Background and Objectives: Virtually ubiquitous mobile and wireless network coverage combined with high mobile device penetration create an opportunity for mobile learning (mLearning) research to focus on linking theory and practice. The QR Cache project at College of the North Atlantic-Qatar (CNA-Q) evolved from the desire of students to use their own mobile devices, and the need for situated mLearning solutions to training demands of Qatar's technical workforce. QR Cache was developed as a set of exemplars of situated mobile reusable learning objects (RLOs) for students studying introductory computer hardware devices and concepts. The QR Cache project uses a Design-Based Research (DBR) approach to study the development of the RLOs, as well as the link between instructional design and established learning theories. Moore's Transactional Distance Theory and Koole's FRAME model are used to provide theoretical grounding for both design decisions and results interpretation. Methods: Participants used their own mobile devices to scan Quick Response (QR) codes affixed to computer equipment. The QR codes redirected their smartphones to websites with information on the English names and some basic facts about the devices. Participants then completed an online questionnaire about their experiences. Survey responses were analyzed for indicators of transactional distance, as well as the domains of effective mLearning design outlined by the FRAME model. Results: Eight students completed the online questionnaire in the pilot phase. All participants were easily able to access the RLOs using their own mobiles. Responses indicated that they found the situated learning strategy desirable. Students also indicated that they revisited the RLOs several times and that the activities generated interaction in the form of discussions with their peers and instructors. Conclusions: Student experiences with the QR Cache RLOs demonstrate low levels of transactional distance between learners and content, their peers, and instructors. They also show a strong convergence of the learner, social and device usability aspects of the FRAME model required optimizing the mLearning experience. However, the limited number of pilot phase participants makes it difficult to provide generalizations. Expanding the research to include more participants in a subsequent phase would address this limitation.


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