IMPLEMENTATION OF MOBILE VIRTUAL LABORATORY: CONTRIBUTORY FACTORS IN A DEVELOPING COUNTRY
The growing availability of mobile devices across developing countries and coupled with increase awareness of mobile learning as well as the use of mobile devices for laboratory practical warrant the exploration of its wider application in learning. This study explored the factors that contribute to the successful implementation of mobile virtual laboratory in a developing country. A Nigerian higher institution was selected because of its peculiar location in a rural area and was important in the evaluation of the Internet penetration in rural areas of Nigeria for m-Learning. A designed questionnaire for need analysis was distributed to 132 consented participants and the resulting data were analysed using SPSS-21. The study shows that the term mobile learning was not too new to majority of the learners as (44.7%) indicated that they had heard about it. However majority of the respondents (78.8%) had never heard about Mobile Virtual Laboratories. MTN data plan was mostly used for Internet because of its N1000 (5 US dollars) data plan. Again, majority of the respondents used Blackberry (57%) and Android phones (32%). Based on the findings in this study, the network, data plan, device type and learners awareness were important factors characterising the needs and choices of learners. Overall, uptake of mobile learning will be easy and enhanced if determinants of learners needs and choice as identified in this study are considered in the implementation of mobile virtual laboratory in a developing country.
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