Adult literacy mobile learning: a smartphone app proposal to aid adult learners to practise their literacy skills

Williams, Leonie Carnation Jacinta
Guinibert, Matthew
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Master of Communication Studies
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Auckland University of Technology

The aim of this thesis is to explore how adult learners with low literacy may use smartphones to practise their literacy skills. The study was guided by these research questions: How do adults with low literacy engage with smartphones, if at all? Can specialised smartphone applications be developed that provide a way for adults with low literacy to practise their skills? Can m-learning be used to enhance and reinforce traditional learning styles? The study answered the research questions in succession using heuristic inquiry, mixed-methods quantitative and qualitative research, and practice-based research. The study uncovers smartphone ownership levels amongst adults with low literacy, how they use smartphones and applications (apps), and identifies their learning preferences. Recommendations for practising literacy skills using smartphones (“m-learning”) are established from the literature review and the results of the survey and interviews. These recommendations are then applied to a proof of concept smartphone app designed to help adults with low literacy practise their literacy skills. The results showed promise that adult learners with low literacy can be supported with a smartphone app that will help with practising their literacy skills. The study did not seek to complete a fully functional app, instead only creating a proof of concept. This saw the app go untested and is a potential area for future research. The knowledge gained by implementing the recommendations from the development of the proof of concept app is fully documented in this thesis. This documentation may help others in the field who wish to further investigate the development of smartphone apps in this area.

Mobile learning , Literacy , Smartphone app , Low literacy
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