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A user study of the spatial and temporal dimensions of context to support virtual learning environments

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsPaper


Publication date18/10/2011
Host publicationmLearn 2011 Conference Proceedings: 10 th World Conference on Mobile and Contextual Learning
Place of publicationBeijing
PublisherBeijing Normal University
Number of pages8
Original languageEnglish


This paper describes a user study of two RSS based information retrieval widgets to support mobile learning within a higher education environment. Created and deployed for implementation on a GPS enabled Nokia devices, the user is presented with arbitrary information from the virtual learning environment based upon either their schedule or location. The study aims to identify whether integrating location context awareness can override the utility of temporal based mobile electronic alerts. The major function of both the mobile applications is to disseminate information surrounding course updates and deliver these in a context of either time or space, aiming to identify if there is precedence between these two dimensions of context. Results from both quantitative and qualitative data indicate that both applications were evenly helpful for receiving information and supported the way in which the students organized their learning. The other outcome of interest was that both the space and time applications were deemed equally unobtrusive in their personal space, although utilizing location information was deemed a less comfortable form of ambient information.