Last year the number of smartphone subscriptions on the planet surpassed 2.6 billion devices and they are quickly becoming the dominant computing platform around the world. That means it's time to ensure your eLearning programmes are compatible with mobile devices. But how do we get effective learning on those tiny (but ever-increasing) screen sizes?
Make it play on any device
Don’t just settle for delivering to iPhones and stop there. Sure… in the US, iOS generates more traffic on average than Android, but for the last three years Android has outsold Apple and the gap is quickly getting larger. Your eLearning should be able to play on both types of operating systems. For an added bonus, make your eLearning compatible with Windows smartphones and you have covered 98+% of the smartphone market.
Design for mobile-first
In March 2015, Millennials became the most populous generation on the planet and the most-represented generation in the workforce. They are a “mobile-first” generation. Make sure your eLearning follows suit. Design your eLearning for mobile devices from the initial stages. Do this correctly and your eLearning will display well on smartphones and gracefully expand to the larger screens that are prefered by older generations.
Take it beyond responsive design to adaptive design
An emerging best practice for eLearning is to borrow the concept “adaptive design” from popular media websites. Sound intimidating? All it means is that one screen layout exists for smaller screens and a different layout (with the same content) exists for larger screens. Instead of seeing the stretching, shrinking, or stacking of your content, your learners interact with content designed specifically for whichever device they prefer.
Deliver to mobile and non-mobile screens with a single course
This is when a poor technology choice can come back to bite your learning programme. Many eLearning tools create two different versions of your eLearning content - one for mobile and one for larger screens. This is OK if you only have a small number of eLearning courses. However, as your eLearning library grows, you’ve just created a maintenance nightmare. Save yourself the trouble and expense. Do your homework up front and use technology that delivers great eLearning to mobile and desktops from one version.
Ensure smartphones can navigate to your eLearning
Early in the development process, address the pathway learners will use to access your eLearning content. This will help to avoid a situation where you’re ready to launch a great new eLearning course that’s smartphone-capable, only to find out that your Learning Management System (LMS) doesn’t support mobile navigation.
Even if your LMS is modern enough that mobile users can acess courses, it can be quite challenging for smartphones to pass course completion notes and learning scores back to your LMS. Avoid this problem by putting your eLearning vendor in touch with your corporate LMS experts during the early stages of project development.
Support multiple languages from a single course version
Most large corporations exist globally in some capacity. An eLearning programme that is compatible with a mobile-first world is well-positioned to reach employees, channel partners, customers and suppliers around the world, overcoming any geographical, political and linguistic barriers.
BIW recently completed an eLearning project that served 143 countries in 23 languages and existed on desktop, tablet and mobile devices. It was managed from a single course version. Maintaining 23 different course versions (one for each language), multiplied by the different device types simply wasn’t a viable solution - even for one course.
Five of the world’s top 10 most valuable companies use BIW for their learning needs and we have seen a 350% increase in global learning from our clients during the last three years. With 26 US offices and 13 global offices, we’re probably just around the corner from one of your locations. Click here to discover how we can help with your learning needs.