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Universiti Teknologi MARA

Mobile Learning Application For Secondary Students

In Science Subject: A Prototype For Support And


Nurzawani Binti Md Yusof

Thesis submitted in fiilfiUment of the requirements for

Bachelor of Computer Science (Hons)

Faculty of Information Technology And

Quantitative Science



I certify that this thesis and the research to which it refers are the product of my own work and that any ideas or quotation from the work of other people, published or otherwise are fully acknowledged in accordance with the standard referring practices of the discipline




This report presents worked progress of Mobile Learning Application for Secondary Students in Science Subject: A Prototype for Support and Movement. It is implemented because to help students in the secondary school especially student in form two in studying the science subject. Students' faces problems during studying the science subject where they find that it is not quite convenient to open and read the text book at the public because of the text book is quite big and heavy and contain lots of texts. Furthermore, even with small notes it is not interactive enough to attract the student attention to study. The objective of this project are to develop the mobile learning prototype in science subject at secondary school and to get the students' response and make some evaluation of the usage of mobile learning whether the application is accepted by the students as one of the complement method of learning. The method that has been implemented during the development of this project are the prototyping using the prototyping Version I. The result of the application of the mobile learning showed that the application is accepted by the students as their supportive method in studying the science subject. The students said that the application were attractive and giving them an experience studying in new environment where they can study science subject through the personal digital assistance (PDA).




This final year report is accepted to be pursued under my supervision.

Pn Ismassabah Binti Ismail Supervisor

Faculty of Information Technology and Quantitative Sciences Universiti Teknologi MARA



This final year project report maybe not completed with a through target in Project Formulation (CSC 633) without a full supporting, helping and contribution also co-operation from all person and parties involves even direct or indirect involved.

First of all, this acknowledgement goes to Assoc Prof Dr. Naimah Mohd Hussin, lecturer of Faculty of Information Technology and Quantitative Sciences, Universiti Teknologi MARA for the guidance in the subject of Project Formulation (CSC633) and her contribution of her idea, encouragement and help during the preparation of this report. Special thanks to my supervisor Pn Ismassabah Binti Ismail for her frill support and supervision, being cooperative, contribution of ideas, printed materials, notes and spending her time to correct the content of my report during the completion of this report. Last but not least, to all my classmates of CS230 for their contribution such as materials, notes and for the support.

I am also not forgetting for those persons who are involved with direct or indirect ways. I hope that this final proposal report can make satisfying to all parties and give the exposing information for learning Project Formulation subject in the future.

Thank you very much.

Nurzawani Binti Md Yusof


Table of Contents

Abstract iii Keywords iii Approval iv Acknowledgements v


1 Introduction 1 1.1 Problem Description 1 1.2 Project Aim 1 1.3 Project Objectives 2 1.4 Project Scope 2 1.5 Expected Outcomes/Deliverables 2


2 Literature Review 3 2.1 Introduction 3 2.2 Mobile learning 4 2.3 Lifelong, collaborative or problem based learning 4

2.4 The Drawbacks and Benefits of the Mobile Learning 5

2.5 Mobile Platform 6 2.6 Mobile User Interface 8


2.7 Mobile Usability 10 2.8 Instructional Design 11 2.9 Case Study of Mobile Learning Application 12

2.10 Conclusion 14


3 Research Methodology 16 3.1 Prototype Model 16

3.1.1 Prototyping Version 1 18 3.1.2 Prototyping Version II 19

3.2 Data Col lection 20 3.3 Data Analysis 20 3.4 Project Design 21 3.5 Project Mode 22 3.7 Testing and Evaluation 24

3.8 System Requirement Specification 24 3.8.1 Hardware Specification 25 3.8.2 Software Specification 26


4 Project Design and Implementation 27 4.1 Menu Hierarchy of Support and Movement 27


4.2 Storyboard of Support and Movement 29 4.3 Software used in development system 34

4.3.1 Authoring Tools 34 4.3.2 Why Macromedia Flash MX? 34

4.3.3 Editing and Supporting Tools 35 4.4 Palmtop HP iPAQ Pocket PC h6300 35 4.5 HP iPAQ Pocket PC h6300 Specification 36

