This article presents a multiple case study carried out when mobile learning (mLearning) was first introduced to 3.000 freshmen of two university campuses in Mexico. The objective was to analyze mLearning resources in four courses to identify how they help develop cognitive skills in students. Focus group interviews, surveys, document analysis and non-intrusive observation were used. The data was analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively in order to link the results and the theoretical information within the two variables that guided this study: mLearning and cognitive abilities. The results show that by using mLearning resources it changes the learning environment by converting any setting into a collaborative and innovative environment. Results also show that the design of mLearning resources must be based on educational theories and strategies to be effective, and also the nature of the subject and resource type are related to the developed cognitive abilities. Also it was found that although students are not aware of it, mLearning resources and the use of mobile devices assists them in developing strategies that promote cognitive skills such as problem solving, decision making, critical thinking, creative thinking and melioration.