Educational usage of mobile devices : differences between postgraduate and undergraduate students

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

The Journal of Academic Librarianship

Publication Date






First Page


Last Page



Pergamon Press


Mobile learning (m-learning), Mixed method, Comparison, Smartphone, Library and Information Science (LIS), Learning patterns


The rapid increase of smartphone usage in recent years has provided students the opportunity to participate in mobile learning (m-learning) anywhere, anytime. Academic institutions are also following this trend to launch many m-learning services. This article investigates the differences of the user needs between undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) students though an online survey with 140 Library Information Systems (LIS) subjects in a Japanese university in order to provide solid foundations for future m-learning studies. We find that UG and PG students do not show significant differences in adopting m-learning by smartphones despite the fact that they have different learning patterns. The m-learning frequencies of smartphones generally range from weekly to monthly, where using search engines is the most frequent, and reading academic resources is the least frequent. They tend to use these services for handling their daily routines (such as search engine, social networks) rather than their academic activities (such as using online databases to search for academic materials). Further, the results also show that content displaying issues (e.g., small display screen, text unable to enlarge) are barriers for most subjects in using these m-learning services.



Print ISSN




Funding Information

This research is partially funded by the Faculty Research Fund, Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong.

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

Full-text Version

Publisher’s Version

Recommended Citation

Lau, K. P., Chiu, D. K. W., Ho, K. K. W., Lo, P., & See-To, E. W. K. (2017). Educational usage of mobile devices: Differences between postgraduate and undergraduate students. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 43(3), 201-208. doi: 10.1016/j.acalib.2017.03.004