Creative Education
2012. Vol.3, Supplement, 39-43
Published Online December 2012 in SciRes ( DOI:10.4236/ce.2012.38b009
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 39
The Integration of m-Learning and Social Nework for Suporting
Knowledge Sharing
Pannee Suanpang
Faculty of Science & Technology, Suan Dusit Rajabhat University, Bangkok, Thailand
Received 2012
Mobile learning (m-Learning) is a type of a learning system that combines mobile, computer, and modern
educational technologies to facilitate teaching and learning. Social network use Web 2.0 technology to
communicate, share and searching information for the students. This paper presents the integration of
m-Learning and social network design for supporting the sharing of knowledge. The m-Learning system
was developed from IPTV (Suan Dusit Internet Broadcasting: SDIB) to mobile IPTV and extended to
m-Learning systems. The prototype was designed by integrating m-Learning system (contents and com-
munication tool) and social networks that support knowledge sharing of the learners. The prototype has
been used for teaching and learning and students evaluated the system. The result found that the m-
Learning system was useful in helping learners to share knowledge and create social interaction.
Keywords: m-Learning; Knowledge Sharing; Social Network; Knowledge Management
Mobile learning (m-Learning) is a new type of learning sys-
tem that combined with mobile communication, mobile com-
puting, network and modern education technologies. (Zhuang,
Xu, Hu, & Tian, 2011; Suanpang, 2012 in press). m-Learning is
defined as e-Learning using mobile devices and wireless trans-
mission (Hoppe et al., 2003; Chang et al., 2003; Iqbal, &
Qureshi, 2012). Furthermore, m-Learning is define as the ac-
quisition of any knowledge and skill through using mobile
technology, anywhere and anytime (Lee & Chan, 2007). m-
Learning is becoming popular because the increasing the num-
ber of mobile devices (such as smart phones, PDAs and iPads)
as well as enhancement in the technological capabilities of
these devices. The mobile devices have a variety of capabilities
such as making phone calls, recording audio/video, capturing
pictures, storing data, accessing the Internet, and connecting
with social networks (Maccallam & Jeffery, 2009; Iqbal, &
Qureshi, 2012). The key attributes of the m-Learning system
are spontaneity, personalization, informality, context-sensitivity,
portability, ubiquity and pervasiveness (Lee & Chan, 2007).
Also, the m-Learning system facilitates distributed education
with the learning activities through a variety of tools which
have appropriate pedagogical approaches to collaboration and
social interaction (Yang, 2012). Learners can create and share
their own knowledge through the use of interactive games, tools
for brainstorming, quizzing, and the integration with online
management system in classroom (Goh & Kinshuck, 2006;
Iqbal, & Qureshi, 2012). It linked to social networks (such as
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) passing through smart phone and
wireless devices.
Meanwhile, knowledge management especially knowledge
sharing, is very important in the field of student’s development.
Students can create new knowledge from learning and sharing
information among friends. The idea is for students to share
their knowledge (both explicit and tacit) with friends so as to
work in the group project by using the m-Learning and social
network systems.
The aim of this study is to integrate m-Learning system de-
livered through mobile multimedia contents (text, voice, live
picture, audio, and video) and to link it to social network appli-
cations to support the knowledge sharing of learners.
Knowledge Sharing
Knowledge sharing is part of knowledge management (KM)
process. There are some related theories as follows:
Knowledge has been defined in several ways. Peter F.
Drucker defined it as “the only meaningful resource today”
(Drucker, 1993). Nonoka & Takeuchi (1995) defined it as “one
the most important assets for an organization to create value
and enhance, sustainable competitive advantage”. In this paper,
knowledge is defined as the outcome of learning and experi-
ences of the learners that is gained from education.
There are two types of knowledge tacit and explicit. Tacit
knowledge is subjective and experiential knowledge that cannot
be expressed in words, sentence, numbers or formulas. It in-
cluded technical skills (craft, know-how) and cognitive skills
(belief, image, perspective and mental models). Explicit
knowledge is objective and rational knowledge that can be
expressed in words, sentence, numbers or formulas. It includes
the theoretical approach, problem solving, manuals and data-
bases (Nonoka & Takeuchi, 1995). However, there is interac-
tion between tacit and explicit knowledge.
