Many organizations are now considering m-learning because smartphones have now become a part and parcel of human life. In fact, most of them think e-learning is similar to m-learning and it is all about just adopting the existing e-learning content. But m-learning is completely different from e-learning in various aspects such as the GUI, navigation, screen size, user interface, compatibility, etc.
When converting e-learning to m-learning, we need to make certain changes because both are different in formats. Let us see what they are.
1. Keep the GUI simple
Design the GUI with limited navigational elements such as Home, Previous, Next, and Exit buttons as learners will be operating the mobile device with a single finger. Keep the GUI simple and easy for the learners to navigate. Don’t clutter the screen with too many elements. When you design these icons or buttons, leave some space around them and make them bright and highly visible.
2. Keep the module size to 5-10 minutes
A 30 minutes e-learning course can be divided into 3 bite-sized modules of 10 minutes each because m-learning is intended to provide micro and just in time (JIT) learning. When you divide modules, keep the learning objectives in mind and deliver only a single learning point per screen.
3. Analyze the content types
It is a well-known fact that there are different types of contents such as facts, processes, procedures, principles, and concepts in e-learning. All these types are well suited for e-learning but for mobile learning supports facts, procedures, and processes. You must have a set of learning strategies to deal with such types of contents in m-learning.
4. Reengineer your existing e-learning course content
Break the content into small digestible units without losing its intended meaning. We do this because the content on a computer screen is generally too much for a mobile screen. Use bulleted points rather than paragraphs to reduce cognitive load on the learners. Use clear fonts that are easier to read on mobile devices and also use better line spacing to avoid clumsiness. Make sure that content is easily readable on a mobile device without having to use the zoom feature.
5. Replace e-learning content with self-explanatory icons
If the existing e-learning course has heavy onscreen content, replace it with self-explanatory icons. Maximize the use of simple line diagrams/icons/images/graphics to explain the intended meaning as they work well for m-learning. Avoid using irrelevant and large images; instead use clear and simple icons to represent the content.
6. Avoid excessive scrolling
In e-learning, we represent the content either horizontally or vertically based on the length of the text. But in m-learning courses, it is always recommended to use vertical scrolls because the height of a mobile screen is more than its width. Try to avoid excessive scrolls as it is difficult to handle on smaller screens. It can also frustrate the learners.
7. Don’t use landscape orientation
Landscape orientation for mobile learning may not be a great idea. You can use landscape orientation for games and videos but not for reading. Use only portrait orientation to display the content, because learners like to access such content on their mobiles in this mode only. This orientation helps learners access the content easily and quickly.
8. Don’t reduce graphics size
It is recommended to redesign graphics instead of reducing their size for m-learning courses, because e-learning graphics will lose their clarity if used directly on a smaller screen, especially when they are designed for landscape mode. It is recommended to avoid graphics for mobile learning courses if they are not clear without zoom feature.
9. Simplify your existing interactivities
Keep interactivities simple and minimum for mobile learning because mobile screen size is smaller compared to desktop screens. Avoid using high and complex interactivities. Interactivities such as click on tabs, hotspots, rollovers, click on images etc. can be used for engaging mobile learning.
10. Redesign your existing navigation
Completely redesign your existing navigation into simple navigation to access the course easily without any confusion. Since the size of a mobile device is smaller, it can hold limited buttons and features when compared to e-learning. We know touch mobiles come with touch, expand, compress, swipe, and zoom features. By keeping these features in mind, buttons should be big enough for an adult’s finger.
Keep these best practices in mind while converting your existing e-learning courses into m-learning courses.
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