Title: The Implementation of Mobile Learning in Outdoor Education: Application of QR Codes
Authors: Hsin-chin Lai, Chun-Yen Chang, Wen-Shiane Li, Yu-Lin Fan, and Ying-Tien Wu
Study Design: Outdoor education can be an effective way to teach academic subjects such as geography, history and natural sciences. While traditional maps are an important tool in outdoor teaching, green maps (GM) are an emerging trend with the potential to support learning outside the classroom. What’s special about green maps is that they rely on a collaborative mapmaking methodology, which fosters an understanding of ecosystems, the relationship between humans and the environment, and issues related to sustainability. However, green maps are limited in the amount of information they offer, due to time and space restraints. To overcome the limitations of these unique maps the authors of The Implementation of Mobile Learning in Outdoor Education: Application of QR Codes incorporated Quick Response codes (QR codes) into a green map. QR codes placed on a green map connect users to additional relevant information. Viewers can access this information by scanning the QR code with a mobile device. After scanning the QR codes, users are redirected to websites, images and other relevant information previously organized by the authors to correspond to locations highlighted on the green maps.
This QR code learning system was tested with 160 teachers, who first went through a 2-hour workshop. After experimenting with the learning system, the teachers were then asked to complete a questionnaire on the user-friendliness and usefulness of the approach.
Findings: Findings showed that the majority of teachers felt the learning system was user-friendly and that it helped facilitate their outdoor learning objectives. Overall the teachers were enthusiastic about incorporating it into their teaching and using it in the future.
Moving Forward: The study offers an example of how new learning methods that include technology can support learning outside of the conventional classroom. Perhaps similar learning systems that entail maps with QR codes could be used in other contexts beyond outdoor education. For example, what if such tools were integrated into urban planning or architectural courses? Building on the findings of this study, future research might focus on the use of interactive maps with QR codes in different professional fields.
Image: Business cards, two versions, with QR (quick response) codes by Paul Wilkinson (via Wikimedia Commons).