Knowledge Conversion Theory
Nonaka & Takeuchi (1995) introduced a process of knowledge
conversion called the ‘SECI’ model. The different ‘knowledge’
could interact and inter-conversion between explicit and tacit
knowledge could occur (as seen in Figure 1 below):
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Figure 1.
SECI model.
The SECI model has four dimensions as follows (Dubberly
& Evenson, 2011):
Socialization (tacit to tacit): This process involves convert-
ing new tacit knowledge in order to share experiences
through social interactions such as meetings, dialogues, and
Externalization (tacit to explicit): This process involves
converting tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge by pub-
lishing and articulating knowledge. Externalization requires
learners to communicate or work in groups to share their
Internalization (explicit to tacit): This process involves con-
verting explicit knowledge to tacit knowledge by knowledge
receiving and application by an individual.
Combination (explicit to explicit): This process involves
converting explicit to explicit knowledge by organizing, in-
tegrating knowledge.
The SECI model is based on the idea that both learning
growth and knowledge creation are achieved and completed in
social interaction (Edmond, 1999). Knowledge is crated be-
tween four dimensions and is a continuous process which works
as a spiral and forms for patterns. The spiral of knowledge
creation will become bigger and larger (Zhuang, Xu, Hu, &
Tian, 2011).
Learners in the classroom can develop community of practice
(CoP). CoP consists of group of people with the same interest,
same target, and the same job discussing and communicating
issues of common concern to promote knowledge sharing and
knowledge transmission (Barth, 2003).
Student’s Knowledge Sha rin g
Knowledge sharing is another type of knowledge passing
through which the learner gains both explicit and tacit knowl-
edge (Alavi & Leidner, 2001; Davenport & Prusak, 1998; Ti-
wana, 2000; Ward & Aurum, 2004). Learners can create new
knowledge from knowledge sharing by externalization and
internalization via communication. Learner‘s knowledge shar-
ing model is shown in Figure 2 (Jackson & Klobas, 2008):
The Development of m-Learning System
Related Work
The m-Learning system was a further development of the
mobile IPTV of Suan Dusit Internet Broadcasting (SDIB). SDIB
was the IPTV of Suan Dusit Rajabhat University. The IPTV has
goals of increasing educational opportunities for student in rural
areas and to support lifelong learning and education for adults
throughout Thailand. The system broadcasted four channels and
the content was transmitted both as audio and video. Channel 1
broadcast teaching and learning activities at Sa-Tid-La-Or-
U-Tid primary school. Most of the contents were useful for
teachers in early childhood care centers, of which there were
about 17,000 in Thailand (Suanpang, 2009). The SDIB pilot
project provided TV, set top box and ADSL for 80 pilot schools
around Thailand. The result of the teacher’s evaluation using
the SDIB system found that teachers had a high satisfaction
with the SDIB system (Suanpang, Termboonpasert, Kanta-
manoon & Regittinun, 2010). Moreover, the SDIB strategic
plan 2012-2015 was developed in which combined four organ-
izational level strategies and 15 projects (Suanpang 2012b;
Suanpang, 2012c). The mobile IPTV was a further development
of IPTV which could broadcast its content both live and video
on demand using both mobile and web browser (Suanpang,
2012 in press).
m-Learning Systems Design
According to knowledge sharing of the students, m-Learning
system should include various methods such as resources,
knowledge, information, and experience. The process of knowl-
edge sharing is obtaining and using knowledge (Zhuang, Xu,
Hu, & Tian, 2011). Therefore, the design of m-Learning should
be integrated with social network tools in order to provide a
knowledge sharing platform and environment. In traditional
learning, learners share their knowledge among friends through
meetings, group learning and other activities. However, in the
m-Learning context, learners share their knowledge by using
technology to communicate which each other such as through
short message (SMS), e-mails, telephone conversations, video,
discussion broads, and comments on social network websites.
The m-Learning system was designed and developed as a
prototype. There are 4 steps of prototyping (Laudon & Laudon,
Figure 2.
