Thoughts, writing & snippets

Marguerite Koole, PhD

The FRAME Model of Mobile Learning

The acronym refers to: “Framework for the Rational Analysis of Mobile Education”. In my master’s thesis, I explain why I selected these words. But, I will focus on the meaning of the model here.

Basically the model is a heuristic; that is, it is a tool, like a lens, that allows someone to critically examine a given phenomenon. What I realized shortly after defending my master’s thesis is that the model can apply to all kinds of technology. (It would need a new name: FRATE?)

The FRAME Model is a Venn diagram composed of three overlapping circles:

Venn diagram

The FRAME Model

The circles represent the characteristics of the device, the learner, and the social. The Device Aspect (D) takes into consideration the physical characteristics, input and output capabilities, file storage & retrieval, processor speed, and error rates. If using this model for other technologies, other characteristics might come into play. The Learner Aspect (L) focuses on the characteristics of an individual such as prior knowledge, personal history, memory, emotions, learning styles (if you subscribe to a belief in learning styles), and ability to transfer skills and knowledge from context to context. The Social Aspect (S) takes into consideration processes of conversation and cooperation, the sharing of signs and symbols, as well as social and cultural beliefs and values.

When these aspects overlap each other, we start to see interesting developments. As a learner comes into contact with a device as per the Device Usability Intersection (DL), we can consider elements like portability, information availability, psychological comfort, and satisfaction with aesthetics and functionality. The Social Technology Intersection (DS) we consider how people, as a collection, interact with technology. So, we can consider the means of networking, connectivity amongst systems, and collaboration tools. Finally, with the Interaction Learning Intersection (LS), what comes into view is how an individual is influenced by and influences the collective. This is where we can consider constructivist and constructionist ideas such as type of interaction, situated cognition, and learning communities.

At the centre of the model, the aspects and intersections inform us of the nature of the learning context. This is the point at which we can consider mediation, information access and selection, and knowledge navigation. One of the questions for the interview asked if the FRAME Model was complementary to George Siemens theory of Connectivism. Whilst it has been a couple of years since I read his book, Knowing Knowledge, I would say that it is in alignment. In fact, the FRAME Model is in alignment with many other theories. I have never suggested that it should supersede or replace other models. But, rather, as I mentioned earlier, it is one of many tools (heuristics) that we can use to better understand a given learning situation.

The FRAME Model is still current. It can be applied to virtually any kind of learning technology—not just mobile technology. And, it can be applied to formal and informal learning. With some creativity, it can be applied to non-learning situations. Perhaps it needs a new name such as “FRATE” in which mobile is substituted with technology.

Please feel free to email me with any publications that you might have done using the FRAME Model:

A more detailed list of references from Google Scholar.


Publications, Presentations and Workshops

Book chapters

Koole, M. (2009). Chapter 2: A Model for Framing Mobile Learning. In M. Ally (Ed.), Mobile Learning: Transforming the Delivery of Education and Training (pp. 25-47). Edmonton, Alberta: AU Press.

Papers in Refereed Journals

Koole, M., Letkemen McQuilkin, J., & Ally, M. (2010). Mobile Learning in Distance Education: Utility or Futility. Journal of Distance Education. URL:


Ally, M., Cleveland-Innes, M., Koole, M., Kenny, R. F., & Park, C. (2009). Developing a Community of Inquiry in a Mobile Learning Context. Learning and Technology: A Capital Idea! Retrieved from


Batista, S. C. F., Behar, P. A., & Passerino, L. M. (2010). M-Learning in Mathematics: mapping requirements. Interactive Computer Aided Learning (ICL). Hasselt, Belgi9um: Kassel University Press.Retrieved from


Crescente, M. L., & Lee, D. (2011). Critical issues of m-learning: design models, adoption, processes, and future trends. Journal of the Chinese Institute of Industrial Engineers, 28(2), 111-123. Retrieved from


Hamdeh, M. A., & Hamdan, A. (2010). Using analytical hierarchy process tomeasure critical success factors of m-learning. European,Mediterranean & Middle Eastern Conference on Information Systems (EMCIS, April 12-13). Abu Dhabi, UAE. Retrieved from Refereed Papers/C33.pdf


Henríquez-Ritchie, P., & Organista-Sandoval, J. (2012). Propuesta metodológica para la caracterización de actividades de m-learning realizadas por estudiantes de una universidad pública. Revista Iberoamericana para la Investigación y el Desarrollo Educativo, 8(Enero – Junio). Retrieved from


Issa, G. F., Hussain, S. M., & Al-Bahadili, H. (n.d.). A framework for building an interactive satellite TV based m-learning environment (document in preparation). International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning (iJET). Retrieved from


