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The Viability of Mobile SMS Technologies for Non-formal Distance Learning in Asia

The Viability of Mobile SMS Technologies for Non-formal Distance Learning in Asia

Participating Institutions:

  • Molave Development Foundation, Inc., Philippines
  • Health Sciences University of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar
  • ESP Foundation, Ulaanbaatar
  • University of the Philippines Open University

Research Team:

  • Dr. Angelo Juan Ramos, Molave Foundation ( project leader )
  • Dr. Amarsaikhan Dashtseren, HSUM
  • Dr. David Lambert, ESP Foundation
  • Professor Felix Librero, Chancellor, UPOU


Project Overview:

The objectives of this project were to test the feasibility and acceptability of using short message system (SMS) technologies for delivering non-formal distance learning (DL) to different socio-economic, cultural and gender groups; and to determine the motivation of users for distance learning purposes.



The outputs includes SMS Learning Packs - courseware in SMS format and other ancillary materials (i.e. booklets, cassettes, CD-ROMs, etc.) - on different subjects and topics identified as learning needs of different groups; an SMS server in each partner country (i.e. Philippine and Mongolia) to handle student registration, storage, and deployment of the educational materials, trained personnel on SMS-enabled technologies, a set of standardized assessment tools and forms for use by partner countries, shared online educational materials, research tools/ methodologies for use by project partners, publications, and a set of suggestions for policy guidelines and standards for the use of the SMS platform in DL.


The Philippines is a world leader in the use of mobile and short message systems technology, and Mongolia is a leader in the development of high-compression methods techniques facilitating these technologies in rural areas. This project, a collaboration between specialists in these two countries, explored the innovative possibilities of mobile SMS technologies in community development contexts, and provided a bridge between these non-formal uses of the media and those of the formal DL situation. The cross-fertilization of these two fields represents a valuable contribution to the international literature of DL, in demonstrating that efficient DL evolves from a strong community understanding of the DL media's potential.

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