64% of students say the ability to access courses on their phones is a must. Therefore, implementing training programs on mobile devices is no longer an option, now it is a norm.
Therefore, one of the biggest challenges in 2021 is to improve the effectiveness of corporate learning programs, and for this, you must be where your students are. It's that simple!
Mobile device usage has expanded. But, in 2020, device usage increased significantly due to the coronavirus.
If you haven't taken your training programs mobile yet, we urge you to start considering it, as it brings benefits such as:
- Learners can have access to information at any time, anywhere. More than 70% of employees use search engines to learn what they need for their jobs; will unlock their smartphones 9 times an hour, and watch videos for no longer than 4 minutes.
- Higher engagement: Its ability to include more interactive and collaborative content, leads to higher participation. Online communities and social media features in mobile learning environments are a great way to keep learners interested and engaged.
- A learning process that adapts to modern needs. Removes formality. Mobile learning removes the sense of formality attached to education that non-traditional learners find unattractive.
Before you start your journey in this world, it's important to know what the challenges come with mobile learning and, of course, how to deal with them. Read on and find out.
“Twenty-first century learning is not confined to a geographical location, or a particular space designated for learning purposes” Colley & Stead,
3 challenges and solutions for designing effective mobile learning courses
Giving mobile learning a try will help you connect more with modern employees and meet their training needs. Learn about the solutions to the top challenges you'll face when creating mLearning courses:
Challenge #1: Screen Size is Limited
Creating a course intended to be taken on laptops and desktops is not the same as creating an experience that will be delivered on ANY mobile device. In the case of smartphones, for example, their size is much more limited than a computer. Although the screen size varies according to the model and type of mobile device, it is still smaller.
Therefore, you should consider this space limitation and create learning experiences by thinking mobile-first. Read: Embracing a Mobile Mindset for Learning and Development
- If you are converting an eLearning course to mobile, our key advice: adapt the content. Simply making your eLearning content fit into small screen sizes won't work! Ideally, you should use a responsive eLearning platform, which automatically adapts the content to any device, and at the same time, the course designer should optimize the content (read: cut out unnecessary parts, transform the experience and even create new content) but ALWAYS with a mobile-first mindset. Focus on what you want the worker to accomplish, keeping the core elements in the forefront at all times. This will help you to prioritize what information you need to present. This has always been an important aspect of instructional design (i.e., eliminate the “nice to know” from training, and keep only the “need to know” information). Now, with the space limitations of mobile devices, this issue has gained increased urgency.
- Space is a key consideration when designing training for mobile devices. Keep in mind the limited screen size when writing for these devices. To do this, you will need to reduce sentence size and be more succinct.
- Think bite-size! Create short, easy-to-read (and understand) content so the user can consume it even in the most unusual contexts, such as on the bus. Rather than taking a 60-minute module and simply moving it onto a mobile display, consider breaking it up into smaller, bite-sized modules. For example, you might consider delivering your one-hour course in many 7-minute sections.
- Consider readability. This might include adequately large text sizes, or shorter sentences and paragraphs.
Challenge #2: Reduced Attention Span Among Learners
Your employees are used to doing multiple tasks at the same time. It's normal. Human attention span has declined due to so many distractions today. Like social media, online shopping, chats, etc.
Therefore, this is a major challenge to considering when designing your mobile learning programs today. This implies that your content not only needs to be great, but the experience and the design should be intuitive and attractive enough to grab the participant's attention from the beginning.
Otherwise, they will disconnect from the learning and start performing multiple other tasks.
- Content on the go. Gone are the days of long courses. Instead, learning is now all about small, concentrated moments of learning to help learners consume content on the go. That means distracted mobile learners can focus for short periods of time on a specific topic.
- Attractive, visual design. Learn about the psychology of eLearning design and basic design principles to retain your attention.
- Variety is key. Use various media types and resources so learners are engaged all throughout the learning experience.
- Only essential content, please! Your employees will not maintain focus for 30, 40 minutes or 1 hour. Instead, short 3-7 minute modules match the working memory capacity and attention spans of today's learners. Ensure you add only "must know" information - leave all the history, background information, and theories behind – focus on delivering how-to’s and actionable, practical information.
- Offer different content formats tailored to different stages of the employee. According to Training Industry magazine, to create effective learning programs today, there are five types of mobile learning content formats worth considering:
- Pre-training: To start student participation, raise awareness or give quick information that invites him/her to want to know the most important thing about the program.
- Formal training: Think about microlearning and personalized experiences.
- Just-in-time learning and work aids: To provide on-the-job training and quick review resources such as PDF files, eBooks, and podcasts.
- Social learning and self-directed: Use mobile apps for gamification, social learning, and self-directed learning experiences.
- Post-training follow-up: Keep the trainer connected with students even after they have completed training: Offer micro-challenges and mini questionnaires to verify their learning or provide practice opportunities.
Read more: Start Thinking of Micro-Learning Moments Now
Also read: The Rapid Rise of Learning Pathways
Challenge #3: Tracking The Entire Learning Experience (Online and Offline)
Data is essential to design and continuously optimize training programs. For this, you must have the right tools to properly inform your decision-making process.
It is normal that if you are investing in mobile learning solutions you want to measure ROI. However, you should consider that mobile learning courses are not separate from the training and development ecosystem.
Therefore, measuring student performance may be complex if you don't have the right technology in place.
With the help of xAPI and LRS technology, you will be able to track online and offline experiences, on any mobile device used by your students. This way you will be able to know when the user, for example, has switched from a mobile device to a desktop computer while taking the course.
A wide variety of experiences beyond the typical LMS tasks can also be tracked, including informal learning activities, interactions with mobile apps, and even activities related to job performance.
When a student participates in an activity, for example, pauses a training video, an activity flow statement is sent to the LRS stating "X paused the video." Therefore, each activity is tracked, recorded, and stored within an LRS.
As a result, by having all this information now available, you can optimize the way you create and deliver content, measure performance, and track interactions.
Please note that your LMS may offer integration with an LRS. The LRS is not a substitute for the LMS! Instead, pairing the LRS with the LMS will allow you to collect accurate data to enhance the learning experience.
Although mobile learning offers many benefits for companies and their employees, it also entails some challenges, which if not known and addressed, will make this strategy more difficult to succeed.
Have you faced some of these mobile learning challenges? Tell us in the comments!