mLearning—short for mobile learning—is picking up steam with health systems due to a workforce on the move. I often see companies try to shrink their eLearning courseware to fit pocket-sized devices. But mLearning isn’t just miniaturized eLearning as I discussed in my previous post on how to tell when eLearning or mLearning is a better choice.
Do your mobile-learners a favor ̶ avoid these six common mistakes as you convert existing eLearning to mLearning:
- Migrating an eLearning course as-is to the mobile platform. Evaluate your eLearning content and use storyboards to plan for smaller screen sizes. Advanced planning can show changes you’ll need for a course to succeed as mLearning. With eLearning, a course is likely to be 20 minutes or longer. The recommended length for mLearning is three to 10 minutes. Break your content into bite-sized chunks, with each screen conveying a single idea, and each lesson having a small learning objective.
- Ignoring the context of mobile learners. Employees are likely to access mLearning on the go. You can’t count on their undivided attention. They may use it for 10 minutes over a cup of coffee or while waiting in an airport. Their environment could be crowded, noisy and subject to interruption. Design your content so it can be consumed in short bursts.
- Designing for one device only. Learners may access mLearning from a plethora of portable electronic devices: mobile phones, tablets and digital readers of all sizes. Who knows what the future has in store? Design your content so it works on multiple devices.
- Ignoring the constraints of mobile devices. Keep in mind that your learners will be staring at a small screen. The detail you can display in an eLearning graphic will disappear on mobile. You’ll need to redesign your graphics, such as breaking a graph down into multiple screens. Will bandwidth-hogging video work if learners have spotty Wi-Fi connections or low batteries? Keep animations and interactions to a minimum. Not all devices support Flash content, so consider republishing the source files to HTML5.
- Making learners type a lot or point with precision. Your learners will be using on-screen keyboards and pointing with their fingers. Avoid having the user enter text ̶ it takes too long and is prone to error on a small device. You may need to redesign or eliminate activities that rely on a mouse.
- Launching without adequate testing. Don’t make your users suffer through your mistakes. Find them yourself before you go live. Give yourself plenty of time for testing ̶ on multiple devices or on simulators.What’s your biggest mLearning win? Post a comment to share how you’re meeting the training needs of your mobile employees.