New infographic reminds IT and faculty that moving to mobile learning comes with a unique set of considerations

mobile-content-mlearningCreating environments for mobile learning begins first with IT infrastructure, then actually determining how to optimize content for mobile learning.

“Mobile Learning-it’s easy, it’s intuitive and it definitely gives good returns on investment,” says Origin Learning, which created the infographic. “With many [institutions] already using it and others beginning to take the plunge, mLearning seems to have taken off well-thanks to rapid innovation in cloud computing and widespread adoption of BYOD policies. Already, combined tablet and smartphone shipments surpass those of desktops and notebooks.”

“However,” the company continued, “the inherent characteristics of a mobile device pose a few challenges to instructional and content designers in avoiding the risk of defeating its purpose of learning.”

Outside of design aesthetics, they are some components available for non-mobile learning that may affect student and faculty mLearning experiences to keep in mind:

1. Limited LMS support: Currently, most of the LMS’ are better suited to the desktop platform. For a smooth user experience, LMS’ need to be tailor-made to work flawlessly across all mobile operating systems- iOS, Blackberry, Android etc. LMS’ must be designed to offer full-featured native apps, rather than simply using the web apps, so that they can function optimally irrespective of the hardware manufacturer or display dimensions of the device.

2. Interactivity: A good mlearning strategy lists and describes what specific content would be transferred to mobiles so that it boosts interactivity rather than limiting it. If learners think it’s hard to find or interact with LMS functionality, they won’t use it. That’s why responsive design is essential for mobile web environments.

3. Smarter Content Designing: Once you’ve decided what content has to be taken mobile, the next task is to do it smartly. Put too much information on each slide, and your learners will have a hard time in retaining information. Instructional designers need to put themselves in the shoes of the end users to dynamically tailor their experience to all kinds of mobile devices in a visual context that makes sense for each device.

4. Form Factor: Person A is using Apple iOS5, B loves his latest Blackberry, while C is still on Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich version. With BYOD on the rise, it is highly unlikely that students will be using the phones with the same configurations. Some devices will be ‘better’ (larger memory, bigger screen, faster processor) than others. Creating content that functions equally well on all devices takes careful planning and inclusive designing.

5. Interoperability: There is a lack of interoperability between PCs and laptops on one hand and mobiles on the other because of different technical standards like SCORM. However, interoperability also creates opportunities for making use of existing expertise in e-learning and the opportunity to merge with established infrastructures.

(Next page: mLearning content challenges infographic)


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