More people have access to Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS, a.k.a. mobile picture messaging) than to the Internet, but mobile education markets have yet to adopt MMS as a content delivery mechanism. This paper investigates the role of carrier interoperability as an enabler of MMS in mobile multimedia distance learning. Using instructor reuse of content and learner access to content as feasibility criteria, we empirically evaluate the performance, user adoption, and commercial market of MMS-based mobile education. This study deployed a value-added service that broadcasts videos via MMS to cell phones, and conducted a 9-month public education campaign with weekly broadcasts on breast cancer. We selected a video format and markup language that is compatible with domestic carriers and cell phones, and supports existing educational material. To contrast behaviors between participants with and without access to the Internet, we offered participants the same content via MMS, email and the Web. 277 participants enrolled in the campaign; 120 opted to receive the videos via mobile messaging, and 157 had Internet access and opted to receive videos via email or the Web. Campaign analytics reveal that all participants without Internet access successfully received the MMS video broadcasts, and significantly, one-third of participants with Internet access opted to receive the videos via MMS as well. We conclude with a discussion of why participants with Internet access may have chosen MMS over Internet-based alternatives. We also estimate the size of the market for MMS-based mobile education, and distinguish it from the person-to-person messaging market. This research is beneficial to educators targeting diverse demographics and education disparities, and to mobile commerce economists evaluating emerging markets.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
- Human-Computer Interaction
- Digital divide
- Mobile learning
- Multimedia Messaging Service
- Multimedia learning