Mobile is a hot topic in learning. With a device in every pocket, it’s probably the most direct channel to your learners wherever they may be. Yet, when we think about using mobile as an online learning platform, we tend to focus on short bursts of microlearning that can be delivered just-in-time or in a gamified experience. Less considered is how mobile can be used as part of sustained learning experiences that happen over weeks, not minutes, and include communities of like-minded learners. However, extending the learning experience from desktop (or laptop) to mobile is not as simple as logging into a learning platform from a phone. You’ll need to take into account the differences between the capabilities of the PC and the phone and the different ways we interact with each type of device. To maximize learner experience and engagement on mobile, consider the following five suggestions.
If your learners are accessing from both a PC and a phone or different learners use different devices, you’ll need to pay attention to ensuring a consistent learning experience across devices. Branding, structure, and navigation should feel familiar across devices, even if specific functionality varies between them. Consider using responsive templates for your learning experiences that automatically adjust content layouts depending on the device being used.
For mobile learning to work, you’ll need to ensure your learners remain engaged. Consider pairing small pieces of content with opportunities for reflection and discussion. If social and collaborative interaction among your learners is important, make sure they can find and participate in community activities. You may need to experiment with how you present and sequence activities to maximize the learning.
Tailor your content
To optimize for the mobile experience, you’ll need to tailor your content so that it engages your learners. Cut down on long text paragraphs, consider visuals, use white space effectively. If you can get this right for mobile, your desktop users will also be grateful.
To get the most of our the mobile learning experience, take advantage of the device’s native capabilities. You’ll want to make use of built-in phone capabilities such as the camera, as well as phone navigation gestures like scrolling, swiping, and tapping. For the most natural user experience, use an app for learning that is native to the device operating system. At NovoEd, we’ve just released our first app for the iPhone and plan to expand mobile capabilities for our customers and their learners over the coming months.
Test and learn
Before rolling out your learning to mobile users, test the experience to ensure it’s compelling as can be. You’ll need to ensure all your assets work well on mobile. Sometimes you’ll be surprised by how content behaves on different devices. For example, images that look just fine on the desktop can sometimes appear blurry on a phone since the screen resolution is so high. Also, test across devices with different screen sizes.
Bringing mobile to life in your learning experience requires some thought and intentionality, but offers an opportunity to reflect upon and improve the experience for all your learners. NovoEd has always believed that great learning experiences should be accessible from any device. To hear more about our recent app release as well as our new design tools that enable rapid development of mobile-optimized learning experiences, join us for a Product Tour on June 20, 2019, at 10:00 a.m. PT.
Learning experience design is a multidisciplinary approach to training that recognizes that most learning happens, not by instruction, but through experience — so the learner leaves with something to remember.