Learning on the GO! Developing a Mobile-Friendly e-learning Course
Admit it! Smartphones and other mobile devices have changed the world as we know it. They have changed the way we communicate, remember important events and even the way we work.
Online training is no exception. With the flexibility of anywhere, anytime access, mobile-learning has transitioned from being a desirable approach to a must-have, standard learning approach. However, mobile-learning has a few constraints as well.
So, what are the key aspects that you, as an e-learning course developer must take into account while creating an engaging, mobile-friendly e-learning course? Or can you just use the same e-learning materials and convert them into a mobile-learning course?
Well, there is much more to developing a mobile-friendly e-learning course than just converting the regular e-Learning materials. Here are a few tips for developing a mobile-friendly e-learning course.
Begin from the end
Start with the end in mind. Before you design and develop your mobile-friendly e-learning course, research and choose a technology that is secure and would provide a high-quality experience to your target audience. The next important thing to take into account are the inherent restrictions of a smartphone. These could be slow internet speeds, small screen size and the different operating systems that the phones run on. Spend a considerable time on this exercise as it is one of the most important drivers for the course development.
Screen Space is Precious
The design of any e-learning course has to be clean and neat. More so for a mobile-friendly one. A cluttered design hinders readability and navigation. Use text sparingly to avoid cognitive overload. Be concise and to the point. Always present the information in bite-sized chunks. Include more white spaces. While using images and graphics, size them down to fit the screen. Avoid screen scrolling. Also, for navigation, you can use navigation icons with a drop-down list instead of traditional navigation bars.
Restrict to a single learning objective
The attention span of a learner who signs up for a mobile-Learning course will be short. So, while designing your course, split the complex topics into separate modules in order to grab the learner’s attention. Each module should typically have a single learning objective. Provide links to resources that supplement a concept wherever required. Mobile-learning usually happens in chaotic, distracting environments. Use the technique of repetition to enhance knowledge retention. You can also have assessments at regular intervals.
Create engaging content
Another important thing to consider while designing and developing a mobile-friendly e-learning course is the content itself. Create engaging content. Include activities wherever possible. Remember, you are addressing an audience which is already dealing with a multitude of external inputs. Your course must be capable of capturing your learner’s attention despite all the distractions.
Be mindful of multimedia usage
Even though animations, videos and sound grab learners’ attention and aid the process of learning, they also act as setbacks when it comes to mobile-friendly courses. One of the major hindrances in mobile-learning are bandwidth constraints. With this in mind, optimizing the multimedia elements to make them mobile-friendly becomes very important. Use formats that are compatible across all devices. Most importantly, compress large files and include links to external sites that the learners can access at a later time.
Select an authoring tool that is responsive-design friendly
Lastly, the authoring tool you select must have the right features to support mobile-learning. A responsive design lets you create layouts that adjust to fit the screen automatically. This allows the learners the same experience across devices– be it a smartphone, tablet or PC. If the tool has an option to support e-learning content, the better. It gives the learners a facility to view the e-learning content offline and sync up with any progress/ changes later whenever the learner goes offline.
So, the strategy for developing a mobile-friendly e-learning course varies from the one used for a regular e-learning course. A mobile-friendly course has to be granular, instructionally solid and provide a good cognitive, navigational and graphical user experience.