Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Education


Independent study skills are essential for student success in the first year of university. Students often need help to develop independent study skills that will enable them to work effectively individually and collaboratively, particularly outside formal class time. Increases in student numbers and more diverse student population have made it both more important and more challenging for universities to effectively and efficiently support students to develop their independent study skills.

This thesis presents research that addresses this gap through a case study of the design, development, implementation and evaluation of a study skills development program for first year university students delivered using mobile phone technology. Specifically, the program operationalised theoretical concepts from self-regulated learning in the form of learning prompts sent to students by text messages. The purpose of the study was to derive design principles to support the development of independent study skills using mobile phone technology, identify practical implications for teachers and institutions, and highlight avenues for future research and development.

This study demonstrated the potential effectiveness of mobile learning to develop self-regulated learning skills by prompting students with relevant study instructions at various times outside of class. While the results of this research study are encouraging, the approach should be trialled with students from other discipline areas and backgrounds, and include research methods that rely less on student self-reports, such as controlled ability tests and online traces. Longitudinal studies could also investigate the impact of this type of support on attrition, study success after first year, further study and employment.