4.5.1 Front Panel Component 37 4.5.2 Back Panel Component 40 4.6 Steps of Implementation 41 4.7 Snapshot of Support and Movement 43

4.8 Testing and Evaluation 46 4.8.1 Objective 46 4.8.2 The participant 47


5 Result and Analysis 48 5.1 The Questionnaire 48

5.1.1 Students'Detail 48 5.1.2 Content and Organization 52

5.1.3 Navigational and Link 58 5.1.4 User Interface Design 61

5.1.5 Performance 67


5.2 Conclusion 73


6 Conclusion and Recommendation 74

6.1 Recommendation 74

References 75 Appendix 78




1 Introduction

Mobile learning or m- learning is an educational environment that resulting from the combination of wireless and mobile computing where is creating a variety of changes in higher education learning environments. This final year project report is to develop a mobile learning application for the students who study in the secondary school. This application will be used to help students in learning the science subject. With the development of this application, the students can study the science subject through their mobile and help them to achieve a better grade.

1.1 Problem Description

Student is encouraged to study or make some revision during their free time to persuade them to read. During the leisure time, waiting for the school bus or in the bus it is not quite practical to open the text book to read since the text book is quite big and heavy and contain lots of texts. Even if some of the students have the small notes, it is not interactive enough to attract the student attention to study at the public places such as the bus stop. Learning is not just from the text books, it can be from any medium. Therefore the mobile learning comprises any topics such as science subject.

1.2 Project Aim

The aim for this project is to develop a mobile learning prototype for students as a supportive method for studying in secondary school.


1.3 Project Objectives

There are three objectives in this project and all the objectives listed will be achieved.

1. To develop the mobile learning prototype in science subject at secondary school.

2. To get the students' response and make some evaluation of the usage of mobile learning whether the application is accepted by the students as one of the complement method of learning.

1.4 Project Scope

The project scope will focus on the notes presentation of the topic "Support and Movement" in the science subject in the secondary school for student in form two.

1.5 Expected Outcomes/Deliverables

The expected outcomes or deliverables for this project is a mobile learning application on palmtop. The students will accept to use the mobile leaning application.




2 Literature Review

The literature review in this report is just to show the overview of the project being undertaken and for basic information to understand and to be clear about the project. It explains the introduction of the project, the problem description regarding current situation, a little bit of information on the mobile learning and how it works and lastly the conclusion.

2.1 Introduction

Computing technology has been applied to learning since decades. The use for computing technology for learning has been observed in various ways. Since the past decades, electronic learning or e-leaming had appeared and user used to it but for the recent years, the rapid progress of mobile technologies a new term had appeared that is mobile learning the new era of learning. Mobile learning is the next generation of e-Leaming and based on mobile devices, M. Sharples(2002).

Mobile learning is a field that combines two areas that are mobile computing and e-leaming. Mobile learning has been considered as the future of learning or as an integral part of any other form of educational process. Mobile learning is also a collaborative learning which according to Dillenbourg (1999) more or less any collaborative learning activity within an educational context, such as studying course material or sharing course assignments.


2.2 Mobile learning

Mobile learning is an e-leaming through mobile computational device. Mobile learning in generally is a device that is small such as PDAs or cellular phone that enough to accompany user in every moment and can be used for some form of learning. The device can help the user where it can allow interacting with people through the exchange of written message. Moreover, this device can be considered as tool for accessing content that stored in the device or reached through interconnecting. In addition, this device can be included as accessing services that can dynamically generated content.

