DirinEmail author
  • Marko Nieminen
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 865)


In this paper, we present how the design of mobile learning applications has undergone three different phases since the beginning of this millennium. Users’ expectations and requirements on m-learning applications have continuously evolved and affected the applications through the different phases. Initially (era 1), the evolvement was a result of the advancement of mobile technologies, devices, and network services. However, technology is not the sole source of evolvement: users’ changing expectations and cultural surroundings have an increasing impact on the utilisation of m-learning applications. During the second era focus shifted toward usability (efficiency, effectiveness, satisfaction). The emerging third era has focus on experiential factors which impact the sustainable use of a mobile learning application. The case examples in the paper demonstrate the transitions from technological era to usability era - and even further to user experience era with analyses on emotional, experiential, and engaging factors. The resulting three eras outlined in this paper help developers anticipating future demands with development activities focusing on emotions and engagement.


Usability User experience design Mobile learning 



Special thanks to students, educational institutes, and partners company who helped to design, develop, and utilize the applications presented in this paper.


  1. 1.
    Henry, P.S., Luo, H.: WiFi: what’s next? IEEE Commun. Mag. 40, 66–72 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Madlmayr, G., Langer, J., Scharinger, J.: Managing an NFC ecosystem. In: Proceedings - 7th International Conference on Mobile Business, ICMB 2008, Creativity and Convergence, pp. 95–101 (2008)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Lee, U., Lee, J., Ko, M., Lee, C., Kim, Y., Yang, S., Yatani, K., Gweon, G., Chung, K.-M., Song, J.: Hooked on smartphones: an exploratory study on smartphone overuse among college students. In: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 2327–2336 (2014)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Sung, E., Mayer, R.E.: Students’ beliefs about mobile devices vs. desktop computers in South Korea and the United States. Comput. Educ. 59(4), 1328–1338 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Seong, D.S.K.: Usability guidelines for designing mobile learning portals. In: Proceedings of 3rd International Conference on Mobile Technology, Applications and Systems - Mobility 2006, p. 25 (2006)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Po, S., Howard, S., Vetere, F., Skov, M.B.: Heuristic evaluation and mobile usability: bridging the realism gap. Mob. Hum.-Comput. Interact. 3160, 591–592 (2004)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Kukulska-Hulme, A.: Mobile usability in educational contexts: what have we learnt? Int. Rev. Res. Open Distance Learn. 8(2), 1–16 (2007) Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Basaeed, E., Berri, J., Zemerly, M.J.: Learner-centric context-aware mobile learning. Eng. Educ. 2(2), 30–33 (2007)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Low, L., Connell, M.O., Connellcitacteduau, M.O.: Learner-centric design of digital mobile learning. In: Framework, pp. 1–13 (2006)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Soloway, E., Guzdial, M., Hay, K.E.: Learner-centered design: the challenge for HCI in the 21st century. Interactions 1, 36–48 (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Wong, L.H.: A learner-centric view of mobile seamless learning. Br. J. Educ. Technol. 43(1), E19–E23 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Navarro, C.X., Molina, A., Redondo, M.A., Reyes, J.-R.: Framework to evaluate m-learning systems: a technological and pedagogical approach. IEEE Revista Iberoamericana de Tecnologias del Aprendizaje 11(1), 33–40 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Yu, N., Kong, J.: User experience with web browsing on small screens: experimental investigations of mobile-page interface design and homepage design for news websites. Inf. Sci. (NY) 330, 427–443 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Dillon, A., Morris, M.G.: User acceptance of information technology: theories and models. Annu. Rev. Inf. Sci. Technol. 31, 3–33 (1996)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Davis, F.D., Bagozzi, R.P., Warshaw, P.R.: User acceptance of computer technology: a comparison of two theoretical models. Manag. Sci. 35(8), 982–1003 (1989)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Davis, F.D., Bagozzi, R.P., Warshaw, P.R.: Extrinsic and intrinsic motivation to use computers in the workplace. J. Appl. Soc. Psychol. 22, 1111–1132 (1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Chen, X.A., Grossman, T., Wigdor, D.J., Fitzmaurice, G.: Duet: exploring joint interactions on a smart phone and a smart watch. In: Proceedings of 32nd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - CHI 2014, pp. 159–168 (2014)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Gouthaman, S., Pandya, A.: Gesture detection system using smart watch based motion sensors. In: International Conference on Circuits, Systems, Communication and Information Technology Applications, pp. 311–316 (2014)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Roto, V., Law, E., Vermeeren, A., Hoonhout, J.: User experience white paper: bringing clarity to the concept of user experience. Dagstuhl Seminar on Demarcating User Experience, p. 12 (2010)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Hassenzahl, M., Tractinsky, N.: User experience - a research agenda. Behav. Inf. Technol. 25(2), 91–97 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Rusu, C., Rusu, V., Roncagliolo, S., Carina, G.: Usability and user experience: what should we care about. Int. J. Inf. Technol. Syst. Approach 8, 12 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Garrett, J.J.: The Elements of User Experience (2000). Accessed 22 June 2018
