5: Specialist options

In this section I reflect upon two areas of specialisation within my practice as a higher education educator and academic advisor for lecturers:

  • Mobile Learning and social media
  • The Scholarship Of Technology Enhanced Learning

5.1: Mobile Learning and Social Media

My expertise and impact in the field of mobile learning can be seen in a variety of reified activities that reflect the CMALT principles and values:

  1. A commitment to exploring and understanding the interplay between technology and learning.
  2. A commitment to keep up to date with new technologies.
  3. An empathy with and willingness to learn from colleagues from different backgrounds and specialist options.
  4. A commitment to communicate and disseminate effective practice.

What makes my work within the field of mobile learning that is distinct from common practice is a focus upon user-generated content and user-generated contexts as a catalyst for moving from teacher-directed pedagogies to learner-determined heutagogy (Cochrane & Antonczak, 2015a; 2015b).

Evidence of my research, practice, and impact within the field of mobile learning:

Selected examples of Altmetrics impact of my mobile learning research:

5.2: The Scholarship Of Technology Enhanced Learning

My practice as an academic advisor involves modelling and supporting other academics/colleagues in taking their teaching praxis to a deeper level via the explicit integration of reflective practice research and peer-reviewed feedback. My approach to practice-based research in higher education builds upon the work of Boyer’s (1990) concept of the Scholarship Of Teaching and Learning (SOTL), bringing it into the social media and open education age (Cochrane, Narayan, Antonczak & Burcio-Martin, 2016). Since 2015 this has been explicit in my practice through the development of cMOOCs to support lecturers in developing their own models of SOTEL, and in the establishment of the SOTEL Research Cluster http://sotel.nz. This approach builds upon my experience of facilitating a community of practice model to support lecturer professional development since 2006, rebranding COPs as Research Clusters to make the integration of reflective practice research explicit. SOTEL has been an under researched area of TEL (Haynes, 2016; Reeves, 2015), leading to the critique of TEL as being typically technology-driven rather than pedagogically focused. My aim is to change this perception and provide critical evidence of engagement with a pedagogy-first approach in integrating technology in higher education through the support and development of a wide body of evidence from the SOTEL Research Cluster. I make this explicit in all the projects I support through using a Design-Based Research foundation to inform the design and implementation of each curriculum intervention and learning design project (Cochrane and Farley, 2017). The evidence of my focus upon SOTEL includes a growing body of research outputs, and the impact of these outputs via citation metrics such as Google Scholar Citations.


The Scholarship Of Technology Enhanced Learning is broader than publishing research articles, it involves active participation within the global researcher and practitioner community in a number of ways, and I have been an active reviewer for Journals, Conference proceedings, and editorial contributions to a number of TEL Journals and edited books. Recently I created an account on the Publons.com network that provides the ability to curate and quantify your contributions via reviewing and editing. My Publons stats for the past year place my activity in the 94th percentile of Publons members: https://publons.com/author/1391664/thomas-cochrane#stats



I have implemented and managed over 60 mobile learning projects, and become an active researcher/practitioner in mobile learning. Beginning with initial proof of concept projects through to large-scale national and international projects. My focus across these projects has been to explore the new pedagogical strategies that mobile learning enables, founded upon developing student creativity, networking, and participation in authentic learning communities (Cochrane, 2013a). As a field of educational technology research and practice, mobile learning has matured alongside the rapid development of the capabilities of mobile devices. Widespread adoption of mobile learning via BYOD now seems common place, however as noted by Traxler (2016) the impact of mainstream mobile learning adoption has not gone beyond replicating the LMS on a small screen device via Apps and HTML5 interfaces. In response I blogged about “surviving the mlearning zombie apocalypse” where I argue for a refocus upon the unique affordances of mobile learning that serve as catalysts for augmenting and redefining teaching and learning – in particular exploring the potential of user-generated mobile AR and VR, enabling learner-generated contexts and heutagogy (self-determined learning). See for example (Cook & Santos, 2016), (Cook, Pachler & Bachmair, 2013). I agree with Cook & Santos (20016) that the real impact of mobile learning resides in augmenting educational experiences rather than replicating current practice on small screens. Secondly utilising mobile social media cloud-based platforms democratises education by empowering a wide-range of student-generated learning across almost any discipline context- without students or lecturers first having to become mobile App or Web developers. This does however involve a significant conceptual shift for many students and lecturers on their perceptions of the use of mobile and social media technologies – from social use to educational and professional use.

