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Qatar: mobile learning app to improve training

Academics at Athabasca University, Canada and Qatar University are developing a mobile learning application to help employees in Qatar’s oil and gas industry to learn technical English language terms used in the sector.

The 'm-learning' project was awarded a three-year grant by the Qatar National Research Fund

“There is no history of mobile learning applications utilised to train employees in the work place in Qatar. This project is novel”

Learners will have unlimited access to specialised content delivered on mobile devices, enabling them to study at their own pace.

The ‘m-learning’ research project, led by Athabasca University’s Dr Mohamed Ally, is the first of its kind to be used for professional training in Qatar, according to co-lead researcher Dr Mohammad Samaka, of Qatar University.

“There is no history of mobile learning applications utilised to train employees in the workplace in Qatar. This project is novel,” he said. “During our most recent literature review, a hunt for existing applications yielded nothing, indicating that this could be the first mobile learning application under development in the oil and gas industry worldwide.”

The project, which received an honourable mention in the International E-Learning Awards, is in its second year of research, having been awarded a three-year grant by the Qatar National Research Fund’s (QNRF) flagship National Priorities Research Program (NPRP).

QNRF, which encourages international research collaboration, said in a statement that this funding is part of its aim “to develop a local culture to support research that will benefit Qatar, the region, and the world”.

“I am sure once it is fully developed, ‘m-learning’ can be deployed into other areas of society”

Around 30 trainees at five Qatar Petroleum (QP) sites have tested the application so far, using it to supplement ongoing corporate training.

Samaka hopes that the model can be extended into other areas of teaching, and the project is also being tested on students on foundation-level English courses at QU.

“I am sure once it is fully developed, ‘m-learning’ can be deployed into other areas of society, at school or university level, due to the nature of its interchangeable and adaptable content,” he said.

He explained that m-learning should complement rather than replace face-to-face teaching, using multimedia content to enhance existing course material.

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