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What the latest Apple rumours tell us about BYOD

Apple is the best at generating secrets and the worst at keeping them. The tech giant is now rumoured to be releasing a large 12.9-inch iPad next year. It is claimed that this move will combat slowing sales of their smaller models, and conveniently follows the news that educational tablet maker Nabi’s release of two giant Android tablets to appeal to families who want to use tablets with their young children.

This bucks the trend of the last decade, which had seen users request ever smaller devices in a quest to make technology as portable as possible. We can see smartphones moving in a similar direction, with phone manufacturers creating larger and larger devices, including phablets, to accommodate the vast number of ways we now use our phones.

But this tells us something very important. Technology doesn’t always move in the way we would expect it to, meaning many organisations end up taking a reactive approach with their learning programmes as they struggle to keep up with the rapid pace of technological change. Designing for specific devices is no longer good enough. Before we know it, the next big thing has arrived, and that 7.9-inch iPad is being discarded for the new model, five inches larger than its predecessor.

We have long understood the importance of multi-device design when creating e-learning, but this is now more apparent than ever. Rather than creating separate courses for each iPad, each Android device, each new wave of smartphones, it is far more efficient to create content once which will work across devices. The advent of HTML5 has made this possible, and has brought with it the new generation of responsive, adaptive content.

Creating a good user experience is essential if you want your learning programme to succeed, and having to pinch, swipe and rotate to see all the content on a screen is certainly not going to help your engagement and completion rates. Responsive content automatically finds the optimal appearance based on the device, screen size and functionality, ensuring the learning process is seamless across devices. This means you don’t have to spend a fortune issuing a suite of identical devices to your staff, instead giving individuals the freedom to choose the smartphone or tablet that works for them. This is the best way to ensure the long-term health of your BYOD programme, as you won’t need to update your content as each new model is released.

So what does all this tell us about BYOD? It tells us that organisations need to think strategically about the content they commission. You don’t want to be adding the finishing touches to your beautiful e-learning for iPad minis when your staff will be clamouring for Apple’s new supersized offering in six months’ time. Don’t make a snap decision and design just for the devices your employees use now. Account for the fact there might be unexpected technological trends in the future by commissioning adaptive, responsive, multi-device e-learning. This will future-proof your BYOD programme, and gives your learners the freedom to use their existing devices for the most cost-effective learning solution in the long run.

Discover multi-device e-learning today to find out why it is the most agile, BYOD-friendly way to create content.