Two strategies I have developed to model and promote these approaches to mobile learning include the development of the Mosomelt cMOOC and the Ascilite Mobile Learning Special Interest Group. The Mosomelt cMOOC models a connectivist design for professional development that creates a collaborative network of various communities of practice within different discipline contexts that share ideas and experiences around a common domain of interest. I summarised the design and impact of the #mosomelt cMOOC in a 2016 remote conference presentation (Cochrane, Narayan, Burcio-Martin, 2016).

The Ascilite Mobile Learning SIG provides a specialist collaborative network for mobile learning specialists and researchers – effectively creating an incubator and research hub for innovation in teaching and learning enabled by mobile technologies. Activities of the SIG include: a community WordPress blog, a G+ Community discussion forum, a Twitter hashtag (#ascilitemlsig), and curated research publications https://ascilitemlsig.wordpress.com/member-orcid-portfolios/. I have continued to develop the concept of ecologies of resources to support innovation in teaching and learning (Stenhouse, Atkins & Cochrane, 2018), particularly within health education discipline contexts (Cochrane, Cook, et al., 2017; Cochrane, Stretton, et al., 2017).

The danger of developing a specialist area of research and practice is that you can be seen as a ‘one-trick-pony’ or typecast into one specific role. It is therefore important with any area of specialisation that the overlap and implications for other areas of wider impact are made explicit. I believe that there are many potential benefits for mobile learning researchers and practitioners beyond the specific field of mobile learning – for example the overlap between mobile social media use, Altmetrics, and open scholarship, whereby traditional research impact factors can be enhanced via (mobile) social media conversations and drive awareness of innovation in teaching and learning beyond ‘preaching to the choir’ (Selwyn, 2015).


Boyer, E. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: priorities of the professoriate. Princeton, NJ: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Cochrane, T., & Farley, H. (2017). Editorial: Volume 33 Special Issue on Mobile AR & VR Integrating SOTEL in learning design. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology (AJET), 33(6). doi:https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.4132

Cochrane, T., Stretton, T., Aiello, S., Britnell, S., Cook, S., Christie, D., & Narayan, V. (2017, 4-6 December). Developing virtual collaborative health team educational environments. Paper presented at the Me, Us, IT! Proceedings ASCILITE2017: 34th International Conference on Innovation, Practice and Research in the Use of Educational Technologies in Tertiary Education, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia.

Cochrane, T., Cook, S., Aiello, S., Christie, D., Sinfield, D., Steagall, M., & Aguayo, C. (2017). A DBR Framework for Designing Mobile Virtual Reality Learning Environments. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology (AJET), 33(6), 54-68. doi:https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.3613

Cochrane, Thomas, Narayan, Vickel, Antonczak, Laurent, & Burcio-Martin, Victorio. (2016, 19-20 April). Modelling open practices in professional development: Creating a culture of open social scholarship. Paper presented at the OER16: Open Culture, University of Edinburgh, UK.

Cochrane, Thomas, Narayan, Vickel, Burcio-Martin, Victorio, Lees, Amanda, & Diesfeld, Kate. (2015, 29 November – 2 December). Designing an authentic professional development cmooc. Paper presented at the Globally connected, digitally enabled, Proceedings the 32nd Ascilite Conference, Curtin University, Perth.

Cochrane, Thomas, & Antonczak, Laurent. (2015a). Connecting the theory and practice of mobile learning: A framework for creative pedagogies using mobile social media. Media Education, 6(2), 248-269.

Cochrane, Thomas, & Antonczak, Laurent. (2015b). Designing creative learning environments. Interaction Design and Architecture(s) Journal – IxD&A, N.24, 125-144.

