While eLearning developers struggle to produce quality eLearning programs, the learners at large are anticipating mobile-friendly outputs. After all, the advantages for mobile learning for the users are acknowledged by most, if not all, eLearning providers around the world. Have you ever tried to consider mobile-compatible design for your eLearning courses?
Regardless of your retrospection, we have some awesome news for you. Anyone can create mobile learning programs, provided they incorporate these mobile learning design strategies that will facilitate the learning process for the trainees.
Have you ever tried to work on those MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) using your smartphone? Most of the time, these online courses are video-heavy. The videos are short and punchy and have a layer of interactivity. They could ask you to pause and answer a few check point questions. If you get the answers right, you can move ahead. If not, you see a message requesting you to revise before continuing. Now this sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Notice how screen real estate is managed when experiencing the same course through a tablet. You have more areas to interact on a larger screen. And of course, things are much more comfortable on a laptop. If you can appreciate the display and the interface design of the same course on a different device, you can understand the design considerations needed for mobile learning.
Mobile learning (mLearning) is gaining world-wide popularity. This is mainly due to the availability of cheaper mobile data and greater network coverage provided by mobile service providers. Providing a comfortable user experience regardless of the screen size is a challenge, and having the right mLearning design should not be considered as a non-mandatory part of your mLearning strategy anymore, but as an integral part of your overall eLearning strategy.
Let’s discover how you can enhance your mobile learning design for your next course.
Screen size is the main challenge in mobile learning design. Ever tried to squeeze complex information in a screen that is taller than it is wide? Careful planning is required when you want to create a responsive eLearning program with mLearning design in mind.
Consider these eight strategies when creating mobile learning courses for your learners:
1) Present only the main material in the mobile platform: Stick closer to your learning objectives in your mobile learning programs. Instructional design for mobile learning should be adjusted accordingly, so to compensate for any missing information, provide opportunities for learners to ask questions.
2) Use space for context-specific content only: Avoid adding unnecessary banners, IDs, buttons, legal writings, copyright notices and logos in your mobile courses’ content. Include a “more” button that leads to this kind of surplus information.
3) Place the secondary content at the bottom of the page: Mobile real-estate is of utmost importance when creating mobile-friendly courses. Place navigation controls, program usage information and other legal information at the bottom of the screen to avoid distractions from the learning content.
4) Crop and compress content to display: Simplify and crop graphics to reduce their dimensions. Edit text and summarize more. Replace a large graphic with image maps. Have learners touch different parts of the graphic to visualize related content and graphics. This will definitely make your mLearning design pop!
5) Link brief version with detailed versions: Thumbnails are your best friends when designing mobile-friendly programs. Use them to access larger images and complete texts.
6) Test, test, test before launching: Do not launch your program until you have tested the behavior of your content using different devices for testing. Make sure your content is displayed well in the smallest or the narrowest of screens.
7) Flexibility in layout design: Always make sure that your design is responsive – meaning that it adjusts well to different screen sizes, in accordance with the mLearning design prerequisites. You need to make sure that your output is HTML5 compatible.
8) Design a single-column flow: Avoid adding sidebar articles or tables of content that display in a separate column to the left or right of the main content.
Designing for the devices your learners already have is a smart design strategy. Mobile devices are personal devices, thus they are also probably the devices your users prefer. A part of your learner analysis should involve determining their most frequently used devices.
Also, determine whether they use Android or iOS devices. The design you come up with for an Android eLearning program could be a disaster for an iPhone. Make sure you provide alternative routes to accessing your material. The last thing you want is an unsatisfied learner!
Mobile learning is not something new. Ever since mobile devices have become smart and loaded with apps, learners are looking at options to access the content using mobile devices. eLearning developers will need to respond to this rising demand for mobile-friendly eLearning programs, paying extra attention to their mLearning strategy and design.
We hope these eight mobile learning design tips will help your mobile learning design and create learner-centered eLearning programs.