The Quest for Equilibrium : Towards an Understanding of Scalability and Sustainability for Mobile Learning

Sammanfattning: The research presented in this thesis investigates the concept of sustainability in relation to mobile learning initiatives. Sustainability is seen as a key concept for mobile learning to gain acceptance. In linking sustainability to scalability, a term used to describe how well something can grow to suit an increasing complexity, a representation of this process is provided. In this thesis, this process is called ``the quest for equilibrium.'' A study was conducted of an actual mobile learning initiative that involved introducing podcasts as a supplement to traditional lectures in higher education. In following this initiative, thorough data gathering was conducted, utilizing the process of iterative cycles that characterizes the action research approach. In accordance, a literature survey was conducted, whereby leading publications in mobile learning were classified and analyzed according to the following criteria: Reflections, Frameworks, Scalability, and Sustainability. As the mobile learning system evolved from idea to an actual empirical study, trying to understand this process became important. The insights gained during this research were used to develop a conceptual model that is based on the notion that the two concepts of Scalability and Sustainability can be linked to each other. This conceptual model is presented describing how a mobile learning system evolves, from Idea, to Experiment, to Project, to Release. Further, each of the stages in this evolution is described by using four areas of concern: Technology, Learning, Social, and Organization. Using the experience from a specific mobile learning initiative to define a conceptual model that then is used to describe the same initiative, was a way to bring together practice, theory, and research, thus provide reliable evidence for the model itself. The conceptual model can serve as a thinking tool for mobile learning practitioners, to help address the complexity involved when undertaking new efforts and initiatives in this field.