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Teaching electrical and computer software engineers how to configure network services normally requires the detailed presentation of many configuration commands and their numerous parameters. Students tend to find it difficult to maintain acceptable levels of motivation. In many cases, this results in their not attending classes and not dedicating enough time to acquire the required competencies. This paper describes a successful experiment that was able to improve student class attendance, performance, and motivational patterns by using mobile devices in class to provide students with contextualized learning pills. A learning pill is a simple exercise that summarizes some of the key concepts explained in class and promotes reflection and self-study. Each student attending a particular lecture or laboratory session automatically receives a learning pill on his or her mobile phone just after the related concept has been presented. This paper details the scenario used in the experiment and analyzes the performance and motivational patterns of 170 students at the Higher Polytechnic School, Carlos III University of Madrid, Leganes, Spain.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2012