Wallin, M, Kelly, K & McGinley, A 2011, 'Read, listen and learn', research project report, Southern Cross Library.
Learners today exist in an increasingly multimodal environment. Mobile devices provide extra levels of flexibility for such learners, providing them with both auditory as well as visual input– allowing them to learn anytime, anywhere and while doing anything (Cochrane & Bateman, 2010; Herrington, Herrington, & Mantei, 2009; McGarr, 2009; Peters, 2007). Libraries globally are exploring ways to deliver the myriad of quality information resources available to their users – via mobile devices (Coombs, 2008; Lippincott, 2010; McKlernan, 2010; Starkweather & Stowers, 2009). Other studies have focused on the range of library services on offer, and the issues associated with such services (Aldrich, 2010; Walsh, 2010; Wilson & McCarthy, 2010). Traditionally, academic libraries have provided access to predominantly text-based materials. However, as Eisenwine and Hadley (2011, 5) state, ‘the digital generation prefers parallel processing and multitasking as a way of digesting information. In addition, that generation prefers pictures, sounds and video over text’. This need to support varying learning styles provided the impetus for exploring audio-based alternatives to the academic literature. In particular, this project sought to identify the preferences of the ‘mobile’ SCU community in relation to accessing quality academic literature (in particular, journal articles).