Mobile eLearning – Different Not Better
Today most people have a mobile device which on the face of it appears an ideal and convenient route to deliver online training. However, there are issues with delivering content this way so here is a number of things to consider.
Firstly, mobile screen real estate is still very limiting, despite the super sizing of many new offerings. Content that flows and is engaging on a desktop may not function correctly when viewed in miniature. Elearning designers don’t neglect mobile users when designing their courses, it’s just that mobile browser technology tends to lag behind that of desktops. At best this can cause minor glitches, at worse it creates a frustrating experience which result in learners abandoning the whole course.
Secondly, beautifully designed and engaging content on desktops doesn’t always translate seamlessly. This means topics may need to be delivered in a more simplistic fashion which are then devoid of the highly interactive elements. Flipping image cards, rollover hotspots and other modern techniques are either not supported or just don’t work on a mobile device. Equally navigation buttons, play and pause facilities can also become obscured or inaccessible due to their size reduction. Remember that there are pretty much no agreed screen size standards within the mobile market. No single manufacture even commits to a certain screen size or resolution so designing for the entire market is next to impossible.
One of the other key design differences comes down to the length of course which works for a mobile. This isn’t necessary any limitation of the screen size but the environmental surroundings of the user. Desktop learning, in most cases, provides a controlled professional environment which is comfortable and conducive to concentration. A course undertaken on mobile has no such guarantees. Therefore, as a minimum short snappy content works best due to learners being prone to distraction from competing influences. We would recommend always displaying the course completion time alongside any content, but this is of primary importance when considering the needs of a mobile user.
When learning topics need to reach the maximum audience size and be digested in a short time frame then mobiles are ideal. A short reminder video with key information prior to a presentation or meeting is ideally suited to delivery by mobile. This sort of learning is often referred to as performance support, learning provided to support an immediate need on the ground.
So hopefully you can see that learning accessed via mobile can offer increased flexibility for learners to engage anywhere but be warned it does have limitations. Will the learning be completed on multiple devices? Well if it does, designers must cater for consumption across all such devices.. Ensuring that courses are created to exploit the opportunities and potential limitations of both.
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Original Article by Cortexa