Epistemological Trends in the Literature on Mobile Devices, Mobile Learning, and Learners with Visual Impairments

Simon Hayhoe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (SciVal)
255 Downloads (Pure)


This study is significant because learning with mobile devices is increasing as a method of educating and training learners with visual impairments, but evaluation of its method is rare. In addition, the epistemological model used in this study is designed to improve future research designs. This article reviews the literature on the use of mobile devices by learners with visual impairments in a variety of learning environments. The study's three objectives are to pursue avenues of research in m-learning and visual impairment, stimulate debate on the nature and role of mobile technologies in the education of learners with visual impairments, and develop a debate on the best use of technologies in m-learning. The study uses an epistemological model of visual impairment as an instrument to critically analyze different ontologies and paradigms of research. The epistemological model is also analyzed as an analytical instrument. The study identifies three academic paradigms in this field: (1) conceptual, (2) design and user testing, (3) m-learning in situ. The study also finds these three paradigms ontologize visual impairment in different ways, meaning that there is little cohesion in research and practice. The study finds that research on the development and use of technologies by learners with visual impairments is restricted by a lack of cohesion in theory and practice. This lack of cohesion is thought to be largely due to the immature nature of this topic as a field of study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)889-897
Number of pages9
JournalOptometry and Vision Science
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018


  • visual impairment
  • mobile technology
  • M-learning
  • mobile learning
  • Tablets
  • iPad
  • systematic review
  • grounded theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Optometry


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