According to Trifonova and Ronchetti the definition of mobile learning is mobile device mean PDAs and digital cell phone, but more generally of any device that is small, autonomous and unobtrusive enough to accompany user in every moment in their every-day life and that can be used for some form of learning. The most obvious use of the mobile devices for educational purposes is a direct application of the e-leaming techniques on smaller devices instead on a desktop or personal computer. A logical sequence is the development and experimentation on transforming traditional courses in a form appropriate for mobile devices. Mobile learning has different interface rather than other types of learning. Mobile learning have small screen and do not have any keyboard.

2.3 Lifelong, collaborative or problem based learning

There are many researcher concerned with the different aspects of an educational system for lifelong learning. Bentley (1998) and Fischer & Scharff (1998) are writing about the goals that should be adapted by the educational system that favors lifelong learning. Jones (1999) and Wilson (1999) are concerned about practical issues of how lifelong learning should be recognized and evaluated. However Davies (1998); Fischer (1998); Jarvis et al. (1998) and Sharpies (1999) are discussing about the methods and models of teaching that would be most


and fundamental skills people should possess in order to become successful lifelong learners.

There is a project from University of Birmingham that is the HandLeR project that tries to understand in power the process of learning in different contexts and to investigate the lifelong learning. The main purpose is on communication and on human-centered systems design. The main concepts of their investigation are concept of mapping and knowledge sharing, lifelong learning, wearable learning technologies and conversation between mobile learners. According to Smordal O et al. (2002 PDAs and smart-phones were used for experiment in medical education of students from the School of Medicine at University of Oslo to support the problem-of based learning.

Wireless technologies such as IEEE 802.11, Bluetooth, and GPRS are used in a project for development of informal classroom and eSchoolbag system at the Aletheia University in Taiwan by Chang C , Sheu J (2002). The project that is "Paperless education" is being experimental together with the acceptance from the students. According to Chang C.and Sheu J, the traditional classroom was replaced by the new developed electronic tools such as electronic blackboard, rubber and color chalk. The result of the project makes the students were strongly encouraged and eager.

2.4 The Drawbacks and Benefits of the Mobile Learning

According to Larroussi and Rouillard, the disadvantages of the mobile learning are that mobile learning has small screen size and low resolution. Because of these weaknesses, the growth of the mobile learning is slow. Furthermore, mobile learning has slow processing and limited storage capabilities. The difficulty of connecting various type of device to the same network is a limitation for the mobile learning. In addition, the other limitation for mobile learning is not just for WAP


limitation but also for a restriction due to the mobile network. The main weakness of the mobile learning is that the mobile learning is quite costly.

Mobile learning has its own strength. Larroussi and Rouillard stated the benefits of the mobile learning are that mobile learning is portable and easy to carry out to anywhere and anytime. Present day, the mobile learning devices can run most common interactive application without any computation delay. Since the interface of the mobile learning has small screen and the content in the mobile learning are simpler and easy to understand. Bates and Poole (2003) said that the mobile learning is ease of use and dependable.

2.5 Mobile Platform

There are two platforms of handheld computing that are PalmOS and PocketPC. It will discuss about comparizing different features of their hardware and software features, and trying to understand concepts behind each of them and trying to decide which platform is better suited for which kind of applications. These two platforms currently control the market of handhelds. PalmOS passed through several stages of development after its successftil debut in PalmPilot. It is perceived greatly by customers and currently nine manufacturers produce PalmOS-based devices. PocketPC is a Microsoft's response to Palm. The platform is adopted by several computers. These systems look differently and behave sometimes differently. The name Windows CE is sometimes used to name systems collectively, meaning embedded Windows.

According to Meergus (2001), Palm builds the interface fi-om the ground up such as screen look, interaction and widgets; where Windows CE tries to employ users' familiarity with Windows. Palm makes additional stress on application design where most Palm applications are designed specifically and exclusively for the mobile use, in order to provide best fit for user needs. In contrast, Windows CE derived Windows application base, concentrating on adaptation of existing


applications. In other words, Palm believe that user needs special robust applications on the palm, while Microsoft thinks the user wants its usual desktop application resized for the handheld machine. Palm uses intensive approach trying to keep out as much as possible from the system in order to leave only the functions that are very important to the user; However, Microsoft tries to include as much as possible to the device, basically employing the extensive method. Furthermore, Palm urges simplicity as the main advantage where Microsoft proclaims power instead.

