In this chapter, we trace the design and enactment of two mobile learning trails, which were designed to provide seamless learning experiences where students could apply and build knowledge across varying contexts, content, and situations. Employing design-based research as a methodological tool, we conducted a retrospective analysis to unpack critical design elements that could possibly determine the effectiveness of a mobile learning trail, which was defined as a series of learning activities in and out of school mediated by mobile devices and applications. The retrospective analysis revealed three design elements that appeared to influence and shape the impact of mobile learning activities on the learning process and outcomes. First, putting in place a pre-and post-trail phase is imperative to establish a learning continuum linking classroom and outdoor learning contexts. A central task in design process is to support a seamless flow of learning across contexts, which requires a tight coupling of understanding main learning content, determining meaningful learning contexts, and facilitating continuity in the whole learning process. Second, the design of mobile learning ought to see an effective combination of both designed and user-generated activities, which encapsulates both macro-level external goals and micro-level situational goals pertaining to the specific outdoor setting. The former serves as a preconditioning measure to reduce novelty space, and the latter affords an unstructured learning space where students can leverage on the rich physical affordances to pursue their own inquiries. Third, it is imperative to provide “common grounds” to foster and to sustain collaborative knowledge
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© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2015.