Knowledge sharing process.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 41
Step 1: identify user’s requirements by collected data from
interviewing learners and teachers who will use the m-Learning
Step 2: develop initial prototype.
Step 3: use the prototype used by teachers and learners in
Strategic Information Planning for Organization Course at
Suan Dusit Rajabhat University as the pilot project for 10
Step 4: revise and enhance the prototype.
The m-Learning prototype was designed based on knowledge
sharing shown in Figure 3.
The design of the m-Learning prototype consisted of learning
content and communication tools. Learning contents included
of e-books, PowerPoint presentation, quizzes, videos, and case
studies of the Strategic Information Planning for Organization
subject. Learners created their own content such as post their
group assignment in the m-Learning system. All the content
was provided via a website from which people can download and
upload their own contents. Communication tools in m- Learn-
ing that integrated with social network tools included blogs,
mobile IPTV (for watching video of the project/case study
which were also posted on YouTube), discussion broad (on
Facebook), short message (on Twitter, and mobile phones).
Using m-Learning System in Class
Learners were arranged to work in group projects to develop
‘Information Technology Strategic Plan’ to support small busi-
nesses (such as bakery shops, rental video shops, online cloth-
ing shops, online flower shops, etc). The project required the
learners to work in group with eight people in each group. Each
group needed to analysis business (vision, mission, organiza-
tion chart, SWOT analysis, development strategy, financial
analysis, etc) and information technology planning (hardware,
software, networking, database, and people ware) for those
businesses. Therefore, learners were required to access learning
materials from the m-Learning system, develop their business
Figure 3.
m-Learning system design.
plan and IT plan, design a web, develop social networks to
support their project, send texts, take pictures of the physical
location, and develop 3D model to simulate the shop that they
designed. After they finished their projects, they were required
to upload their reports, video, 3D-designed shop, website links
and social networks to the m-Learning system.
Figure 4 shows examples of the learner’s work project:
m-Learning System Evaluation
The m-Learning system was evaluated through both quanti-
tative (questionnaires) and qualitative (in-depth interviews)
approaches. There were 53 learners enrolled in Strategic Infor-
mation Planning for Organization course in semester one of the
2012 academic year. The m-Learning system was used for 10
weeks. At the end of the course, learners evaluated the m-
Learning system through questionnaires and interviews.
The questionnaire was divided into two parts: demographic
information of the learners and their attitude towards the use of
m-Learning system to share knowledge. There were four de-
pendent variables: usefulness (U), ease of use (EU), learning
interaction (LI) and knowledge sharing (KS). Usefulness (U)
consisted of four items (adapted from Venkatesh et al., 2003;
Iqbal, & Qureshi, 2012) which focused on m-Learning system’s
increase in effectiveness. Ease of use (EU) consisted of five
items (adapted from Venkatesh et al., 2003; Iqbal, & Qureshi,
2012) and focused on how easy to use m-Learning system.
Learning interaction (LI) consisted of three items that focused
on how classmates and teachers interact. Knowledge sharing
(KS) consisted four items which focused on how learners use
the m-Learning system to share their knowledge. While inter-
viewing the learners, un-structured question were used.
The demographic profile of the students is given in Table 1.
The descriptive statistics from the m-Learning evaluation is
given in Table 2.
Figure 5 shows the results of the evaluation of using m-
The results showed that the highest score (means = 3.19) was
knowledge sharing. The learner used m-Learning for sharing
knowledge among classmates and teachers. Here are some
comments to illustrate knowledge sharing as follows:
Figure 4.
Example of 3D-designed shop.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Table 1.
Demographic profiles of learners.
Student Profile
Frequency Percent
Smart phone
PDA, iPad
Both smart phone and
Table 2.
Descriptive statistics of evlaution of m-Learning.
