The Taxonomy Mobile Learning Applications in Higher Institutions of Learning in Ugandan Universities: A Case of Kabale University, Uganda.

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The Taxonomy Mobile Learning Applications in Higher Institutions of Learning in Ugandan Universities: A Case of Kabale University, Uganda.

Hussein Muhaise 1, Phelix Businge Mbabazi2, Paul Ssemaluulu3, Muhoza Gloria 4
1 Department of Information Technology, Kabale University Uganda.
2 Department of Information Technology, Kabale University Uganda
3 Department of Computer Science, Kabale University Uganda
4 Department of Information Technology, Kabale University Uganda
Received: 15 April 2023; Revised: 27 April 2023; Accepted: 02 May 2023; Published: 30 May 2023

Abstract: Since the use of mobile devices outpaces that of laptops and desktop computers today, the usability of these mobile devices is an important consideration. When mobile learning (a new kind of electronic learning) takes shape, bringing an important feature of mobility, the trend expands deeper into teaching and learning. Usability describes the quality characteristics of software product usage; hence, usability testing is a crucial concern in developing companies for the success of product deployment and use. The vast majority of existing usability evaluation approaches were created for desktop software development. As a result, currently existing models do not specifically address mobile learning, presenting a gap that we aimed to remedy. The study developed a model that estimates usability as a function of aggregated usability influencing factors. To provide a more comprehensive model, the proposed model includes essential features from other accessible models and incorporates the majority of those that assist mobile learning. A mobile learning prototype application was designed, tested, and installed to evaluate the efficiency of the developed model, coupled with a task list for objective research. Using a sophisticated statistical technique, the feedback from the experiment and survey was then utilized to assess and validate the prototype application in terms of high, average, or low usability. The findings act as guides for eLearning developing businesses to create more relevant mobile learning applications with high levels of usability.

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Key Word: E-learning, Usability, Software Quality; Prototyping; Objective test; Subjective test

I. Introduction

The desire for learning at any time and from any location has defined the need for mobile learning (m-learning), recognizing the use of mobile devices (laptops, personal device assistants, and smartphones), which are becoming increasingly popular (Jung, 2014). The primary features of mobile phones, including hardware and software, are their mobility, performance, and usefulness. The mobile learning environment is incredibly fluid. As a result, mobile learning applications can vary widely depending on the environment and scenario, ranging from basic to advanced schooling and other corporate learning contexts, as well as formal and or informal learning to classroom learning, distant learning, and field research. Some of the software and mobile applications have been designed specifically for educational purposes, but most are off-the shelf solutions originally intended for other uses like business use. Usability is context-dependent. This means that software with high levels of usability in one context may have poor levels of usability in another. The application context encompasses the software’s tasks, the environment in which it is used, and the users who complete tasks with the software. (Park, 2011)

Mobility of the learner has not been catered for greatly as developers sometimes overlook the fact that users always will want to interact with such devices while on the move. Small screen sizes, limited connectivity, high power consumption rates and limited input and output modalities are just some of the issues that arise when designing for small, portable devices. And this limits mobility. Mobile learning exploits both handheld computers and mobile telephones (smartphones) and other devices that draw on the same set of functionalities but it is relatively immature in terms of both its technologies and its pedagogies, though it is developing rapidly. This draws on the theories and practices of pedagogies that are used in technology that enhances learning and others used in the classroom and the community. When designing desktop computers and applications, many usability guidelines are used. However, these guidelines cannot be utilized to design and develop smartphones and mobile applications, and this is because they do not address the issues related to mobile phones and mobile phone applications and their current limitations. “There is a lack of good-quality usability guidelines for designing and developing mobile applications,” (Ali, 2013).