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Do-It-Yourself Learning in Kenya: Exploring mobile technologies for merging non-formal and informal learning
University West, Department of Economics and IT, Divison of Informatics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2378-5432
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The educational landscape is changing and a variety of technologies and techniques are blurring the lines between traditional and non-traditional learning. This change is substantial in low-income countries: individuals in developing countries have a great desire to educate themselves and improve their quality of life. Kenyans are adequately literate and accustomed to mobile technology despite being a largely impoverished, poorly educated populace. Kenya represents an optimal setting in which to research the use and feasibility of modern mobile and educational technologies. The broad aim of this dissertation is to explore how mobile devices can catalyze and enhance both informal and non-formal learning. In particular, this dissertation explores how technologies and concepts such as mobile web apps, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), and learning incentives via a smartphone specifically affect informal and non-formal learning in Kenya. The primary research question is how can learning efforts that utilize mobile learning, MOOCs, and learning incentives combine non-formal and informal learning to develop and contribute to a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach to learning in Kenya? The primary method is action research. The first contribution of this dissertation is the finding that mobile web apps are currently better suited for data exchange than producing new content. The second contribution is the finding that a smartphone can enhance informal learning in a developing country with little or no scaffolding. The third contribution is the finding that non-formal learning efforts as a MOOC are shown to be a viable means of delivering non-formal learning in a developing country via a smartphone. The fourth contribution is the finding that the use of incentives such as digital badges provide a means by which to validate non-formal learning and contribute to a DIY attitude towards learning creation, where individuals can freely complement or replace a traditional curriculum.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University , 2014. , 122 p.
Series
eport Series / Department of Computer & Systems Sciences, ISSN 1101-8526 ; 14-018
Keyword [en]
ICT4D, mobile learning, M4D, informal learning, non-formal learning, MOOCs, digital incentives
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
SOCIAL SCIENCE, Informatics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-7216ISBN: 978-91-7649-045-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hv-7216DiVA: diva2:773515
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-12-19 Created: 2014-12-19 Last updated: 2015-06-24Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Putting a MOOC for Human Rights in the Hands of Kenyans: The Haki Zangu Case for Non-Formal Learning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Putting a MOOC for Human Rights in the Hands of Kenyans: The Haki Zangu Case for Non-Formal Learning
2014 (English)In: Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries, ISSN 1681-4835, E-ISSN 1681-4835, Vol. 65, no 3, 1-17 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The research goal of this project was to explore the use and effects of non-formal education and incentives in the context of a developing country. The practical aim of this project was to create, implement, and evaluate a platform about human rights that was available to any Kenyan for free in order to increase knowledge and engagement. Therefore, a non-formal massive open online course (MOOC) about human rights was designed and launched. The course was free and open to anyone in Kenya and offered both a digital badge and certificate from Stockholm University in Sweden upon completion. The course was called Haki Zangu (Kiswahili for "My Rights"), and it explored how using incentives such as a digital badge and certificate of completion affected learning outcomes. This course offered ubiquitous access based on principles of responsive web design and used audio recordings of the entire course content. The course is perpetual and still on-going, but after six months there were 160 participants who had enrolled, and ten participants had completed the course and received certificates and digital badges. The participants showed extensive enthusiasm and engagement for human rights issues, and they expressed desires to learn more and further spread knowledge about human rights. The current findings suggest that the availability of digital badges and certificates increased interest for participation and positively affected learning outcomes. Moreover, the use of a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) format with incentives proved successful, combined with the contextualization and accessibility of the course content. Furthermore, the technical platform proved adequate for disseminating education for free in a developing country, and allowed for unencumbered access regardless of device. Lastly, a key challenge for future non-formal learning efforts in developing countries is the cost of Internet access.

Keyword
Mobile learning, non-formal learning, digital badges, ICT4D, human rights
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
SOCIAL SCIENCE, Informatics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-7211 (URN)
Available from: 2014-12-19 Created: 2014-12-19 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
2. No University Credit, No Problem?: Exploring Recognition of Non-Formal Learning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>No University Credit, No Problem?: Exploring Recognition of Non-Formal Learning
2014 (English)In: 2014 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference Proceedings, IEEE Computer Society, 2014, 2420-2426, 2014, 2420-2426 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are disrupting traditional, higher education and redefining how learning takes place online. These open courses typically offer some form of recognition, such as a certificate of completion and/or digital badge, to recognize, validate, and in some cases even accredit learning. A general problem with MOOCs is the uncertainty regarding the use and goals of recognition, validation, and accreditation (RVA), and participants' acceptance and perception of such techniques. This research effort addresses this problem by exploring course partici-pants' attitudes and levels of acceptance of non-formal learning recognition compared to traditional university credit in both devel-oped and developing countries. The actual study uses both certifi-cates of completion and digital badges to recognize and validate learning in an introductory, university level course in web pro-gramming using HTML5/CSS. The course is available to anyone, but was specifically marketed to participants from Sweden and Kenya. Empirical data was gathered using interviews and online surveys in the course. The preliminary results are that participants from developing countries value digital recognition to a greater extent than their counterparts in Europe. However, both Swedes and Kenyans see open courses with digital recognition as a com-plement to traditional learning to individually construct an educa-tion.

