Context-dependent learning systems are now becoming more common in museums, as most students are equipped with mobile devices. As there has been little research into context-aware mobile applications in museums, the present study aims to investigate ubiquitous language learning in socio-cultural contexts, as well as recent trends in using location-based systems. Therefore, the following three issues are reviewed in related articles published between 2009 and 2014: system usefulness, activity usefulness and activity playfulness in museum learning. The researchers used keywords to search for relevant articles from the ISI (Institute for Scientific Information) Web of Science and other databases. The abstracts and content of the searched articles were then analyzed. The results show that the location-aware features (GPS or Google App-based) embedded in mobile phones, adaptive language learning and socio-cultural interaction in museums are intertwined in the literature. The literature also shows that in recent years students have transformed from being passive receivers to active learners. Specifically, students tended to rely on system guidance in 2009–2011, and activities were more focused on individual learning with less real-life social interaction, and this thus reduced the level of playfulness. An important finding in the literature from 2012 to 14 is that many museums adopted ubiquitous location-based systems using mobile devices, which help to strengthen social ties when students work collaboratively to perform language learning activities. This has also allowed museums to evolve from mobile-learning to ubiquitous-learning environments, in various socio-cultural contexts. The results of this review study have implications for language teachers and museum educators, to help them implement appropriate ubiquitous learning systems in various socio-cultural contexts.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes