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ABSTRACT

Education is a vital ingredient for a sustainable economy where “knowledge is power”. M- learning initiatives can lessen the digital divide in education and promote a knowledge-based economy. The high saturation of mobile technology has made it imperative to have mobile applications that provide solutions in many aspects of the economy, including education. Smartphones/tablets have gradually become widely adopted mobile learning devices. In Science and Engineering, Automata Theory is a core subject that is abstract and mathematical in nature, which makes it difficult to teach and learn by educators and students respectively. This research is focused on the development of a Smart Multimedia Learning System (SMLS) that provides a multi-sensory learning experience for Automata Theory. The system provides a Finite State Automata (FSA) simulator, a real-time assessment and feedback mechanism for performance tracking. Moreover, SMLS has an integrated text-chat to support active and collaborative learning.
Keywords: learning, mobile learning, e-learning, multimedia, Android, automata, mobile, simulator, collaborative, active, Learning Management System, social media, interactive system, iterative development, FSA simulator, chat, real-time assessment, education, knowledge, quiz, video tutorial.

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CERTIFICATION ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… ii
ABSTRACT ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. v
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ……………………………………………………………………………………………. vi
DEDICATION ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. vii
LIST OF FIGURES……………………………………………………………………………………………………… x
ABBREVIATIONS ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… xii
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION ……………………………………………………………………………. 1
1.1 Background of the Study……………………………………………………………………. 1
1.2 Problem Definition ……………………………………………………………………………… ……… 2
1.3 Aim and Objectives ……………………………………………………………………………. ……… 2
1.4 Technology and Tools…… ………………………………………………………………….. ………..3
1.5 Significance of the Thesis ……………………………………………………………………. ……….3
CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW …………………………………………………………………… 4
2.1 Introduction ………………………………………………………………………………………. ………. 4
2.2 Concept of Multimedia Technology ………………………………………………………. ………. 4
2.3 Concept of E-Learning ……………………………………………………………………….. ………. 5
2.3.1 Benefits of E-Learning ………………………………………………………………………………. 6
2.3.2 Drawbacks of E-Learning …………………………………………………………………………… 6
2.3.3 Best Practices for Facilitating E-Learning ……………………………………………………… 7
2.4 Learning Community ………………………………………………………………………….. ………. 7
2.5 Learning Management Systems …………………………………………………………… ………. 7
2.5.1 Motivational Activities ………………………………………………………………………………… 8
2.6 Optimization of Vast Online Resources …………………………………………………. ………. 8
2.7 Concept of M-Learning ……………………………………………………………………….. ……… .8
2.7.1 Impact of Mobile Technology on Education …………………………………………………… 9
2.7.2 Efficient Learning ……………………………………………………………………………………… 9
2.7.3 Active and Collaborative Learning……………………………………………………………….. 9
2.7.4 Real-time Assessment …………………………………………………………………………….. 10
2.7.5 Learning through Social Networks …………………………………………………………….. 10
2.8 Personalised Learning ……………………………………………………………………… ……….10
2.9 Bridging the Digital Divide in Learning …………………………………………………. ……….10
2.10 Critical Success Factors in M-Learning ……………………………………………….. ……….11
2.11 Challenges of M-Learning …………………………………………………………………. ……… 12
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CHAPTER THREE RESEARCH METHODOLOGY ………………………………………………………. 13
3.1 Introduction …………………………………………………………………………………….. ……… 13
3.2 Iterative Model SDLC ……………………………………………………………………….. ……… 13
3.3 Requirements Identification ……………………………………………………………….. ……… 14
3.4 Software Design ………………………………………………………………………………. ……… 15
3.5 Software Implementation …………………………………………………………………… ……… 15
3.6 Software Testing ……………………………………………………………………………… ……… 16
3.6.1 Correctness Testing ………………………………………………………………………………… 16
3.6.2 Reliability Testing ……………………………………………………………………………………. 16
3.7 Software Integration …………………………………………………………………………. ……….16
3.8 Software Release …………………………………………………………………………….. ……… 17
CHAPTER FOUR SYSTEM DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT AND TESTING …………………………. 18
4.1 System Specifications ………………………………………………………………………. ……….18
4.2 System Design ………………………………………………………………………………… ……… 18
4.3 System Implementation and Testing …………………………………………………… ……… 19
4.3.1 Home Screen …………………………………………………………………………………………. 20
4.3.2 Navigation Links …………………………………………………………………………………….. 21
4.3.3 Customisable Application UI …………………………………………………………………….. 21
4.3.4 Multimedia Interactive Learning Feature …………………………………………………….. 22
4.3.5 Real-Time Assessment Feature ………………………………………………………………… 25
4.3.6 Chat Activity Feature ……………………………………………………………………………….. 28
4.3.7 Automata Simulator ………………………………………………………………………………… 30
4.3.8 Typical Scenario …………………………………………………………………………………….. 34
CHAPTER FIVE EVALUATION, RECOMMENDATION AND CONCLUSION …………………. 35
5.1 System Evaluation ……………………………………………………………………………. ……….35
5.2 Ease of Use…………………………………………………………………………………….. ……….36
5.3 Multimedia Content Interactivity ………………………………………………………….. .………36
5.4 Real-time Assessment Activity …………………………………………………………… ……….37
5.5 Collaborative Learning Evaluation ………………………………………………………. ……….37
5.6 Automata Simulator Users Experience ………………………………………………… ……….38
5.7 Motivation ……………………………………………………………………………………….. ……….38
5.8 Recommendations …………………………………………………………………………… ……….40
5.9 Conclusion ……………………………………………………………………………………… ……….40
REFERENCES ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 41