Kenny, R. F., Van Neste-Kenny, J. M. C., Park, C. L., Burton, P. A., & Meiers, J. (2009). Mobile Learning in Nursing Practice Education: Applying Koole’s FRAME Model. Journal of Distance Education. Retrieved from


Koole, M., de Waard, I., & Elsayed Meawad, F. (2010). Mobile Learning: Solutions & Challenges. CIDER Sessions (online presentation). The Canadian Institute of Distance Education Research. URL:


Koole, M. (2010). Mobile learning: Do the benefits justify the cost and time? New Era Teaching and Learning (online presentation). Commonwealth of Learning. URL:


Koole, M. (2009). Workshop: Go Mobile! Advantages, Issues, and Examples of Mobile Technologies in Distance Education. 8th Annual International MADLaT Conference (Winnipeg, Manitoba). URL:


Koole, M., & Ally, M. (2008). UMLAUT-M Understanding Mobile Learning at a University Through MobiGlam: Utility or Futility? MLearn: The bridge from text to context (October 6-10). Telford, UK.


Koole, M., Ally, M., Elsayed Meawad, F., & Letkeman McQuilkin, J. (2008). UMLAUT-M: Understanding Mobile Learning at Athabasca University through MobiGlam. Canadian Network for Innovation in Education Annual Conference (April 27-30). Banff, AB.


Koole, M., & Ally, M. (2006). Framework for the Rational Analysis of Mobile Education (FRAME) Model: Revising the ABCs of Educational Practices. International Conference on Networking, International Conference on Systems and International Conference on Mobile Communications and Learning Technologies (ICN ICONS MCL’06) (pp. 216-216). Mauritius: IEEE. doi:10.1109/ICNICONSMCL.2006.103


Koole, M. (2006). Practical Issues in Mobile Education. Fourth IEEE International Workshop on Wireless, Mobile and Ubiquitous Technology in Education (WMTE’06) (pp. 142-146). Athens: IEEE. doi:10.1109/WMTE.2006.261363


Koole, M., & Ally, M. (2006). Framework for the Rational Analysis of Mobile Education (FRAME) Model: Revising the ABCs of Educational Practices. The 1st International Conference on Interactive Computer Aided Learning (IMCL), April 19-22. Princess Sumaya University for Technology, Amman, Jordan.


Ally, M., & Koole, M. (2006). Workshop: Best practices for instructors and trainers who use mobile devices to deliver instruction to students. The 1st International Conference on Interactive Computer Aided Learning (IMCL), April 19-22. Amman, Jordan.


Koole, M. (2006). Mobile Devices in Distance Education: Compare, Consider and Collaborate. 5th World Conference on Mobile Learning (October 20-26). Banff, AB.

Koole, M., & McGreal, R. (2006). mLearning: What is it and where is it going? Innovations in Education: Challenges, Issues, and Solutions. (CADE/AMTEC Annual Conference) May 23-26. Montreal, QU.


Kumar, A., Tweari, A., Shroff, G., Chittamuru, D., Kam, M., & CAnny, J. (n.d.). An Exploratory Study of Unsupervised Mobile Learning in Rural India. Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 743-752). Atlanta, GA. Retrieved from


Kumar, L. S., Biplab, J., Aggarwal, A. K., & Kannan, S. (2011). Mobile Device Intervention for Student Support Services in Distance Education Context – FRAME Model Perspective. European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning, 2. Retrieved from


Mishra, S. (2009). Mobile technologies in open schools (p. 97). Report by the Commonwealth of Learning.Vancouver, BC. Retrieved from


Palmer, R., & Dodson, L. (2011). Distance Learning in the Cloud: Using 3G Enabled Mobile Computing to Support Rural Medical Education. Journal of the Research Center for Educational Technology (RCET), 7(1), 106-116. Retrieved from


Pettersson, O., Svensson, M., Gil, D., Andersson, J., & Milrad, M. (2010). On the role of software process modeling in software ecosystem design. Technology, (August), 103-110. ACM Press. doi:10.1145/1842752.1842778


Serrano-Santoyo, A., & Organista-Sandoval, J. (2010). Challenges and opportunities to support learning with mobile devices. MexIHC 2010, 3rd Mexican Workshop on Human-Computer Interaction (November 8-10, 2010). San Luis Potosí, Mexico. Retrieved from


Stockwell, G. (2010). Using mobile phones for vocabulary activities: Examining the effect of the platform. Language Learning & Technology, 14(2), 95-110. Retrieved from


Whalley, W. B., France, D., Park, J. R., Welsh, K., & Favis-Mortlock, D. (2011). Flexible personal learning environments developed with netbook computers to enhance learning in fieldwork learning spaces. The PLE Conference 2011 (10th – 12th July) (pp. 1-13). Southampton, UK: Web Science Trust. Retrieved from