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  • Dossier “Mobile Learning Applications in Higher Education”
  • Open Access

M-learning patterns in the virtual classroom

  • 1Email author and
  • 2
International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education201411:11010208

  • Received: 15 June 2013
  • Accepted: 15 October 2013
  • Published:


Mobile devices are everywhere to be found on university campuses. This has changed the nature of higher education and led to a new mobile form of e-learning known as m-learning. The aim of this article is to assess the penetration of mobile devices for learning purposes in higher education and to identify the main usage patterns. To that end, the study used two complementary methodologies: web usage mining and a questionnaire survey. Web usage mining was performed to collect data from the university’s learning management system (LMS) in order to explore this new technology’s usage trends in the past four academic years and to identify the main patterns of behaviour. A questionnaire survey of 460 university students was conducted to find out about the student-declared level of m-learning penetration. The results are conclusive: 25% of accesses to the LMS were made from mobile devices and 75% of the students used these devices for learning purposes. The findings of this study have significant implications not only for researchers and lecturers, but also for institutions intending to implement this teaching/learning methodology.


  • m-learning
  • mobile devices
  • web usage mining
  • Moodle
  • learning management systems