Hansberry (2003) said that Microsoft's platform is stronger from the hardware point of view and software features almost counterbalance the differences. Memory usage of Windows CE or PocketPC supports from 16 to 64 Mbytes of RAM and currently most devices come with 32MB, which is 4 times more than Palm's 8MB limit. However, the usage of memory difference from 32MB of RAM on a Windows CE or PocketPC device at least 16 MB must be reserved to OS for programs execution. There is no such limitation on Palm, where running programs directly edit documents. The space that must be kept free is approximately the size of the biggest document one wants to edit. Microsoft's OS uses Unicode system for storing characters which means it uses 2 bytes per character, not including font information. PalmOS uses one byte per character from the beginning, and in addition to that, all the information is compressed in PalmOS. In other words, typical Palm's 8 megabytes of RAM can keep approximately the same amount of data as typical Pocket PC's 32 MB. Observation of memory requirements of comparable applications confirms this conclusion.

PocketPC run on higher CPU frequencies. However, PalmOS applications start faster and perform on comparable speed faster than PocketPC's. While PalmOS is built from the ground up, PocketPC inherits many elements of Windows architecture, such as: registry, object model, OS APIs, networking libraries, OLE (Object Linking and Embedding). Microsoft eases porting applications from Windows to PocketPC to preserve many Windows' elements on a tiny device where


PocketPC has to maintain bigger screen. Higher resolution needs more colours and memory and it will resulted CPU resources to transfer blocks of data. Formatted text is extremely rarely used on Palm. In most applications, Palm uses a single font to display all the information. Only web browsers are exclusions. In PocketPC, most applications use formatted text and they need both memory to store font information and CPU resources to render fonts and transfer images.

In general, Palm brings a brilliant understandability of all the details of the process. In most cases, it merely behaves exactly without any need in manual. Pushing a clearly label button calls clearly understood the ftinction. Based on the idea of simplicity, Palm PDA runs with the principle "only one thing happens at a time". User is always given a clear message of what's going on now. To enhance the functionality of business applications. Pocket PC offers a wide range of capabilities. Multitasking is a fundamental OS capability that allows the device to perform more than one task at a time. For example, the device can download emails with attachments from a server while the user is using a Web-based application. The high-resolution colour screen makes viewing maps, digital photos, schematics blueprint, and Web-page and multimedia applications ideal.

For the development of the mobile learning, PocketPC is the ideal device to be used since it is coloured screen and suitable for the learning for the science which required animation. Furthermore the PocketPC have a little advantage on the usability since the users are already familiar with the Window.

2.6 Mobile User Interface

User interface main fiinction is to act as an interface between the user and the OS. It can be very simple such as just using icons, backgrounds, sounds and can be adapted to an operator, or more complex. Some user interface can make the mobile service and application independent from the mobile OS such as Flash Light from Macromedia. User interface will allow greater level of individualization on the


mobile devices, attracting new players to challenge OS manufacturer's positions. According to Tognazzini (2003) mobile user interface design should attempt the user's wants and needs. The information and tools that users need should be brought with them during each step of a process. The interface also should provide the user who are colour blind. The interface should be consistent with reaction form the user behaviour and small visible structures such as objects like icon should also have a consistent appearance. In the other words, the overall of the application should be consistent.

The interface should also support learning ability. The interface should make sure that users will not loose what they were working on because of an error such as user errors and problems with Internet connectivity or other unavoidable problem. The interface should also be readable. Tognazzini (2003) said that text should have good contrast with the background and grey backgrounds should be avoided. The size of the text should be large enough to be read so that older people who have trouble distinguishing contrast can read the text. The interface should be in the same language as the user and use vocabulary that is not system specific or jargon words. The terms should follow real-world conventions, having them appear in a logical and natural order. Consistency and standards are an essential part of interface design.

