Versatile Mobile Learning
If you look around any public place, you can see just how addictive mobile devices have become.
You know you’re a mobile device addict if you spend more time texting, tweeting, or emailing than actually talking to physical people. If your cell phone is always part of the table place setting, you might be an addict. And, if your significant other gets jealous because you sleep with your smartphone, that’s a sure sign of addiction.
This epidemic may sound like a recipe for workplace distraction. But from a training point of view, our device addiction represents a huge opportunity. Mobile learning is a versatile and fast growing training space that is driving all sorts of innovation and customization.
What You Can Expect
Some clients come to us thinking mobile is just an eLearning course – just a setting when you go to publish. But as anyone who’s been to a terrible mobile website knows, it’s not that simple. The problem is that the content needs to be optimized for delivery on multiple types of devices with mobile browsers, Wi-Fi/cellular connections, and small screen sizes.
That’s why almost all websites these days have a desktop version and a mobile version. The owners of those sites know that the full featured version of their website runs like crap on mobile. There are loading issues. There are readability issues (requiring pinch-zoom to see tiny fonts). There are navigation issues like microscopic buttons and fat thumbs or taps and swipes versus clicks. And, that’s just for a casual browse.
Now say we’re leveraging people’s learning and productivity, you also have to optimize the format and experience. The whole point is to better the user’s learning experience on a small screen, not make them want to throw their device.
Whether used as part of a blended solution, or as an on-the-go eLearning course, mobile learning offers new possibilities in instructional design and shows promise in tackling age-old training issues like engagement and retention, since your learners are already cuckoo for cocoa puffs with their mobile devices.
If you come to ThinkingKap for help with mobile learning, the first question we’re going to ask is, “Why?” Not because we want to talk you out of mobile, but we want to know the business reasons you have identified and what you are trying to accomplish. While there are opportunities with mobile, there are also some limitations, so your answer to that question gives us insight into what success will look like at the end of your project.
Next, we need to know: “What type of device – or devices – are you going to deliver the training through?” and “What type of training experience are you trying to create?” Your answers to these questions help us begin to think about the best technical solution in terms of authoring tools.
Now it’s time to talk about learning objectives, content narratives, and instructional strategies. The most import difference between ILT, eLearning, and mobile learning is its duration. ILT is often measured in weeks and days, eLearning in hours, and mobile in minutes.
In order to succeed, like with all other forms of training, the structure and content must fit the medium. In the case of mobile learning, that calls for short bursts of content. Here are few really good reasons for using mobile learning.
- As part of a blended learning to introduce, practice or reinforce content.
- To provide just-in-time access to reference procedures or policies.
- To push out change management rollout messages and training.
- To push out time sensitive information.
- To push out compliance training or refresher training.
Regardless of how you plan to fit mobile learning into your overall curriculum, we can help create a mobile solution to fit your needs.
Service in Action
We worked with a client who provided educational information to people who were facing foreclosure on their homes. Because this is such a highly stressful experience, this organization wanted a way to educate homeowners on the foreclosure process, orient them to the timeline of events, and inform them of their options along the way. Recognizing that foreclosure related topics can be confusing (and often filled with legalese) they needed the information to be as approachable as possible. Also, given that their client base ranged the entire spectrum of ethnic and socio-economic groups, they needed to ensure accessibility for all users.
Using Google Analytics, they determined that most visitors to their website did so on their phones, which is where they wanted to host this training piece. So, it was determined that designing this module for the mobile environment made the most sense.
We helped them distill the entire foreclosure process down into a scenario timeline, where users helped “Joe” make decisions during his foreclosure process.
Information was presented along a timeline so users could understand what the steps were in the process, what the timing was between steps, and what impact Joe’s decisions had on the rest of the process.
Everything was strategically designed to operate within a mobile environment: a large and clean interface, intuitive progression between steps, a graphic and text based presentation that didn’t rely on narration, and a streamlined presentation of legal-based information that was digestible through small screens.
Diverse Clients, Unique Training Solutions
We work with a very diverse customer base, and it turns out most users access our materials from their phones. ThinkingKap helped us identify the most appropriate way to deliver our training to mobile devices. We knew there was a huge challenge communicating our complex material on tiny phone screens, but the design and approach ThinkingKap came up with was just perfect. The course is easy to use and understand, and people love it!