Keyword
Non-formal learning, learning recognition, digital badges, MOOCs
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
SOCIAL SCIENCE, Informatics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-7213 (URN)978-1-4799-3922-0 (ISBN)978-1-4799-3921-3 (ISBN)
Conference
2014 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), Madrid, Spain, 22-25 October 2014
Available from: 2014-12-19 Created: 2014-12-19 Last updated: 2015-06-24Bibliographically approved
3. Native Apps Vs. Mobile Web Apps
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Native Apps Vs. Mobile Web Apps
2013 (Swedish)In: International Journal of Interactive Mobile Technologies (iJIM), ISSN 1865-7923, E-ISSN 1865-7923, Vol. 7, no 4, 27-32 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The extensive growth and expansion of smartphones and tablets and therewith the use of mobile web applications that utilize HTML5 and related technologies are frequently discussed and debated in media as possible replacements for native applications. The aim of this study was to explore the viability of replacing native applications with mobile web applications in a developing country setting. Two mobile web applications were developed. The first mobile web application tracked runs and the second mobile web application was a booking system for scheduling "slum runs". The subjects who tested these apps were elite, semi-professional Kenyan runners primarily from the Kibera slum area outside of Nairobi. After a 6-month test period the participants concluded and results indicated that the mobile web application for tracking runs performed poorly compared to native applications due to poor GPS performance, while the mobile web application for booking slum runs performed well. The conclusion from this study is that mobile web applications that require hardware interaction such as using the GPS, GPU, or camera are not yet viable alternatives for native applications. However, mobile applications that only require a native interface and content consumption are suitable substitutes for native applications.

Keyword
Mobile web apps, native apps, HTML5, Responsive Web Design, ICT4D
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
SOCIAL SCIENCE, Informatics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-7209 (URN)10.3991/ijim.v7i4.3226 (DOI)
Available from: 2014-12-19 Created: 2014-12-19 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
4. A Kenyan Cloud School: Massive Open Online & Ongoing Courses for Blended and Lifelong Learning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Kenyan Cloud School: Massive Open Online & Ongoing Courses for Blended and Lifelong Learning
2013 (English)In: Open Praxis, ISSN 2304-070X, Vol. 5, no 4, 301-313 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This research describes the predicted outcomes of a Kenyan Cloud School (KCS), which is a MOOC that contains all courses taught at the secondary school level in Kenya. This MOOC will consist of online, ongoing subjects in both English and Kiswahili. The KCS subjects offer self-testing and peer assessment to maximize scalability, and digital badges to show progress and completion to recognize and validate non-formal learning. The KCS uses the Moodle LMS with responsive web design to increase ubiquitous access from any device. Access is free and open, and the KCS intends to be a contextualized open educational resource for formal secondary institutions to support blended learning and a free source of non-formal education for lifelong learning. The expected outcomes are that this effort will reduce secondary school dropout rates, improve test scores, become a quality resource for blended learning, as well as validate and recognize lifelong learning in Kenya.

Keyword
MOOC, OER, ICT4E, Blended Learning, Lifelong Learning, Digital Badges
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
SOCIAL SCIENCE, Informatics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-7212 (URN)10.5944/openpraxis.5.4.86 (DOI)
Available from: 2014-12-19 Created: 2014-12-19 Last updated: 2015-06-24Bibliographically approved
5. Frontrunners in ICT: Kenyan runners'€™ improvement in training, informal learning and economic opportunities using smartphones
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Frontrunners in ICT: Kenyan runners'€™ improvement in training, informal learning and economic opportunities using smartphones
2014 (English)In: ijEDict - International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology, ISSN 1814-0556, E-ISSN 1814-0556, Vol. 10, no 4Article in journal (Refereed) Accepted
Keyword
Kenya, informatik, informal learning, smartphones
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
SOCIAL SCIENCE, Informatics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-7210 (URN)
Available from: 2014-12-19 Created: 2014-12-19 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved

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