SMS as an M-Learning Technology

In the last decade, mobile wireless technologies have presented a chance to improve students’ learning experience that extends beyond the traditional teacher-led classroom. A recent research conducted by the British Journal of Education Technology has revealed that students receiving short-mini lessons on their mobile devices via SMS were improving quicker than their counterparts who were learning through traditional methods.

The experiment aimed to test the efficiency of teaching English idioms via SMS in comparison with other traditional methods such as contextual learning and self-study approaches. The sample of 60 Persian students who were learning English as a second language were taken as population of the study.

The idea to use English idioms in the study was that they represent an important part of language programs and they are often used in both spoken and written English. The results of the study have shown that those students reading the lessons via SMS on their mobile phones learnt faster than their counterparts. In fact, they benefited from the push aspect of mobile technology as they were exposed to the learning materials in a scheduled timetable without needing to search them, whereas those studying the same materials on the self-study approach had not been assigned any timed intervals for reading the idioms, and thus, they had to open the printed pamphlet and cram the intended materials and learn them at their own pace at times if they were ready and willing to study.

The research has demonstrated that compared with the traditional methods, SMS-based learning have the advantage of being read on the move at any place offering flexibility and freedom to students who may feel forced to study at fixed hours.

However, it does not mean a language class must be entirely mobile centered but that self-study approaches and face to face teaching methods can be integrated with SMS-based learning as “Study Motivating System”, whose mission is to encourage students to acquire knowledge in a simple, memorable and funny way.

In addition, an innovative use of mobile technology can make education available to anyone, anywhere, anytime and at an affordable cost across the globe.

Source: Abdolmajid Hayati, Alireza Jalilifar and Amir Mashhadi, “Using Short Message Service (SMS) to teach English idioms to EFL students”, British Journal of Educational Technology

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