The University of Arizona

An App to Teach With: A Case of Mobile Learning Non-adoption in Higher Ed

Sidneyeve Matrix


This article presents a case study of student response to a custom-designed smartphone application for a large undergraduate communications course in Canada. The author analyzed over 2,000 students’ responses to the application over a two-and-a-half year period in order to evaluate the impact and sustainability of this mobile learning initiative. Fewer than half the students downloaded the free application to support their learning. A series of factors explained this non-adoption trend, including hardware restrictions, the cost of wireless data plans, and content redundancy. Based on this classroom experience and contextual research on Canadian mobile phone use, the author offers some cross-disciplinary best practices for mobile application design in college-level courses.



smartphone app; mobile learning; social; online

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