The development of computers and electronic communications has removed barriers of space and time. We can obtain and deliver knowledge anytime anywhere (Horton, 2000). As digital technologies penetrate ever deeper into virtually every aspect of our daily lives, so it becomes more and more pressing for those of us with an interest in education to develop a better understanding of their impact on learning outside formal educational institutions (Furlong & Davies, 2011). On the other side, researchers are also experiencing technologies in learning processes as a user, both in daily lives and for their academic research.
I had used technologies in learning many times, both as an instructor and student. Nowadays I’m using it in my learning processes extensively in several ways. I’m using it to improve my Finnish language skills, my academic skills, and my digital skills. Therefore, technology in learning provides me great opportunities. In this article, I want to tell you more about my experiences in the use of IT in educational processes.
Currently, I’m experiencing eLearning and mobile learning in three ways:
- Language learning,
- Improving academic skills
- Improving digital skills.
I’m using technologies for learning (esp. mobile) most intensively in my linguistic learning. Mobile-assisted language learning (MALL) is a subarea of the growing field of mobile learning (mLearning) research which increasingly attracts the attention of scholars. In terms of the gained linguistic knowledge and skills, most of the reviewed papers examine vocabulary acquisition, listening and speaking skills, and language acquisition in more general terms. The review finds several suggestions for language learning benefits in the use of MALL, such as integrating the mobile technology in both formal and informal contexts; the ‘fun’ moment when engaging learners in authentic learning contexts; the learners’ contribution to the creation of the learning content; the use of mobile devices to support the practice of achieving listening and speaking skills effectively, etc.(Viberg & Grönlund, 2012).
Mobile technologies provide many advantages: flexibility, low cost, small size, and user-friendliness, researchers are exploring how to use mobile technology to support language learning (Huang et al., 2012). I have been in Finland for about 11 months and have been studying Finnish myself especially by using mobile applications (Erasmus+ OLC, Memrise, Suomen Taskussa, etc.) and video lessons via YouTube. The usage of this kind of technology is a really efficient and useful way for the learning process where I experienced most of the advantages mentioned above. Especially, flexibility and accessibility are the most important advantages to me. Accessing the quality of learning materials regardless of time and place is another advantage. In linguistic education, the main disadvantage of my experience is the lack of a tutor. Not always but sometimes there are complicated issues that you have to ask a tutor.
Mobile technologies provide many advantages: flexibility, low cost, small size and user-friendliness, researchers are exploring how to use mobile technology to support language learning.
Secondly, I’m using technology in my academic studies. Online courses provide me opportunities to read papers related to my field and also encourage me to be a participant in higher education and get familiar with the academic world in the new country. It, therefore, increases my accessibility as well.
I use technology for learning in order to improve my digital skills. I am designing and developing websites and Android applications. Appropriate code samples and solutions to the compiling problems can be easily found on the web. Also, video-based online lessons on YouTube and Udemy are very useful and effective to acquire new knowledge as well as improve the present ones. The main barrier to this is the need of broadband internet connection sometimes.
I strongly recommend to the individual e-learners to plan their learning activities and outcomes carefully before the learning process. On the other hand, evaluating is an obvious disadvantage to me, because as a learner I need evaluation progress in order to see my faults. It can be considered in the “lack of tutor disadvantage” that I mentioned above as well.
The ubiquitous usage of technology in daily lives affected its usage in learning processes as well. Flexibility, accessibility, being constant, efficiency is the main advantages that I experienced in my learning. On the other hand, connection problems and the necessity of a tutor in some circumstances are the disadvantages. I strongly recommend to the individual learners to frame and design their learning progress exactly.
Horton, W. (2000). Designing web-based training: how to teach anyone, anywhere, anytime,
Huang, Y.-M., Huang, Y.-M., Huang, S.-H., Lin, Y.-T. (2012). A ubiquitous English vocabulary learning system: Evidence of active/passive attitudes vs. usefulness/ease-of-use.
John F., Davies C. (2011). Young people, new technologies and learning at home: taking context seriously.
MacLAeod J., Yang H., Shi Y. (2019). Systematic Review of Technology Enabled Active Learning Classrooms in Higher Education
Viberg O., Grönlund A. (2012). Mobile-Assisted Language Learning: A Literature Review