Ring in the New Year by Making your eLearning Mobile

mlearning trainIt’s a topic that is widely discussed and is only going to come more into focus in 2016 as the rise of mobile browsing continues.

LMS technology continues to improve, and converting eLearning to mLearning requires a comprehensive strategy to engage your users. Fortunately the easy part, the technology side of mLearning is handled by Mindflash.  What is your mLearning strategy? This post is an introduction to essential considerations – and perhaps even some more pressing considerations that other content in this area may have missed.

Focus on focus; streamline for speed

If your eLearning is being used on a mobile device, it’s unlikely that you’ll have your user’s full attention for a prolonged period of time. Unlike when a user is at their desk concentrating on one task in an environment equipped for productivity, focused work can be more difficult on a mobile device.

It’s commonly discussed that capturing user’s attention can be difficult in this context. Increasingly we’re consuming media on multiple devices simultaneously, and engaging with our mobile on a moment-to-moment basis, like commuting, for example.

How do you solve this problem?
In engaging mLearning, content is king.

Treat it your mobile courses like a blog post – you know that your content will be scanned and not fully read, so you strip it down, and break it up into microlearning pieces so that it’s easier to consume for your users. You could also increase text size to further increase readability on mobile devices.

Remember that content is consumed entirely differently on mobile devices.  Being stubborn for the sake of your brand will result in poor experiences for your learning users. Ironically, that will only result in negative perceptions of your brand by both trainees and partners – review your content and don’t be afraid to cull content that is hard to consume on mobile devices.

Finally, don’t forget about streamlining your mobile eLearning – or mLearning – for speed; reduce image size (and file size) and, in accordance with your trimmed content, reduce the number of images and videos where necessary – but only if necessary!

Save it

  • Your customers using mobile devices probably have shorter sessions on your LMS than those on desktops.
  • It’s much more likely that mobile users will experience connectivity issues.

Considering the above, what can you do to create a better experience for these mobile users?

Establish an increased number of progress save points or break out single courses into multiple. If a mobile user becomes disconnected, they will not lose much of their time. This will also allow your customers to sign out of their training program when desired, rather than trudge on until the next progress point out of necessity without giving the learning their full attention. It goes without saying that this would only negatively impact their learning experience and final learning outcome.

On a related note, if connectivity on mobile devices is proving a reoccurring problem, then you should perhaps consider potentially researching and investing in the development of an ‘Offline Mode’ feature for your LMS in the future.

Don’t just optimize for the iPhone

Look at your analytics – which mobile devices are being used the most to access your site by your customers? Sure, most of your mobile traffic be from the iPhone and iPad – but will optimizing for these devices alone ruin the experience for other customers? Most likely.

Assess which other devices are accessing your site – particularly those that appear to be being used increasingly - and strive to make your site compatible for as many devices as possible, within reason.

Suitability of topics

Which areas do your eLearning courses cover – are they of a potentially sensitive nature? Consider the environment that your mLearning will be consumed in (most likely of a much more public nature) and select which specific eLearning courses you’ll decide to convert carefully.

Mobile-friendly interactivity

It’s engaging to incorporate a variety of different exercises and assessment types in order to test the knowledge of candidates undergoing eLearning. However, when converting to mLearning, consider how easy it will be to actually interact with your learning. The following tips will help in reducing strain and increasing usability of your mLearning.

  • Place the ‘Previous’ and ‘Next’ slide buttons at the bottom of the screen to minimise the required reach for your mobile device user’s hands.
  • Repurpose any content that you have tied up in more complicated – perhaps flash based – learning exercises, so that they are easier to operate on a mobile device.

Test sensibly

Pick one of your courses – most likely a comprehensive, popular one – that is suitable for using as a test for your conversion process. Make sure that it’s appropriate for testing every single aspect of the process – so it’ll probably need to have a variety of different types of content and exercises throughout.

User test, moderate in real time and review the results of this singular eLearning course conversion before rolling out the conversion to the rest of your courses – this will reduce risk and safeguard your investment.

There are so many other suggestions that could be made on this topic, but this blog post was more about making sure you cover the basics correctly or miss anything that could be so obvious that it’s not been included in other studies on mLearning.

I haven’t delved into the specific technical executions of the conversion process because in my research I found this excellent SlideShare (especially the 2nd half of the deck) that has already covered this area better than I ever could.

If you are considering converting to mLearning, then please do get in touch with Mindflash – whether to simply share with us your experience, or to seek free, helpful and impartial advice.

Author bio: Jordan Bradley works for High Speed Training (HST), a fully accredited specialist eLearning course provider based in the UK. He enjoys his responsibility of managing HST’s Hub – a blog which posts weekly insightful articles on a range of topics related to their array of online courses. Jordan spends the rest of his time running around the countryside, travelling on weekends to visit friends he wished lived closer, and fighting hard in the battle against laziness, amongst other things.

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