During a pilot study conducted during the Fall semester of 2009 at Abilene Christian University (ACU), students in an introductory Statistics class were given a new iPhone application to supplement the instructor's lectures, and to use for studying and test preparation — and the app had an impact.

This application, called Statistics I, is based on a rich Mobile Learning Platform that includes lessons, touch-screen simulations, calculators, decision making tools, quizzes, flashcards, formulas and a glossary.

The results of the study show that a Mobile Learning Platform used in conjunction with classroom lectures increases engagement and academic performance. Out of the 36 students in the class, virtually all students reported a heightened motivation to study because of the mobility and convenience of having quick access to information on their iPhone. More than two-thirds of the class reported that they developed a better understanding of statistics as a result of using the app. The majority of students even reported having consistent study patterns throughout the semester — using the app to study lecture notes, testing their knowledge by taking quizzes or flipping through flashcards and referencing the glossary or formula list.

The effectiveness of Statistics I stems from a research-based approach to development of educational technology by GetYa Learn On (GYLO), an educational software company that created the Statistics I app.

"Smartphones and other touchscreen devices have fundamentally changed connectedness as we know it today," said Priya Nihalani, M.A., Director of Research for GYLO, who also led the study. "They've simply become ubiquitous – even on college campuses."

ACU and GYLO continue to pilot test and gather data on students' learning, motivation, and behavioral patterns of app usage.