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Research Trends in Mobile Learning in Higher Education: A Systematic Review of Articles (2011 – 2015)

Keywords: mobile learning, research trends, research methods, pedagogical issues, higher education


The potential and use of mobile devices in higher education has been a key issue for educational research and practice since the widespread adoption of these devices. Due to the evolving nature and affordances of mobile technologies, it is an area that requires ongoing investigation. This study aims to identify emerging trends in mobile learning research in higher education in order to provide insights for researchers and educators around research topics and issues for further exploration. This study analysed the research themes, methods, settings, and technologies in mobile learning research in higher education from 2011 to 2015. A total of 233 refereed articles were selected and analysed from peer reviewed journals. The results were compared to three previous literature review-based research studies focused between 2001 and 2010 to identify similarities and differences. Key findings indicated that: (a) mobile learning in higher education is a growing field as evidenced by the increasing variety of research topics, methods, and researchers; (b) the most common research topic continues to be about enabling m-learning applications and systems; and (c) mobile phones continue to be the most widely used devices in mobile learning studies, however, more and more studies work across different devices, rather than focusing on specific devices.

Author Biographies

Greig Krull, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
Department of Education
Josep M. Duart, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
Professor, Department of Education
How to Cite
Krull, G., & Duart, J. M. (2017). Research Trends in Mobile Learning in Higher Education: A Systematic Review of Articles (2011 – 2015). The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 18(7).
Research Articles