Mobile-assisted Language Learning

Video Greeting from TIRF Trustee Michael Carrier

The use of mobile and handheld technology is growing exponentially in language education, and it is clear that much more research, project evaluation, and evidence-based analysis are needed to help us understand this new phenomenon. However, important questions remain about the efficacy of handheld devices in language learning.

What benefits do learners, teachers and school administrators derive from the use of mobile and handheld technology? What are the challenges and pitfalls? Can this technology be misapplied and waste precious resources?

With questions like these in mind, TIRF has commissioned six papers to explore the current state of mobile-assisted language learning (MALL). It is our hope that these papers provide an accurate account of how MALL is impacting the landscape of English language education, and what challenges lie ahead for language learning teachers and students, administrators, business professionals, and others.

The following provides brief information about the five papers and the authors who wrote them. Click on any of the papers’ titles to read an executive summary of the paper, download the paper, and to view invited discussants’ comments on the authors’ papers. We would also very much like to have your reactions to our MALL papers. Please use the “Comment” function below or on the authors’ pages to provide any feedback you may have.

Terms of Use and Disclaimer: TIRF is providing this information as a service to our constituents, and no endorsement by TIRF of the ideas presented in this paper is intended or implied. The information is made available free of charge and may be shared, with proper attribution. However, the papers may not be reprinted without express written permission from TIRF.

Beyond the Classroom: Mobile Learning the Wider World

  • Ken Beatty, Professor of TESOL, Anaheim University

Designer Learning: The Teacher as Designer of Mobile-based Classroom Learning Experiences

  • Nicky Hockly, Director of Pedagogy, The Consultants-E

Re-skilling Language Learners for a Mobile World

  • Agnes Kukulska-Hulme, Professor of Learning Technology and Communication, The Open University

Some Emerging Principles for Mobile-assisted Language Learning

  • Glenn Stockwell, Professor, Waseda University
  • Philip Hubbard, Senior Lecturer and Director of English for Foreign Students, Stanford University Language Center

Is there Evidence for Differential Benefits between Mobile Devices Used for Self-access Learning as Opposed to Language Learning in the Classroom with the Teacher?

  • Paul Sweeney, Founder and Director, Eduworlds Knowledge Ltd.

Mobile Learning for Languages: Can the Past Speak to the Future?

  • John Traxler, Professor of Mobile Learning and Learning Lab Director, University of Wolverhampton

[6] comments

On Apr 29, 2014: TIRF said:
@Huw Jarvis - Thanks very much for sharing your papers! ~ Ryan Damerow, Executive Assistant, TIRF
On Apr 29, 2014: Huw Jarvis said:
These papers are clearly a significant contribution to the field. Thanks to the authors and thanks to TIRF for supporting this important work. However, as the Nick Hockly paper mentions, I DO think a more critical view of the CALL\MALL acronym is required if we are to adequately describe and investigate our practice and I invite colleagues to engage with such a narrative. For my most recent work on a “post CALL\MALL era” see Jarvis, H. and Krashen, S. (2014). ‘Is CALL obsolete? Language Acquisition and Language Learning Revisited in a Digital Age.’ TESEL-EJ. Vol. 17. No. 4. pp. 1-6 and Jarvis, H. (2014). 'Digital residents: Practices and perceptions of non native speakers.' Asian EFL Journal Teaching Articles. Vol. 75. pp. 21-35. Both papers are open access and available from:
On Mar 10, 2014: Thor Sawin said:
I think this is a really promising direction for future CALL discussions. Somewhere within a CALL specialization should be content about integrating mobile apps into classroom instruction, syncing in-classroom and out-of-classroom behavior using apps, and empowering learners to continue learning beyond the classroom. Not necessarily instruction about which apps to use, but the SLA theoretical and pedagogical rationales for this kind of integration. This is an often-overlooked but fascinating component of field-based language learning, and language and development work – how such opportunities can be used in a way that soundly incorporates SLA theory and pedagogical best practices. Despite the discourse that such possibilities will render language teachers obsolete, I think the use of such techniques is even MORE of a reason why we need trained language learning professionals. Thank you for sharing these sources! ~ Thor Sawin, Professor, Monterey Institute of International Studies
On Jan 12, 2014: How to Integrate Learning into Work and Life #mlearning | Classroom Aid | Deep Ocean, Wide Sky said:
[…] Re-skilling Language Learners for a Mobile World […]
On Jan 08, 2014: How to Integrate Learning into Work and Life (#mlearning) | Classroom Aid said:
[…] Re-skilling Language Learners for a Mobile World […]
On Dec 30, 2013: Mobile-assisted Language Learning | Mobile Learning Hub said:
[…] Click here to view original web page at […]

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