Whilst some of the e-books have been developed and applied to e-learning, there is still a lack of applications on a large scale which may because there is a gap between the requirements of users and the current state of the technologies, in other words the e-books need to be improved to better suit the users’ needs (Bennett, et al., 2008). We are motivated to explore how to enhance the existing e-books to be more effective, which can support users personalized, anytime and everywhere learning. We call this personalized open ubiquitous learning. We carried out a pilot study on three distance learning courses. The study results show that whilst users find the e-books are useful to support their learning, they require a more effective learning technology, which can combine any media, provide all learning related functions, have good interactivity, be applied to multiple devices and be used with or without internet. For example, a new type of e-book is needed for the open ubiquitous learning, which contains interactive multimedia content and provides all assisting learning functions (e.g. commenting, note taking, searching, recommendation, bookmark and book summary, etc.), can be upgraded dynamically and operated on all devices (Meurant, 2010) and used on-line and off-line. We would like to call this type of enhanced e-book “digital books”.
The digital books have been designed and developed for the three experimental courses based on the findings from the pilot study and literature review. Our next steps are: to apply the digital books to teaching and learning, to evaluate the digital books with more user studies, in order to provide more appropriate, better in quality, more convenient and flexible learning materials which are accessible at every time and place for learners.
Piret, L. and Jaan, M. (2008). What is important in electronic textbooks for students of different achievement levels? Computers & Education, 50, 1483–1494.
Bennett, S., Maton, K. and Kerfin, L. (2008). The “digital natives” debate: a critical review of the evidence. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(5), 775–786.
Meurant, R. C. (2010). The iPad and EFL digital literacy. Multimedia, Computer Graphics and Broadcasting, 123, 224–234.