As technology continues to advance and new devices are created, the way you consume content changes. Smartphones and tablets are two of the devices that have changed the way we interact with content. Learning from videos used to be something you had to do when you had access to a computer. But now, thanks to mobile learning, you and your workforce can learn on-the-go.
This education goes beyond learning how to cook a dish for dinner or how to fix your car. You can learn skills that allow you to advance in your career, or be compliant in the workplace. Courses that were once reserved for long training sessions in a room or at your desk can now be taken anywhere, anytime.
Sound strange? It’s actually normal. Mobile devices are now common enough that there’s 1 smartphone for every 4.5 people. Approximately 67% of people are using their smartphones to learn. Businesses are recognising this trend as well, with 47% of businesses using mobile devices in their training programs. So, it’s a good time to start creating mobile-friendly courses for your organisation.
Learning on mobile devices provides businesses with the opportunity to utilise a powerful platform. We know that people are more inclined to access their learning in idle moments, like waiting for the train, or on their daily commute to and from work. And it’s in these moments that they’ll be more likely to retain the information they absorb in their long-term memory.
People are also more likely to want to learn if they’re in the driving seat. Mobile learning gives them the opportunity to do just that – they’re encouraged to take an active role in their learning. By putting them at the centre of the learning process, they’re in a better position to engage with the content, and to develop their own learning habits that will keep them motivated to complete their courses.
Because mobile devices don’t have the screen dimensions to display all the information that a desktop device can, responsive design was created to allow designers to build their content to be displayed on smaller screens. Responsive design is versatile, in that you can lay out webpages and content differently for mobile, but still see all the content you would on a larger device.
The catch? Designing a course with responsive design can be tricky if you’re used to designing a course for desktop devices. So, here’s five tips to make sure your course can still be seen and accessed on-the-go.
#1. Define Your Training Goals
Does your course even need to be mobile-friendly? It may be the trend for people to learn on mobile devices, but making a course mobile-friendly just for that reason may not be appropriate for your training needs. Not all content is suited for mobile learning courses; there needs to be a reason to make it mobile-friendly. Before you start designing a course, you need to determine whether it’s supplementing existing training, or designed for practical uses.
#2. Think About Your Audience
Although you might see the occasional laptop across someone’s lap on the tram or the train, it’s far more likely that the majority of the people around you will have their eyes glued to their phones. That’s because unlike other smart devices, a mobile phone can be carried around anywhere.
This gives the user greater control over how, when and what they access on-the-go. So, think about your staff. Is it viable to take advantage of this ingrained habit and get on board with mobile learning?
#3. Build A Variety Of Content
At the end of the day, why shouldn’t learning be fun? Just because you have a smaller screen doesn’t mean you can only use text. Images, videos and interactive quizzes are just a few ways to make mobile learning engaging.
People are already used to playing games and being rewarded, working toward goals, collecting badges and levelling up in a variety of apps they use everyday. Throw in a bit of gamification. When learning is presented as a game, people learn skills embedded in the tasks, becoming engaged and motivated to reach a goal, sometimes without realising that they’re learning.
#4. Focus On Accessibility
Being able to navigate through a course is important, but even more so for a mobile course. You have less space for menu icons, and you don’t have a mouse to make precise selections – accidentally selecting a function on a touch-sensitive screen can also create problems. It should be easy for learners to move to sections to revisit content or pick up where they left off. Learners need to be able to select icons properly, so design menus that don’t take up too much space and text that indicates how to progress.
You also need to consider whether you want users to scroll, swipe or select. Be consistent in your interactions. Is it visually accessible? Here’s a tool to help you check the contrast. And does it meet accessibility standards (AC)? Use this tool to check it out.
#5. Focus On The Key Takeaways
Remember, you don’t have the full processing power of a desktop device on a mobile device. So, if you’ve decided to head down the mobile-friendly path, try to approach the course build from a mobile-first perspective. Keep in mind that users might also be expecting shorter seat times for on-the-go courses. Focus on what’s important to the learner. And importantly, what’s the key message you want them to take away after completing your mobile course?
Mobile Learning Courses Need A Plan
The trend for mobile learning isn’t stopping anytime soon. However, jumping into mobile course design just to take advantage of that trend can be counterproductive. Mobile course design should be taken as seriously as course design for desktop devices. There’s just a few different factors to consider when designing a mobile course.
If you keep our tips in mind, you can create high-quality mobile courses that are engaging, and satisfy the needs of your learners. Create content that will bring them back to you for more quality courses that prepare them for every success in the future.