December 26, 2013

Mobile Learning To Impact The Future Of Education In Qatar

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Dr Mohammad Samaka, the co-lead researcher for the 'm-learning' project.jpgA mobile learning application being developed by Qatar University (QU) is set to change the face of corporate technical training in Qatar’s oil and gas sector.

The ‘m-learning’ project, which recently received an honorable mention from the International e-Learning Association, was awarded a three-year grant under Qatar National Research Fund’s (QNRF) flagship National Priorities Research Program (NPRP). The research is underway in partnership with Canada’s Athabasca University and is led by Dr Mohamed Ally from the same university.

According to Dr Mohammad Samaka, the co-lead researcher for the ‘m-learning’ project, the research, which is now in its second year, is the first of its kind to be used for professional training in Qatar and possibly the world’s oil and gas sector.

“There is no history of mobile learning applications utilized to train employees in the work place in Qatar. This project is novel,” said Dr Mohammad Samaka, the co-lead researcher for the ‘m-learning’ project. “During our most recent literature review, a hunt for existing applications yielded nothing, indicating that this could be the first mobile learning application under development in the oil and gas industry worldwide.”

Testing of the ‘m-learning’ project was conducted on a pool of around 30 Qatari trainees located at five different Qatar Petroleum (QP) sites as a supplementary element to their on-going corporate training. The application is designed to help employees familiarize themselves with technical English language terms specific to the energy sector in order to enhance their professional communication.

‘M-learning’ uses a blended approach to deliver specialized content on mobile devices with unlimited access to the material, allowing learners to advance at their own pace and convenience.

“We are not looking to replace conventional classroom teaching,” explains Dr Samaka. “'M-learning’ complements face-to-face teaching by enhancing the educational experience through our developed interactive multimedia content, based on existing course material.”

“We are currently testing ‘m-learning’ on QU’s foundation level students learning English,” he said. “I am sure once it is fully developed ‘m-learning’ can be deployed into other areas of society, at school or university level, due to the nature of its interchangeable and adaptable content.”

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