“Supply and demand” may be a marketing term, but it also pertains to eLearning delivery methods. An increasing number of learners are now demanding multi-platform eLearning courses. In this article, I’ll offer 8 tips for creating smartphone, tablet, and wearable tech-friendly eLearning.
How To Create Multi-Platform eLearning Courses
As technology has evolved, the educational sector has evolved with it. Mobile phones, tablets, smartwatches, and laptops are now providing learners with instant access to online learning materials. But how do you design an eLearning course that not only supports these delivery platforms, but also packs the same punch as your desktop eLearning experiences?
Make your mobile learning course a tactile eLearning experience.
One of the most notable benefits of using a tablet or smartphone to access eLearning is interactivity. While most eLearning courses rely on a point-and-click format, mobile learning courses can offer an immersive and fully tactile eLearning experience. There is a caveat to this, however. The “touch” elements within the eLearning course must be the right size, as learners need to be able to tap on them when using a variety of different mobile devices. For example, buttons that are too close together or too small may be “untouchable” for learners on smaller screens. You may also want to consider integrating swiping motions into your eLearning course design to take full advantage of device capabilities.
Research your audience to set minimum requirements.
While researching the educational background and experience levels of your audience is essential, creating multi-platform eLearning courses also calls for device usage statistics. What mobile devices are your learners using to access the eLearning course? The answer to this question will help you determine your minimum eLearning design requirements. If most of your learners are using more advanced phones or tablets, you won’t have to worry about designing for older models. It’s best to select a range that your deliverable will fall into. For example, you may choose to develop mobile learning courses that are targeted to iPhone 6 and Android 5.0 learners and above. Then you won’t have to stretch your resources thin trying to develop multi-platform eLearning courses for every device.
Opt for readability over creativity when choosing fonts.
If you have your eye on a fancy font that you think will boost the visual appeal of your eLearning course, make sure that it’s completely legible before adding it into your eLearning design layout. Keep in mind that your learners are going to be accessing the eLearning course on smaller screen sizes, which means that they need readability over creativity when it comes to fonts. Use larger fonts, if possible, and opt for more “traditional” fonts, and follow the resolution/text rule: lower resolution requires larger text.
Use a responsive eLearning authoring tool.
Many eLearning authoring tools now offer a responsive design feature, which gives you the ability to create just one master eLearning course that can be viewed on all platforms. When your mobile learners access the eLearning course, its elements, such as menu, text boxes, etc., all adjust to offer the best possible eLearning experience. Regardless of whether your learner is on an iPhone or a tablet, they’ll be able to interact and engage with the eLearning content and activities.
Focus on ease of navigation.
There are few things more frustrating than accessing a mobile learning course, only to discover that you cannot use the navigation icons to click through to the next page or activity. Make navigation icons large and clearly visible, and avoid using hyperlinks to supplemental online resources. Tablet or mobile phone learners may find it difficult to click on tiny text links to access useful articles, eLearning videos, and external eLearning content.
Give learners control over audio elements.
Many of your learners are going to be accessing your eLearning course on-the-go. The beauty of using a smartphone, tablet, or even a smaller laptop to access eLearning is that you can participate anytime, anywhere. However, if you include an abundance of audio elements that provide key takeaways, your mobile learners aren’t going to acquire the information they need. Include subtitles and use text to highlight key concepts of the eLearning lesson. If you do have audio, integrate controls your learners can use to lower or mute the volume.
Use one design across the board.
Regardless of what devices your eLearning course supports, make sure that the instructional design is the same for every version, including color scheme, branding, and design elements. Doing so keeps the eLearning course design consistent, professional, and your learners know what to expect when they access the eLearning course on various platforms. This is yet another reason why responsive design authoring tools are ideal. You can create one master eLearning course, and the responsive design feature adapts that eLearning course to fit the resolution and screen size of the device. It’s cohesive and streamlined design at its finest and easiest.
Track user data to improve your multi-platform eLearning course strategy.
Analytics is an important tool in any eLearning strategy, but doubly so for multi-platform eLearning courses. You need to be able to keep track of what devices your learners are using and how they are interacting with the eLearning content. This gives you the opportunity to fine tune your eLearning strategy based upon the device preferences and learning needs of your audience. For example, if your analytics reveal that many of your learners are using an older operating system, you can adapt your eLearning course to that system. You can also pinpoint weak spots in your eLearning strategy, such as interactive elements that are not easy to navigate on smaller screens. In addition to user data, get feedback from your learners via surveys and polls to determine what is working and what needs to be modified.
Multi-platform eLearning courses give every member of your audience convenient access to your eLearning course, no matter what their technology-of-choice may be. Use these 8 tips to transform your eLearning course into an interactive and user-friendly mobile learning experience.