How mobile technology can work for teachers and trainers

Mr Niall Winters  | Presentation (PDF)

Institute of Education and University of London



Drawing on empirical and theoretical work in education and health, this presentation addresses the mobile pedagogy theme. The case study we will use is a Department for International Development (DFID UK) project on the development of a mobile learning application to support the training of Community Health Workers in Kenya. This project is a collaboration between the Institute of Education, University of London and the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF).

Key questions addressed:

How is mobile learning changing the role of teachers?

As noted in the 2010 UNCTAD report, the impact of mobile learning is critically dependent ‘on the context and on the environment in which ICTs are introduced and used.’ Teachers know best the context in which they are working and therefore are best placed to play a key role in any mobile learning intervention. This presentation will detail a mobile learning tool we developed that is used by healthcare trainers in their educational practice. It will detail how the tool supports new forms of teaching practice, including new modes of supervision and feedback, extending the role and capability of the healthcare trainer.

How do mobile technologies improve pedagogy and strengthen education quality?

Mobile technologies can only improve pedagogy if they are underpinning by a strong learning theory, are supported by appropriate training schemes and have excellent content that supports educational quality. This presentation will detail how we used the Laurillard's Conversational Framework to underpin the design of our mobile learning application, how we worked with the Kenyan Ministry for Health and Sanitation (specifically the Division of Child and Adolescent Health) to deliver training on the topic of childhood development and disability and how we used culturally appropriate and internationally recognized content and integrated it into both our mobile tool and the training provided to healthcare educators. 

 How (and why) is your presentation likely to be relevant to MLW participants, including policy makers?

This presentation will show how learning theory informed practice, will detail the first empirical results on how the mobile learning tool was used by trainers and trainees and will present if and how trainers changed their practice as a result of using the mobile learning tool. It will present a better understanding of trainers' practice, detail the advantages of co-designing interventions, alongside appropriate training provision. It will be of interest to policy makers as we will reflect on how the various actors (researchers, practitioners, ministry officials) came together to develop an intervention that aligned with Kenyan national policy. 

What input would you like to elicit from the audience?

A discussion about how to support teacher involvement in the development of mobile learning tools in a sustainable manner. We know it is a messy, time-consuming and resource-intensive process but how can we better integrate mobile pedagogy into formal education systems? What can we learn from what has already been achieved and how can this be built upon?


Mr Niall Winters is a Reader in Learning Technologies at the London Knowledge Lab (LKL), Institute of Education, University of London. He works primarily in the field of Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D), where his main research interest is in the participatory design of mobile applications and activities for education in developing regions. The current focus of this work is on supporting the training of healthcare professionals in East Africa.



Twitter: @m_CHW


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