FrontlineSMS let users send, receive and manage SMS over a mobile network.

Recently I shared some ideas w/Josh & Ken about a potential module for FrontlineSMS that would focus on application in education & training settings. I threw out the name "FrontlineSMS:Learn," inspired by the FrontlineSMS:Medic & FrontlineSMS:Credit monikers. Here is some of the functionality that, based on my experience, I thought might be useful:

Short term:
- Quizzes/Assessments
- Polling w/chart visualization (for real-time use in the classroom)
- Learning reinforcement messages (scheduled or real-time)
- Virtual study groups (think discussion group or bulletin board)
- Event notifications/reminders (exams, holidays, conferences, etc)

Integration w/LMS (e.g. Moodle)

What do folks think? Would this be useful functionality for an education &/or training setting? What would you remove from the list? What would you modify? What would you add?

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Replies to This Discussion

If I understand your concept well - I would love to see something like this.


I'm managing projects in Washington DC - am eager to figure out how to advise folks in country on using Frontline for language training and other training settings, but haven't gotten my fingers in the Frontline SMS pie and am looking for a short orientation/training on SMS functionality...


Any thoughts? 



Hi all,

I am new to FrontlineSMS and this group but found the conversations very inspiring. 

Within the context of FrontlineSMS, I think the focus is not on mobile learning but a subset of it which could be labeled as 'SMS-based learning'. This sub topic is more focusssed and could concentrate on managing the constraints associated with using SMS within the context of supervision and support in a continuing learning enviroment. 

For example, many new graduate front line workers (e.g. health workers) in the Pacific Islands region are thrown into isolated communities without ongoing support and supervision from their instructors.  I am interested in exploring how SMS-based learning and FrontlineSMS could fulfill these very important functions and to minimise the isolation and increase continuing learning while the workers are on their own with very little support in their new environment.

Hi Pak,


Its great to hear about your interest in 'SMS-based learning'. It is certainly a growing area. The use case you suggest - using FrontlineSMS to help support front line workers - is a fantastic example of how SMS can help to support learning. I am currently researching those using FrontlineSMS for learning-related purposes, and this is food for thought!


Could I ask, have you used FrontlineSMS at all in your own work? It would be great to share more ideas with you on the potential of SMS-based learning. Feel free to write back here or email me at if you'd like.


Thanks again for your interest!


All the Best,


Hi Florence,

 Sorry for this late reply, I am in Tonga attending a regional conference.

 I have not used FrontlineSMS yet but have used SMS-based learning in my own teaching via Twitter or Facebook.  FrontlineSMS provides a mechanism that will replace the use of Twitter or Facebook.

The projects I mentioned are in its planning stage.  Do you know of others who have used FrontlineSMS within the context of supporting front line workers? 





Hi Pak,

Thanks for getting back to me. I hope you are enjoying the conference in Tonga. Its great to hear more about your planned use of FrontlineSMS to support learning. There have been a few previous forum posts about connecting FrontlineSMS to Twitter which you may find helpful, for example here and a video here, too.

One example of connecting frontline health workers using FrontlineSMS is the work by Medic Mobile (previously FrontlineSMS:Medic) in Malawi, which you can read more about here. This is not based so much on learning though, and we are certainly looking for more of these kind of use cases so I will let you know if I come across any other relevant examples. Do keep in touch as this project and your own use of FrontlineSMS progresses, and feel free to ask us if you have further questions.

Its great to be in touch! \o/



Pak, this is almost EXACTLY what we did in our USAID-funded Mobiles for Quality Improvement (m4QI) project in Uganda under which we have developed the first version of the FrontlineSMS:Learn plugin. We are awaiting the results of the final review of our project report and are working w/Alex (the lead FrontlineSMS developer) on packaging the software for distribution/installation. Both of these will be available very soon!

Hi James,

This looks very promising and I am happy to be involve in the beta testing phase.  If that phase has already been completed, I like to be an early adopter.





I'm no natural laggard, but wish I stumbled upon this comment earlier-- perhaps the timing was fortuitous as I'm now in the final 6 months of finishing a MSc in Communication for Development . I've been in touch via Facebook and must be following the right sources if I've stumbled upon your recommendations on frontlinesms too. Thanks for the useful (and comprehensive comment.

I think they're all brilliant. I'm especially interested in the top 3. I'm working on becoming more of a techy, but for now I'm driven by the potential technology has to support education. If you message was an attempt to gauge interest, please consider me hooked. What have your learnings been thus far?

Manfred McKenzie (ICT4Ed)


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