We live in a society now that a modern-day corporate learner never leaves home without his or her smartphone. This mobile device, after all, serves as an extension of technology-savvy individuals. With it, they search the web for new information and of course keep themselves entertained. This alone creates new opportunities for you and other eLearning professionals to reach the always-on corporate learner.
But in order to benefit from the rise of smartphone usage, you have to dig deeper and even question assumptions. Therefore, it is important to know more about the habits, preferences and attitudes of mobile learners.
- What devices do they own and frequently use?
- How do they use these devices?
- When do they connect to the Internet?
- And do they distinguish home from work devices?
These are just some of the many questions you should be able to answer. Using them allows you to identify when and where the mobile learning experience happens and how it can be improved.
Remember, mobile learners use their devices and respond to mobile learning differently. This is the new normal.
It is therefore, important to better understand how learners consume content across all technological platforms. eLearning professionals like me really need to better understand technology, interaction design and the cross-platform consumption of media to thrive in this space.
Mobility revolves around the element of immediacy. Everything happens right here, right now. While tablets offer a better video experience, smartphones are much more portable. Both may not totally replace television but more and more users use them as their second (or even third) screens.
It is also true that using mobiles open learners to a number of distractions. But it also offers new opportunities for engagement. So, when designing your learning, think of bite-sized learning. I call it micro-learning or a learnlet model.
From my research, learning on a mobile should be less like the content found in typical eLearning courses and more focused around support orientation. They are most effective as just-in-time or just-in-place modules or part of a broader learning intervention.
Designers also need to consider the ease of navigating on a mobile device and optimize design so that the interface is intuitive, task-oriented, and requires just a few clicks to reach any given place. Don’t forget that mobile learners are navigating with the precision of a finger, rather than clicking with a mouse so using using clear, concise and consistent navigation cues across all screens is very important.