The term “m-learning” is almost becoming synonymous with e-learning these days. Let’s face it, everyone and their mom (hi mom!) has a smart phone or a tablet now, and along with that, new avenues to access e-learning courses. With potential e-learners constantly on-the-go with business trips, family obligations, and ever-coveted leisurely pursuits, the ability to sit at home or at work for long periods of time going through a full training course is becoming a thing of the past. Enter m-learning (short for mobile learning).
This new push to create scalable learning that users can take with them is changing the way e-learning courses are designed, how they function, and which programs they’re created with. And it’s not just e-learning courses affected by the smartphone revolution; email, software, and websites are all going responsive (meaning they can be scaled up or down without loss of essential functionality or usability). For an example of this, grab a corner of this website and scale it down to a small cellphone screen-esque size. See how things dynamically re-arrange and scale down to fit the new window size (unless you’re on Internet Explorer 8 which doesn’t support responsive design.. By the way, 2009 called they want their browser back)? This is the type of consideration that’s starting to become more and more common in e-learning practices, and course creators who don’t take this growing smartphone demographic into consideration will soon be left behind.
So, what does that mean to you? Well before you dive into developing m-learning courses, you’ll want to make sure it makes sense for your course. While mobile learning is certainly on the rise, it’s not always necessary. Does your target demographic frequently use smartphones or tablets? Will they have ample time and desire to complete the course from a desktop computer? Will the content properly translate to a smaller screen?
Once you’ve done some soul searching and you’ve decided m-learning is the way to go, a good place to start is to review some mobile learning best practices. Here’s a good blog article with ten tips to get you started. Apart from that, it’s important to make sure your authoring tool has the appropriate export options. Given the fairly recent increase in m-learning popularity, not all authoring tools are on board just yet. Our personal favorite authoring tool for creating m-learning courses is Articulate Storyline. All you have to do when exporting is hit the ‘export HTML5 version’ check box, or the ‘Play in Articulate Player for iPad’ check box, and you’re ready to start training on the go.