There should be good error prevention designed in the interface. It is better to design the interface in a way to prevent an error from happening than to have a good error message. The interface should be flexible and efficient to use. This means that there should be accelerators to increase the speed of expert users that are unseen by novice users. This allows the system to be used by both novices and expert users. Information given to the user should be only the information that they need as extra information lessons the visibility of the information. The interface should help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors. This means that error messages should be expressed in plain language with no codes; it should precisely identify the problem and a solution to fix it. Help and documentation should also be provided in


the system. While such help and documentation may not always be needed, it should be present in case a user needs the information.

2.7 Mobile Usability

Usability is a general term that includes everything that having to do with the ease of use. That is how easily people can use any product's controls or displays such as a tool, computer display, automobile, aircraft or so forth. Usability also refers to the study of methods, measurement, and principles of a product's efficiency, style, and usefulness. In the computer industry, usability often refers to the ease of use in terms of the human-computer interaction. Webcredible, (2006) said that the idea behind usability is to design products with the user in mind. Putting the user first in the design process will results greater efficiency, learning time, and satisfaction. This process is often referred to as an optimized user experience.

To achieve an optimized user experience requires a systematic approach to usability in the design process. This is accomplished through expert empirical usability testing where inexperienced users can be observed to determine what works and what does not work. The goal of optimized usability is to make a product easy to understand, easy to use, and easy to learn. The outcome of good usability is a greater probability of user acceptance. User acceptance is often the difference between a product's success or failure in the marketplace. Users can often reject a well engineered product with great functionality if they are unable to understand or learn or easily use that product.

In the mobile environment, the changing context of use sets a demanding challenge for the development. In addition, the device limitations, such as input mechanisms and display size, make application development harder than in the personal computer. The only way to ensure good usability and user experienced is to consider the user perspective during the whole product life-cycle. The user needs and requirements should be considered all the way from concept creation and


product development to after-sales analysis. The entire product concept should be based on verified user needs and requirements. Design and implementation decisions should be based on making sure that the application enables the user to reach their identified goals as efficiently and smoothly as possible.

During the development work, usability and user experienced can be controlled with expert evaluations and user testing. Early design alternatives and product prototypes can be used for verifying the design with target users and identifying problems early in the process. The earlier design flaws are discovered, the cheaper and easier it is to fix them. The best way to ensure the quality of the application is to define a proper development process that includes the user perspective.

2.8 Instructional Design

Instructional Design is the systematic development of instructional specifications which using learning and instructional theory to ensure the quality of instruction. It is the entire process of analysis of learning needs and goals and the development of a delivery system to meet those needs. It includes the development of instrucfional materials and activities, tryout and evaluation of all instruction and learner activities.

The purposes of developing the instrucfional design process are:

To identify the outcomes of the instruction. To guide the developing the instructional content.

To establish how instructional effectiveness will be evaluated.

According to Gagne et al (1992), the first stage to develop the instructional design is to define the instructional goals. Instructional design goals to make sure the result of the implementation will achieve it objectives that are students will accepts mobile learning as a complement for studying.


An instructional analysis to identify what learning steps will be involved in reaching the goal. Through the task analysis, the task that involved was teaching the student with assist from the voice narrator. With the assist from the voice narrator and would help the student to remember the notes or the important points

Gagne also added that it is necessary to identify the knowledge and skill level that the learner possesses at the outset. The instruction must be targeted as much as possible to the level of the learners' needs and using a suitable content foe teaching.

Then selecting an instructional method is required to identify and employ teaching strategies and techniques that most effectively achieve the performance objectives. The technique that would implement is using the sound to help and support during the learning process and include with some animation or effect to attract the student attention. Current educational theory and research support the use of instructional methods that make students active learners.