  23. 23.
    Roto, V.: Web browsing on mobile phones - characteristics of user experience. Dissertation (2006)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Deegan, R., Rothwell, P.: A classification of m-learning applications from a usability perspective. J. Res. Cent. Educ. Technol. 6, 16–27 (2010)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Frohberg, D., Göth, C., Schwabe, G.: Mobile learning projects – a critical analysis of the state of the art. J. Comput. Assist. Learn. 25(4), 307–331 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Magal-Royo, T., Peris-Fajarnes, G., Tortajada Montañana, I., Defez Garcia, B.: Evaluation methods on usability of m-learning environment. Int. J. Interact. Mob. Technol. 1(1), 32–39 (2007)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Glavinic, V., Ljubic, S., Kukec, M.: A holistic approach to enhance universal usability in m-learning. In: Proceedings - The 2nd International Conference on Mobile Ubiquitous Computing, Systems, Services and Technologies, UBICOMM 2008, pp. 305–310 (2008)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Mostakhdemin-Hosseini, A.: Usability considerations of mobile learning applications. Int. J. Interact. Mob. Technol. 3, 29–31 (2009)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    ISO: Ergonomics of human-system interaction - Part 210: Human-centred design for interactive systems (ISO 9241-210:2010(E)), ISO, pp. 1–32 (2010)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    ISO, ISO 9241 Part 210: Human-centred design for interactive systems in ISO 9241 Ergonomics of human system interaction (2010)Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Nielsen J., Norman, D.: The definition of user experience. In: NNG Articles (2015)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Williams, P.W.: Assessing mobile learning effectiveness and acceptance. Ph.D., pp. 1–10 (2009) Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Garaj, V.: M-learning in the education of multimedia technologists and designers at the university level: a user requirements study. IEEE Trans. Learn. Technol. 3(1), 24–32 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Sutcliffe, A., Alrayes, A.: Investigating user experience in second life for collaborative learning. Int. J. Hum. Comput. Stud. 70(7), 508–525 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Shen, R.: Constructing a user experience-based mobile learning environment:  problems and solutions. Fernuniversitä, Hagen, Germany (2014)Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Yousafzai, A., Chang, V., Gani, A., Noor, R.M.: Multimedia augmented m-learning: issues, trends and open challenges. Int. J. Inf. Manag. 36(5), 784–792 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Ali, R.A., Arshad, M.R.M.: Perspectives of students’ behavior towards mobile learning (m-learning) in Egypt: an extension of the UTAUT model. Eng. Technol. Appl. Sci. Res. 6(4), 1109–1114 (2016)Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Venkatesh, V., Morris, M.G., Davis, G.B., Davis, F.D.: User acceptance of information technology: toward a unified view. MIS Q. 27(3), 425–478 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Badwelan, A., Drew, S., Bahaddad, A.A.: Towards acceptance m-learning approach in higher education in Saudi Arabia. Int. J. Bus. Manag. 11(8), 12–30 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Dirin, A.: Toward enhancing user experience in mobile learning applications. Aalto University (2016)Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Dirin, A., Laine, T.H., Nieminen, M.: Sustainable usage through emotional engagement: a user experience analysis of an adaptive driving school application. Cogn. Technol. Work 19, 303–313 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Dirin, A., Nieminen, M.: User experience evolution of m-learning applications. In: 9th International Conference on Computer Supported Education, p. 9, 21–23 April 2017Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Brusilovsky, P., Miller, P.: Course delivery system for virtual university. In: Access to Knowledge: New Information Technologies and the Emergence of the Virtual University, pp. 167–206 (2001)Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Dirin, A., Casarini, M.: Adaptive m-learning application for driving licenses candidates based on UCD framework for m-learning application development. In: 6th International Conference on Computer Supported Education (2014)Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Dirin, A., Vainio, V.: Case study: from requirements list to an educational game. In: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies (2015)Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Dirin, A., Nieminen, M.: mLUX: usability and user experience development framework for m-learning. Int. J. Interact. Mob. Technol. (iJIM) 9, 37–51 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Kuderna-Iulian, B., Marcel, C., Mireca, V.: A multimodal affective monitoring tool for mobile learning. In: 14th RoEduNet International Conference – Networking in Education and Research (RoEduNet NER), pp. 34–38 (2015)Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Dirin, A., Nieminen, M.: State-of-the-art of m-learning usability and user experience. In: Fourth International Conference on e-Learning (2014)Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Collins, A., Halverson, R.: The second educational revolution: rethinking education in the age of technology. J. Comput. Assist. Learn. 26, 18–27 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Vannoy, S.A., Palvia, P.: The social influence model of technology adoption. Commun. ACM 53, 149 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Business Information TechnologyHAAGA-HELIA University of Applied ScienceHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceAalto UniversityEspooFinland

Personalised recommendations