As part of a course for vocational educators at the University of Aberdeen, members of the MINE project have created a mobile learning activity which recently connected students across Scotland with experts from England, Finland and South Africa. The aim of the activity was to explore international perspectives on professional challenges faced by course participants.
The international experts provided short videos about issues and challenges in their own local contexts, and then hosted an online ‘question and answer’ webinar discussion. This was recorded so that students could view it at their convenience if they were unable to attend. Discussions between students continued afterwards in asynchronous forums in the University VLE and in face to face tutor-led workshops.
Positive student feedback noted that the experience helped them to understand their own context in a different light and see the similarities and differences between the Scottish vocational sector and others. Tutors and international collaborators also found the learning experience stimulating. The activity provided a range of opportunities for engagement – through video, live session, recordings and discussion and even students who could only engage for part of the experience were able to gain insights useful for their own studies.
Along with many other approaches to using mobile learning, this approach provided flexibility over time and place of learning, gave learners control over the technology and media used for their learning, and created opportunities for engagement and discussion which would not be possible otherwise. Tutors created the context for learning, facilitated interactions and supported reflection – and enjoyed an opportunity to learn from their students and others.