Last week Learning Seat’s Senior Instructional Designer, John Slattery, and I were lucky enough to attend the iDesignX conference in Sydney. We left the conference armed with strategies to enhance our learning solutions, better meet the business needs of our clients and bring about positive change for learners.
Mobile is where it’s at
It was obvious from iDesignX’s first session that the e-learning industry has picked up on increasing smartphone usage and its implications for bite-sized learning. In fact, research by Google’s Consumer Barometer shows that in Australia, 77% of people use a smartphone to access the internet and 26% of people access the internet through their smartphone more than their computer or tablet.
The only question is how to deliver mobile learning (or m-learning) that delivers learning outcomes. After all, imagine endlessly clicking ‘next’ on a smartphone to see slide after slide of image and text – quelle horreur! For most conference attendees the answer is mobile-first design. It’s about designing experiences that take into account the limitations and opportunities of mobile technology – in other words, mobile learning that’s fit for purpose. Learners want mobile learning that:
– is short, to the point and relevant
– leverages typical user interactions (e.g. scrolling and pinching)
– can be accessed on the go, and when they want it
– offers targeted video and audio.
Video was another hot topic at the conference. Some conference award winners saw video as such a cornerstone of their eLearning solutions that they recruited permanent videographers for their learning teams.
As with mobile, video’s increasing popularity in e-learning reflects current user behaviour on the web. Google’s Consumer Barometer shows that 27% of people watch videos on their smartphone daily, and 30% do so weekly.
There’s a reason cat videos have had over 25 billion views on the internet. Videos are short, engaging and fun – making them perfect for learning. And video – whether deployed through a desktop computer, a tablet or a smartphone – offers experiential learning that cannot be matched by text and images on screen. Plus, with HTML5 and data bandwidths constantly improving, it’s no longer necessary to invest heavily in cutting-edge native apps.
Learners are central
Learner-centred design was another talking point at the conference. In instructional design circles, it’s always meant creating e-learning that engages learners and results in behavioural change. This year, elements of user experience (or UX) design have crept into the discussion.
User experience designers study how users feel when they interact with a system and how well it helps them meet their goals. The first step in doing that is understanding and empathising with the user. One of the tools for achieving this is personas, which prompt the designer to ask, ‘Who am I designing for?’
The teams behind some of the most remarkable eLearning solutions we saw raved about the importance of using personas. It helps them keep the needs of the learning audience firmly in mind throughout the design process and build. At Learning Seat we’ve always understood that designing the best solution comes down to understanding our learners. And personas give us another useful tool to understand their needs, and, ultimately, deliver the performance outcomes our clients want to see.
* * *
If you’d like to know more about how Learning Seat can help your organisation fulfil its training needs in a multi-device world, contact us.