Conduct formative evaluation are formative evaluation that occurs from feedback while the instruction is in progress, provides data for revising and improving the instructional materials that were used and those that are up till now to be used. Test instructional materials with one or a small group of students to determine on how students use the materials and how much assistance they need.

Then conduct summarizes evaluation that occurs at the end of the instructional effort such as course that provides data on the effectiveness of the instructional effort as a whole. This is the evaluation that provides information on how the whole instructional unit enabled the learner to achieve the objectives that were established at the outset.

2.9 Case Study of Mobile Learning Application

In Dewsbury College, students have used web pages scaled down to fit the smaller screen of the PDA, with hyperlinks to video and audio files, to support a variety of


learning preferences. The use of this technology has stimulated learners' interest having the technology in their own hands and has enabled individuals to interact with the resources at a pace they can control, and has encouraged peer discussion. The same resources can be accessed on the college website by learners at home or anywhere with an internet connection, thus supporting learning beyond the taught session.

At Thomas Danby College, PDAs have been used to provide formative assessment tests for basic skills learners. This method of delivery offers 'drill for skill' opportunities on demand, with immediate feedback and explanations fi-om the tutor. The addition of audio files has also proved valuable in supporting the learning of key vocabulary and linguistic skills by learners.

Learners at Bishop Burton College have used PDAs for recording, storing and interpreting data in a vocational context. They have found that the opportunity to take pre-prepared and relatively complex calculations into a workshop or outdoor context has usefully combined practical and analytical skills. Furthermore, the technology adds an element of fun to class and workplace learning. These trials have shown that learners do not need to have prior experience of using a computer in order to use a PDA; navigation through purpose-built resources on the PDA was in fact found to be easier for learners unfamiliar with navigating with a mouse. In addition, the mobility of the PDAs has helped to level the playing field for learners in outreach centres and those on the main campuses. The application and ease of use of the PDA has even encouraged learners to borrow the technology or attend sessions early in order to catch up on missed content.

A butterfly-watching system was implemented and tested at an elementary school in Taiwan. The objective was for the students to learn about natural sciences, and more specifically about the different kinds of butterflies in the region. The project was based on the premises of independent learning, with the assumption being that providing appropriate mobile tools would help students to become capable,


reliant, self-motivated and independent. The system was implemented using a wireless ad-hoc networking environment, comprising of a teacher's notebook with a WiFi wireless LAN card that acted as the local server, and student PDAs with 802.11 LAN cards and small-sized CCD cameras. A database of different butterfly species in Taiwan was used with a content-based image retrieval system, and an online nature journal system. The students visited a butterfly farm, where the networking environment was set up and they could use their PDA cameras to take photographs of the butterflies they observed. Using the photos, they could then query the database, which would send back possible matches. The students could then decide which match was best, and the database would verify based on image content similarity. The students then made the final decision, which they recorded on their journal together with their notes of the whole experience, and posted to the teacher. The teacher in turn sent feedback to the students on their PDAs. In the evaluations, a control group used a text-based butterfly guidebook and the experimental group used the system described above. Multiple choice tests on the key features of the butterfly species were administered before and after the trial. Six field trips were conducted in total, with students encountering three new species and three old species at each trip. In four out of the six field trips, the experimental group was able to more correctly identify the key features than the control group. The PDA uses a feature called ActiveSync to load files or additional software from a laptop or desktop computer. Any files made for use on the PDA can be developed on a computer and then transferred to the PDA via ActiveSync.

2.10 Conclusion

The characters of mobile learning devices are the small screen and poor input capabilities results to the assumption that mobile learning cannot be replace the standard desktop computer environment learning. However the same properties also make the mobile learning efficient in learning domain. The mobile learning makes the user used the small piece of waiting time or idle time for learning by reading the


user will experience of studying with the help of small devices which is interesting and attractive. The mobile learning will bring the ability to guide and support the user in new learning situation.





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