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A key design goal of mobile learning is that its built-in experiences are enjoyable and proactive, empowering the learner with the knowledge and ability to self-manage. This implies that the benefits and critical success factors of mobile learning activities should not simply be based only on learning performance, but also on learners' experiences so that we can assess the added qualities of these activities over and above rote knowledge acquisition. To empirically demonstrate this premise, we report on an assessment of flow experience in three different learning spaces, where learners explore a built environment as part of a simulated security guard training program. Our results seem to show that the true cost-benefit ratio of mobile learning may not be evident in measures of learning performance or rote knowledge acquisition alone, but that mobile learning activities could provide a better learning experience by providing the conditions for optimal flow experience. Further, in the spatial navigation tasks given in our experimental context, it can be seen that simple learning performance measures can be highly dependent on the learner's spatial capability, but this was not the case for flow experience measures.
Date of Publication: Jan.-March 2010