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.

Most recent publication tracking the proliferation of the FRAME model:

  • Koole M., Buck, R., Anderson, K., Laj, D., (2018). A Comparison of the Uptake of Two Research Models in Mobile Learning: The FRAME Model and the 3-Level Evaluation Framework. Educational Sciences, 8(3): 114. doi: 10.3390/educsci8030114

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.