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION
Advancement in Technology has played a vital role in improving and evolving every facet of human living. The learning environment is not an exception, considering the improvement in the quality of educational content delivery; knowledge representations; overcoming time and distance constraints (Hamada, 2013); cost-effectiveness of e-learning; ease of learning; convenience of learning at individual pace; stimulating individual interests and intellectual curiosities (Hamada, 2013); and enhancing cognitive skills.
1.1 Background of the Study
Mobile learning and e-learning are current research topics in learning and education, and are vital ingredients for a sustainable economy. Education encompasses teaching, learning and training both formally and informally to empower people; in order to develop knowledge and skills for solving problems in the society. As the statement goes “Knowledge is power”; this is seen in the global economy shifting towards a knowledge-based economy, which depends more on intellectual capital than on natural resources for socio-economic development and global competitiveness (Powell & Snellman, 2004). Advanced technological skills and tools are products and services of a knowledge-based economy; hence, the need to develop educational aids or tools, that promote effective learning, cannot be over-emphasized.
The increasing global popularity of mobile devices provides the possibility of mobile learning and an increase in social interaction. Furthermore, as a result of the high saturation of smartphones and tablets, teaching and learning paradigms have experienced a significant shift (Hamada, 2013). Smartphones and tablets have gradually become widely adopted mobile learning devices, which could affect the adoption of sensing technologies (Hwang & Wu, 2014) for smart-active learning. A conventional teaching approach should be supported by the motivation to learn, as well as the individual’s natural interest (McDevitt & Ormrod,
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2013). Mobile learning is the integration of multimedia and mobile communication technology for delivering educational contents to facilitate learning, and promote active and collaborative learning among, but not limited to, students and workers. Mobile learning helps to improve students’ learning achievements, motivations and interests (Hwang & Wu, 2014). This research centres on building a mobile learning system for one of the fundamental topics in Computer Science, that is: “Automata Theory”.
1.2 Problem Definition
Automata theory is a fundamental area of study in Computer Science and Engineering disciplines. It represents the logic of computation with which scientists and engineers are able to understand how machines compute functions and solve problems (Aziz, Cackler & Yung, 2004). As a result of its abstract and mathematical nature, it is difficult for educators to teach and for students to understand the concepts. According to Hamada (2008), engineering students prefer active and sensing learning styles. Furthermore, research has shown that people tend to remember 20% of what they see, 40% of what they see and hear, and about 75% of what they see, hear and do simultaneously (Neo & Neo, 2001). Hence, this research focuses on a Smart Multimedia Learning System (SMLS) for Automata Theory, deployable on mobile devices (predominately Android phones and tablets).
1.3 Aim and Objectives
This research adopts Smart Multimedia Learning System (SMLS) for Automata Theory for smart-interactive learning, with the aid of integrated interactive multimedia capabilities. The objectives are stated in measurable terms as follow:
 A multi-sensory learning experience for Automata Theory.
 System supports active and collaborative learning.
 System Implementation of a Finite State Automata (FSA) simulator.
 Educators can use the system to prepare quizzes and to track students’ progress.
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1.4 Technology and Tools
 Integrated Development Environment (IDE): Android Studio 2.3.3, an official IDE for developing applications exclusively for Android platform. It consists of an editor, Android SDK, debugging tools, compiler, emulator etc.
 Programming Language: Java provides the back-end engine of the mobile application. It is the core language in which Android applications are written.
 eXtensible Markup Language: XML is used to define the structures of the application’s user interface.
 Cloud services such as YouTube and Firebase: YouTube provides access to a wealth of multimedia resources e.g. online videos. Firebase is a cross-platform solution that can store and share data between different users in real-time, as well as authenticate and authorize such users.
 Personal Computer: a laptop that provides the essential hardware and software specifications for the actual development.
 Android Device: an Android powered phone or tablet for instrumental testing and deployment.
1.5 Significance of the Thesis
Based on research findings, automata simulators for FSA, Turing machine (desktop applications) are available. However, there is a need for a mobile learning system that provides more interactivity and smart-active learning for Automata Theory. This is a significant contribution since Android-based smartphones and tablets are affordable and widely used by students worldwide.
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