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Making sense of multi device learning

This week, we’ve got more insights from the LEO team, as Steve Myerscough looks at the ins and outs of good multi device learning design.

There was a time when the only way to access e-learning was through a desktop computer. Nowadays, the methods of accessing e-learning are many and varied. Learning which is accessible across mobile phones, tablets and desktop PCs is known as multi device learning. Multi device learning accounts for the growing expectation that learners can view e-learning content on whatever device they’re using.

Aware of this, clients increasingly want their learning to work across all devices. At LEO, we believe it’s a key requirement for learning to be as accessible as possible in this era of diversified platforms. However, doing this isn’t without its challenges…

Implementing multi device learning

Firstly, there are the technological challenges. Five years ago, the vast majority of courses we built using Flash. However, Flash is no longer supported on many devices, notably Apple products, so we rarely use it for new courses. In its place, HTML has taken over, as it supports all devices. At LEO, we produces courses in HTML5 using LTG’s own authoring tool gomo, a leading authoring tool in the industry. Using gomo, we can create courses that can be published to a wide variety of platforms and screen sizes, safe in the knowledge that the content will adapt to fit the required screen size.

Designing multi device learning

With the technological concerns taken care of, the other important factor to consider is the learning design of the course. Mobile devices that use touch screens create a very different user experience for learners compared to using a traditional desktop PC. Learning practitioners need to think about the following:

  • Reduced text: Less is often more when it comes to e-learning and that is even more true when accessing it through a mobile device. Learners don’t want to spend an age scrolling through paragraphs of text.
  • Large clickable areas: While cursors allow you to be very precise when clicking on items on screen, fingers are not so precise. If designing for touch screens it’s important to make sure any buttons or clickable areas are large enough for people to select easily with their (possibly chubby) fingers.
  • Terminology: This is a simple semantic change to multi-device courses. Instead of directing the learner to ‘click’ on things, we now use ‘select’ as a more generic terms that makes sense whether they’re using a mouse or their own finger.
  • Connectivity: When designing for desktop PCs you can generally rely on the fact that the learner will have a reliable internet connection. However, this is not guaranteed when designing for mobile devices. Careful thought needs to be put into elements such as assessments or videos which may not work if connection is poor or lost all together.

The above should give you an idea of the sort of things you need to consider when creating multi device learning. How do you approach the creation of multi device learning? Is there anything you would add to the list? Add your suggestions in the comments field below or let us know your thoughts on Twitter @leolearning.

For more on mobile learning, including transforming mobile strategy, click here.

To read more about multi device learning, including how to introduce a BYOD strategy, click here.