There’s no doubt that eLearning has taken off in a big way over the last few years. However, the number of people who use a laptop or desktop computer to access is slowly on the decline.
Instead, people are increasingly using mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, to learn whilst they are on the go.
So what implications does this have for your business learning and development strategy?
Firstly, it means that eLearning has to be tailored more appropriately for mobile use. This means anything from adapting modules for touch-screen navigation to ensuring that learning videos are not too long so as to risk reducing engagement.
Cegos’ director of global channels and alliances – Pascal Debordes – recently wrote an article in which he offers advice on converting eLearning for mobile.
“If training content providers simply convert their Flash courses to HTML5 with no adaptation and no adjustments, they will lose a valuable opportunity,” he writes. “Whether Flash content was designed 10 or even three years ago, this conversion is a chance to review pedagogy and redesign and rethink content, taking into account the new expectations of learners.”
This is not to say that old modules need to be scrapped and new ones created. However, it is likely that any learning content over a few years old will soon be out of step with the way people learn using mobile technology.
A new approach allows you to take advantage of the many benefits of mobile learning. For example, there are more creative options for interactivity on a smartphone than on a laptop. Because of the touch-screen facility, mobile users can navigate and interact with content swiftly and easily, which increases engagement. Also, the very nature of mobile devices allows users more flexibility in where and when they learn.
There are limitations, of course. Limited screen size and the many opportunities for users to get side-tracked has to be factored in when designing eLearning modules. In addition, developers should assume that some people will still be using larger devices to engage with eLearning and must provide suitable alternatives to any touch-screen interaction.
Another issue, addressed by Pascal in his article, is one of localisation. Currently, many organisations use subtitles as a way of connecting with people from different cultures. But subtitles are hard to read on smartphones, so other solutions – such as localised illustration and imagery – could be considered to get round this.
The shift to mobile learning will continue to present challenges to the online education community, but could result in some very exciting leaps forward.
As Pascal notes, “revenues in this sector are forecasted to reach $2.1 billion by 2019”, so learning providers will be competing to find some pretty impressive answers.
Cegos UK have been at the cutting edge of mobile learning for over 20 years, and offer both off-the-shelf and tailored eLearning programmes. Get in touch with us today to find out more.