Student attitude toward of using m-Learning
-m-Learning tools help accomplish task more
-m-Learning increase job performance
-use of m-Learning resulted in increase
- use of m-Learning will increase effectiveness
-m-Learning makes learning easier
-m-Learning is useful for learners
-it is easy to access information from m-Learning
-it is easy to use m-Learning tools to
communicate with freinds
-it is easy to become skillful at using m-Learning
-I use m-Learning to communicate and share
knowledge with friends in class often
-I use m-Learning to communicate with the
teacher often
-I awlays use m-Learning to interact with my
-m-Learning use for sharing knowledge with
-m-Learning can create community of practice for
(CoP) learners
-m-Learning help learners to create knowledge
Overall Satisfaction of using m-Learning 3.55 1.10
Figure 5.
Result of m-Learning evaluation.
We are always on FB to sharing information and tracking
work between the group members”.
We sharing information about how to develop business plan
because this is new for us. We shared picture, information,
video clip to other group via m-Learning and Facebook”.
The m-Learning system helped us to sharing knowledge
about how to develop business and IT strategic plan a lot. We
really like it.
Secondly, learners found that the m-Learning system was
easy to use (means = 3.16). The m-Learning system made their
learning easier and more effective. They could get information
from m-Learning everywhere and any time that they wanted.
Here are further some comments to illustrate the ease of use for
m-Learning as follows:
I have to change mobile from BB to iPhone to use in this
course to catch up friends”. I think I use mobile phone to be
more efficacy, use almost all the function not only entertain-
ment but I use it for study too. I felt very proud of myself.”
We like to use mobile phone take pictures of the slide pres-
entation of the teacher sometimes that we cannot catch up lec-
I think m-Learning system is easy to use because I always
use smart phone for connect to Internet to searching informa-
tion while lecturing. It is very convenience.”
We got computer notebook that provided by the university.
But it quite heavy that why we bring it to class sometimes. But
we like to use mobile phone because it very convenience and
have all function such as checking e-mail, SMS, and Facebook
that we want to communication and access to m-Learning sys-
Third, learners used m-Learning to develop social interaction
(means = 3.15). They used m-Learning system for sharing
knowledge and communicating with their friends. Also the
system developed community of practice through which they
can create knowledge from the social interaction. Here are
some comments to illustrate the social interaction of m-Learn-
ing as follows:
We always communicate to group members especially when
near the deadline of submitting the project. We need to help
each other to finish work. That way we talk a lot to exchange
our information
We always comment and send message via m-Learning sys-
tem and share information with friends in Facebook. This is
very good way to communication because everyone has Face-
Finally, learner’s perception was that m-Learning was useful
(means = 3.13). They think that m-Learning system helped
them to accomplish tasks more quickly and increase their job
performance, productivity and effectiveness. Here are some
comments to illustrate the usefulness of m-Learning as follows:
We like m-Learning system because it helped us to work in
project more easily and productivity.”
This system is very cool, it help us to work easily and effec-
Overall, students were very satisfied (means = 3.55) with the
m-Learning system and recommended using this system for
other subjects, especially for their senior projects.
The m-Learning system has the potential to become an effec-
tive means for providing education rather than by the traditional
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 43
method. m-Learning can create knowledge management for
learners. This paper illustrated the design of the m-Learning
system which when integrated with social networks helps
learners to develop knowledge sharing. The concept and in-
structional issues related to m-Learning design are evolving
(Zhuang, Xu, Hu, & Tian, 2011; Suanpang, 2012 in press). The
m-Learner prototype included contents and communication
tools. The prototype was used and evaluated. The results found
that the system helps learners to share knowledge and crate
social interaction as well as being easy to use and useful for
Limitations of the Research and Future Work
m-Learning was developed as a prototype which focused on
knowledge sharing in this study. Therefore, it should develop as
the full functional m-Learning system that can support knowl-
edge management including knowledge obtaining, knowledge
storage, knowledge sharing, knowledge usage, and knowledge
renewal. In addition, future studies can focus on its use in spe-
cific disciplines such as humanities, education, engineer, man-
agement, business, and others to figure out the ideal disciplines
for adoption of this medium of education. Additionally, future
study should focus on pedagogy for m-Learning to improve
learning effectiveness.
The author would like to thank the Office of Academic Re-
source and Information Technology (ARIT) at Suan Dusit Ra-
jabhat University for providing network infrastructure to sup-
port m-Learning system.
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