Cochrane, Thomas. (2014a). Critical success factors for transforming pedagogy with mobile web 2.0. British Journal of Educational Technology, 45(1), 65-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8535.2012.01384.x

Cochrane, Thomas. (2014, 23-26 June, 2014). Mobile social media as a catalyst for pedagogical change. Paper presented at the World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications, Tampere, Finland.

Cochrane, T., Antonczak, L., Keegan, H. & Narayan, V. 2014. Riding the wave of BYOD: developing a framework for creative pedagogies. Research in Learning Technology, 22.

Cochrane, Thomas. (2013a). A summary and critique of mlearning research and practice. In Z. Berge & L. Muilenburg (Eds.), Handbook of mobile learning (Vol. (Awarded the “2014 Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) Division of Distance Learning (DDL) Distance Education Book Award”), pp. 24-34). New York: Routledge.

Cochrane, Thomas. (2013b). Mlearning as a catalyst for pedagogical change. In Z. Berge & L. Muilenburg (Eds.), Handbook of mobile learning (Vol. (Awarded the “2014 Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) Division of Distance Learning (DDL) Distance Education Book Award”), pp. 247-258). New York: Routledge.

Cochrane, Thomas, Narayan, Vickel, Antonczak, Laurent, & Keegan, Helen. (2013, 1-4 December). Augmenting mobile movie production. Paper presented at the Electric Dreams: 30th ascilite Conference, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia.

Cochrane, Thomas. (2011). Mobilizing learning: Transforming pedagogy with mobile web 2.0. (PHD PhdDoctorate), Monash University, Melbourne. Retrieved from http://arrow.monash.edu.au/hdl/1959.1/483381  (ABN 12 377 614 012)

Cochrane, Thomas. (2009). Using mobile web 2.0 to transform pedagogy and engage learners. Good Practice Publication Grants e-book, (5 November). http://akoaotearoa.ac.nz/ako-hub/good-practice-publication-grants-e-book/resources/pages/using-mobile-web-20-transform-pedago

Cochrane, Thomas. (2008). The educational potential of wireless mobile devices and web2. from http://elg.ac.nz/about-nz-elg/project-history?qt-project_history=2#qt-project_history

Cook, J., Pachler, N., & Bachmair, B. (2013). Using social network sites and mobile technology to scaffold equity of access to cultural resources. In M. Repetto & G. Trentin (Eds.), Using network and mobile technology to bridge formal and informal learning (10 ed., pp. 31-56). Oxford: Chandos Publishing.

Cook, J., & Santos, P. (2016). Three Phases of Mobile Learning State of the Art and Case of Mobile Help Seeking Tool for the Health Care Sector. In D. Churchill, J. Lu, T. K. F. Chiu & B. Fox (Eds.), Mobile Learning Design (pp. 315-333): Springer Singapore.

Cronin, Catherine, Cochrane, Thomas, & Gordon, Averill. (2016). Nurturing global collaboration and networked learning in higher education. Research in Learning Technology, 24. doi: 10.3402/rlt.v24.26497

Frielick, Stanley, Cochrane, Thomas, Aguayo, Claudio, Narayan, Vickel, O’Carrol, Dee, Smith, Nell, . . . Wyse, Pam. (2014, 12 April 2015). Learners and mobile devices (#npf14lmd): A framework for enhanced learning and institutional change. from https://akoaotearoa.ac.nz/learner-mobile-devices

Haynes, D. (2016). Introducing SOTEL. International Journal for the Scholarship of Technology Enhanced Learning, 1(1), 1-2.

Reeves, T. (2015). Educational design research: Signs of progress. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 31(5), 613-620. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.14742/ajet.2902

Stenhouse, D., Atkins, S., & Cochrane, T. (2018, 15th February). NMIT Music Curriculum Redesign. Paper presented at the SoTEL: Scholarship of Technology Enhanced Learning 2018, Auckland University of Technology, Manukau, New Zealand.

Selwyn, Neil. (2015). Technology and education – why it’s crucial to be critical. In S. Bulfin, N. Johnson & C. Bigum (Eds.), Critical perspectives on technology and education. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Traxler, J. 2016. What killed the mobile learning dream? [Online]. Available: https://www.jisc.ac.uk/inform-feature/what-killed-the-mobile-learning-dream-26-feb-2016?