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  4. MASELTOV - Mobile Assistance for Social Inclusion and Empowerment of Immigrants with Persuasive Learning Technologies and Social Network Services

MASELTOV - Mobile Assistance for Social Inclusion and Empowerment of Immigrants with Persuasive Learning Technologies and Social Network Services

Project website:

What research questions the project addresses, aims & themes

MASELTOV recognises the major risks for social exclusion of immigrants from the European information society and identifies the huge potential of mobile services for promoting integration and cultural diversity in Europe. Mobile - anywhere/anytime - persuasive assistance is crucial for more efficient and sustainable support of immigrants. MASELTOV researches and develops novel ICT instruments in an interdisciplinary consortium with the key aim of facilitating and fostering local community building, raising consciousness and knowledge required for bridging cultural differences.

This will be achieved through the development of innovative social computing services that motivate and support informal learning for the appropriation of highly relevant daily skills. A mobile assistant embeds these novel services that address activities towards the social inclusion of immigrants in a persuasive and most intuitive way.  This is highlighted in MASELTOV with a representative application of most essential / beneficial information and learning services - such as ubiquitous language translation, navigation, administrative and emergency health services.

MASELTOV researches and develops enabling technologies with the industrial potential to easily exploit and scale up the prototypical user shares within existing successful services with worldwide user coverage. The project with its scientifically, technically and socially relevant results will facilitate a massive social impact by increasing the cooperation and more successful integration of millions of (im)migrants living together with hundreds of millions European citizens in the future.

See slides of Supporting integration through incidental learning

How the research questions are addressed by the project (methodology and activity/environment)

Ten Work Packages involving selected partners will address the research questions.

  • Project Management (WP1)
  • User Requirements and Interaction Design (WP2)
  • System Specification and Integration (WP3)
  • Multisensory Context Awareness (WP4)
  • Personalisation and Recommendation (WP5)
  • Mobile Assistance and Information Services (WP6)
  • Persuasive Learning Services (WP7)
  • Community Building Services (WP8)
  • Field Trials and Evaluation (WP9)
  • Dissemination and Exploitation (WP10)

The Institute of Educational Technology (OU) is leading on WP 7 and also contributing to WP1, WP3, WP8 and WP10. The objectives of WP7 are:

  1. To increase immigrants' ability to function in an unfamiliar society by facilitating communication and learning, and by structuring technological supports according to user needs.
  2. To change in a positive way immigrants' attitudes and behaviours through technology-mediated persuasion and social networking influence.
  3. To take advantage of situation and context to capture user motivation and extend immediate assistance into more structured learning, game-playing, and interaction with other immigrants and the wider community.

Testing the MASELTOV App (MApp) in Milton Keynes

In early 2015 the MASELTOV project team ran a 3 week field trial of the MApp prototype in Milton Keynes.  The main focus of this research was to understand how the MApp supports immigrants to improve their English language learning and to develop their understanding of the UK’s cultural context.   17 Spanish speaking participants with a low level of English, who have immigrated to the EU and are now living in Milton Keynes, took part in the trial.  An initial workshop, delivered in Spanish, was held so that participants could familiarise themselves with an Android smartphone and the MApp functionality, and to build a community of learners before using the MApp in their everyday lives.  Data were gathered via several research methods including pre-trial and weekly questionnaires, logs showing what apps were used (and where and when), social forum postings and post-trial interviews.


Early findings demonstrate that participants valued the well-designed language lessons and feedback from the interviews show the benefits of language learning via the MApp, for example: “It is practical, you don’t have to find a place, you can just take the phone out…it’s permanently there”, “I like the tests where you could see if you learnt it or not so if I had made mistakes, I could see my errors and go back and read it again” and “if I want to find a job or ...need to open a bank account…really useful for people recently arrived”.   The forum was used extensively by many participants and was an important tool in helping to create a sense of community of learners.  This was moderated by a Spanish speaking facilitator who encouraged interactivity.  The following comment exemplifies several comments made about the forum in the interviews: “If you have a can share it with the other members, chat or write questions you don’t understand”.  Weekly usage data of the MApp tools is available, and together with the other rich data sources will allow the team to show where and when interactions happened.

See the MASELTOV blog for further information

Findings and outputs

Reports on all the Work Package deliverables (available to date) can be found here:

Project impact

The impact of the project will not be available until after its completion date.


Members of the OU project team have written and/or contributed to an extensive list of publications.  A publication list can be found on the project website here:


Mobile learning, immigrants, social network services

People involved

  • Professor Agnes Kukulska-Hulme
  • Professor Eileen Scanlon
  • Dr. Ann Jones
  • Dr Mark Gaved
  • Andrew Brasher
  • Jan Jones
  • Lucy Norris

For further information

Please contact Professor Agnes Kukulska-Hulme (

Project partners and links

Joanneum Research Forschungsgesellschaft MBH, Austria:

CURE - Centre for Usability Research & Engineering, Austria:

Athens Information Technology, Greece:

Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain:

Open University, UK:

Coventry University, UK:

Czech Technical University, Czech Republic:

University of Applied Sciences, FH Joanneum, Austria:

Telecom Italia SpA, Italy:

Fluidtime Data Service GmbH, Austria:

Pearson Publishing Limited – language learning, UK:

Fundacian Desarrollo Sostenido, Spain:

Verein Danaida, Austria:

Migrants Resource Centre, UK.:


Funded in part by the European Commission, eInclusion.

Start Date and duration

1 January 2012 - 31 March 2015

Research & Innovation