M-learning is learning on a mobile device. A mobile device could be a mobile phone, iPad, Tablet, Laptop, etc. Among all these, laptops are the most convenient devices to deliver eLearning courses, as these devices are very similar to desktop computers. . So, they don’t pose any technical issues for the developer. This blog provides design tips for delivering training on mobile devices other than laptops.
Mobile phones, iPads, and tablets create many design issues. To resolve these problems, you need to look at the content, the dimensions and screen-resolution of these mobile devices. Always design your course, keeping in mind the landscape dimensions of the device.
Tip 1: Content of mLearning – less is more!
Mobile devices are very convenient to read and learn while travelling, waiting at the airports or at the office desk. However, you need to keep in mind the amount of content that a person can read on a mobile device. Consider byte sized content when delivering training through mLeanring. These small devices are suitable to deliver content that is crisp and in the form of small chunks. Don’t try to convert a 30 minute eLearning course into an mLearning course without reducing its content.
For example, use mLearning to deliver job-aids (that are in the form on bulleted points), tips/ guidelines for completing a task, etc.
Tip 2: Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS)!
Mobile devices are small and therefore the functionality needs to be simple when compared to laptops. Don’t expect the learners to click through too many links, each leading to a separate screen. The learners may get get confused, navigating the course.. So, keep the navigation simple, by including a Next button in every screen, to ensure smooth completion of the mLearning course. Design mLearning courses in such a way that the learners can view the content in a linear manner.
For example, if you need to provide additional information (external resources or a glossary), show it in another screen. The learner may choose to read it or skip it and proceed further. Let your learners decide what they want!
Tip 3: Inform where they are.
E-learning courses usually have a menu, which is either hidden or always visible, showing where the learners are. In contrast, due to the constraints of space, mLearning courses usually don’t have a menu/ course map. But as no one likes a blind ride, don’t let the learners guess what topic will they read in the next screen. Inform the learners about the topics covered in your mLearning course and as they complete each topic, guide them to the next.
For example, if the mLearning course is about ‘Tips to Write eMails’. The topics might covered might be about the different fields in an e-mail page such as ‘To’, ‘Cc’, ‘Subject’, etc. Start the course with a small introduction and a learning objective, and display the topics that will be covered. Highlight each topic and deliver the tips, and in the next screen highlight the next topic.
Tips 4: Use contrast in screen elements.
Make sure that you use crystal clear images, and the text is clear and readable to people of all age groups. The fonts and images should not stretch when delivered on high resolution devices. Use bright colors for buttons like Next, Submit, Cancel, etc. Be careful when placing two or more buttons in one screen, as the space between them must be large enough to prevent learners clicking a wrong button inadvertently.
For example, use vector images (these are high resolution images and do not blur when displayed on a bigger screen). Maintain a font size of 14 points (this is a size which is readable on any mobile screen). Choose a font that is clear and the letters don’t overlap (such as Arial, Verdana, etc.). See that the buttons are are 10-12 pixels apart from each other, to help the learners select the right button easily, and avoid touching the wrong button.
Tip 5: Increase the number of screens – but don’t use SCROLL!
Coming to “touch” devices, it is better to present the information in small, logical chunks because the learners need not scroll to see the content at the bottom of the screen. This makes reading easier and creates good viewing experiences. Furthermore, presenting content in small chunks goes a long way in reducing the cognitive load.
For example, you may chunk the heavy content into a bulleted list and deliver these bullets, one at a time, on the screen with an apt image. This leads to effective learning, when compared to showing all the bullets at once.
To conclude, always deisgn mLearning courses keeping in mind that simple and crisp points make learning easy and effective. Don’t try to fit too much into an mLearning course, because it not the same as eLearning. ELearning makes content simple and easy to learn. mLearning is another step forward to make the content more user-friendly and accessible whenever it is needed.