Mobile learning: Dos and Don’ts

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Dos and Don'ts of mobile learning

Today we have all the technical tools we need in order to create, maintain and deliver mobile learning activities. With the mobile learning market reaching approximately $8.7 billion in 2015 and showing promise to reach $12.2 billion by 2017, clearly mobile learning is becoming increasingly popular in the online learning ecosystem. The increasing sales of mobile device, the whopping growth in the mobile share of web traffic, the growing adoption of mobile device in work places, amongst other factors have led to the evolution of ‘A Mobile World’.

Mobile learning is about disseminating information, creating learning aid and materials through mobile device such as: handheld computers, MP3 players, notebooks, mobile phones and tablets. M-learning (mobile learning) focuses on the mobility of the learners interacting with portable technologies. Cisco predicts that the U.S. market for mobile learning will grow from $7.98 Billion in 2015, to $37.6 billion by 2020. In light of those figures, organizations looking to make their employee training programs more relevant and effective will need to implement eLearning solutions on mobile platforms. While in Africa, mobile communication has grown rapidly, in 2001, about 25m people in Africa had a mobile phone subscription; by 2013, that number had ballooned to 780m. Revenue forecasts also reported that the growth rate for Mobile Learning products and services in the Latin America region is 32.5%, second highest regional growth rate in the world after the Africa region. Revenues will more than quadruple from the $362.3 million reached in 2012 to a staggering $1.4 billion by 2017.

As the workforce continues to become increasingly mobile, learning providers need to create mobile learning programs that are engaging and immersive to facilitate better learning. With these few dos and don’ts of mobile learning, we look at more granular designs, instructional solidarity, and above all an easy and satisfying user experience in creating E-learning contents.

mobile learning engages the learners

Here are some guidelines to follow in creating interactive mobile learning contents:

  • Do Develop Context

The first thing that needs to be done when developing a mobile learning program is to identify and understand the context. Is it learning or performance support that you want to provide? What is the goal of the program? Is it the core program or a support module? Once the context is set by identifying the demographic and the goals that need to be achieved, you can start developing your mobile learning program.

  • Do Keep The Navigation Simple

The user interface has to be simple and easy to navigate. The user should ideally be able to navigate the learning material with one thumb or two thumbs at the most. Instructional Designers have to bear in mind that as the screen size reduces navigation becomes harder as compared to a desktop. So creating proportional layouts and sizable buttons play an important role in creating a great mobile learning course. Additionally, learning providers also need to ensure that they keep the content easily searchable. This can be done by using obvious titles and making sure the menu is simple to navigate.

  • Do Reduce Scrolling

Yes, there has to be a certain amount of scrolling in every mLearning course, but a great mLearning course will keep the scrolling to a minimum. Ensure that the content created for the module does not exceed three scroll length. In the case of a longer module, it makes sense to break up the content into different screens with an identifiable “next” button. Learning providers also have to ensure that they minimize distractions on the screen

  • Clear content

With mobile, everything has to be crisp… even the information. Content in mobile learning has to be bite-sized and segmented keeping in mind memory limitations, battery life, and short attention spans. Having a clear content plan at the beginning of each module helps in making the objectives of the course clear. It also sets the expectation of the learner. Furthermore, you need to consider the overall file size of the course. This will help you make sure it does not compromise the storage capacity of the device, can be easily downloaded, and can be used in both offline and online modes. Small, bite-sized nuggets of information become easier to view, consume, and process, which in turn contribute to the effectiveness of the learning program.

  • Do Use Multimedia

Multimedia elements immediately improve the effectiveness of any learning program and mobile learning is no different to this. However, it is essential to first analyze your target demographic. Then, you need to use only those multimedia elements that will enhance the effectiveness of the program. For example, using video in mobile learning is great, but you need to make sure that the video is not media heavy or too long as that might compromise its consumption. With mobile learning, multimedia should be used to highlight important elements to facilitate information retention and reduce the cognitive load.

  • Don’t Go Into The “Push” Mode

Mobile learning programs have to adopt the “receiver” mode rather than the “push” mode. So, the course has to be designed such that it is personalized, the users can self-diagnose what they want to achieve, set their learning pace, and get support when they need it. Instructional Designers creating mobile learning courses thus have to ensure that they create modules that the learners “interact” with. They also need to ensure that they provide the right back-end support to guide and help the learners. While creating these interactions, it is also essential now to include the social angle. Employing game-based learning strategies for assessments and tasks, providing the learners the opportunity to share their results on social media platforms, or enabling the use of social media platforms for discussions etc.

  • Do Use Mobile Friendly Technology

When developing a course for mobile learning, making it responsive is not an option anymore. You also need to consider both landscape and portrait orientation when designing for mobile. Using technology such as HTML5 that is mobile friendly also helps in making mobile learning modules versatile, robust, faster, and responsive.

The best approach to improve the quality and participation level for your corporate training is to obtain professional help for developing your new mLearning training program to bolster employee engagement and ensure you attain the desired results from the training. An example of employee training content developer is e-training Institute.

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