Research aim and method


This research study was undertaken to explore current and emerging theory and practice, and advancements in the affordances of mobile and social media technologies to investigate heutagogical use of learner owned mobile devices.

The overall research question that guided this study was:

How can mobile and social media tools enable learner-generated content and context (heutagogy) for enhanced learning?

In addition, the secondary questions that helped answer the main research question were:

  1. What are the pedagogical affordances of mobile and social media tools that enable the design and implementation of heutagogic learning?
  2. How did the use of mobile and social media tools within a heutagogical framework enhance the learning and learner experience in an undergraduate journalism course?
  3. What is the role of the teacher in facilitating a heutagogical learning experience using mobile and social media tools in a course?



A four phase design-based research approach was utilised in this study (Reeves, 2006). Design-based research is defined as ‘a series of approaches, with the intent of producing new theories, artifacts, and practices that account for and potentially impact learning and teaching in naturalistic settings’ (Barab & Squire, 2004, p. 2). Design-based research approach was deemed appropriate for this study as it leads to the creation of transferrable knowledge—helpful for other practitioners and helps investigate unrealised and unexplored possibilities in mobile learning (Bannan et al., 2015).



Reeves, T. C. (2006). Design research from a technology perspective. In J. van den Akker, K. Gravemeijer, S. McKenney, & N. Nieveen (Eds.), Educational design research (pp. 52-66). New York: Routledge.

Barab, S. A., & Squire, K. (2004). Design-based research: Putting a stake in the ground. The Journal of Learning Sciences, 13(1), 1-14. doi:10.1207/s15327809jls1301_1

Bannan, B., Cook, J., & Pachler, N. (2015). Reconceptualizing design research in the age of mobile learning. Interactive Learning Environments, 24(5), 938-953. doi:10.1080/10494820.2015.1018911


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