Are your courses multi-device compatible? With minimal effort, you can make your courses look beautiful on desktop, tablet and mobile devices by simply using the right tools. In this article, we’ll share seven mobile learning design strategies to help you create and control mobile layouts.
Mobile learning design basics
Responsive (or Adaptive) design means that your design adapts to the screen it is viewed on. Simply put, smaller screens have less space. You can’t fit as much on the screen, and the layout adjusts accordingly.
Mobile learning design is important to ensure your projects work across multiple devices – especially as more and more people use mobile products or tablets to access learning. People expect to be able to take training wherever they are, with whatever device they happen to have in their hand.
Modern authoring tools – like Elucidat – enable you to create learning content that is available to your audience anywhere, on any device. Elucidat’s responsive mode slider allows you to easily build, test and view your mobile layouts.
At the top of your content window in Build and Preview mode is a “View mode” icon. From here, you can use the slider to move between different screen sizes, or select from a list of common devices and screen resolutions.
Why is mobile learning design important?
Modern learners are consuming your learning content in different ways than the past.
The average person checks their smartphone nine times an hour. That’s a lot, right? It’s just one reason why creating mobile compatible learning content is essential.
This infographic provides some valuable information about modern-day learning behaviors, and how people are supporting their own professional performance and development.
Modern learners want multi-device learning. They want to learn on their own time, on the move and on their own devices.
Here are a couple more stats to back up this trend:
- 67% of people learn on mobile devices, with 70% using their own smartphone to learn.
- People access learning in a variety of places, with 52% accessing content at the point of need, 47% during the evenings and weekends, and 27% on the way to and from work – learning no longer solely happens in the workplace environment!
But what kind of learning content do learners want to access on mobile devices?
Learners are using mobile devices to access content on the move, on the fly, on the way to meetings. These short windows of time require short pieces of content. Microlearning modules and mini learning experiences work well on mobile, as well as learning resources that people can dip in and out of when they have time or when they need it.
Knowing what learning content works well on mobile devices (and what doesn’t) will help you decide where to focus your time. While Elucidat allows you to push everything out on mobiles, that doesn’t mean that you always should.
Here’s a list of content that works great on mobile:
- Quick glance microlearning (short, 2-3 minute modules)
- Video content
- Simple interactions, such as polls
- Short quizzes
And here’s a list of content that might call for a different approach:
- Longer compliance modules, with a whole run of complex interactions
- Systems training modules with detailed screengrabs, or a system that isn’t mobile-compatible
Now, let’s look at some mobile learning strategies and examples – to give you inspiration on how layouts can be configured to work effectively across smaller devices. We have included some examples of each to help you get started quickly.
1. Same course, different image
Elucidat has amazing, responsive features that allow you to customize your layout for different screen sizes. That includes images, so if mobile performance is paramount, you can upload smaller or simpler versions of your images for mobiles.
For example, in this Health and Safety course, you can display different images depending on the screen size. Images have been swapped out in the mobile view to ensure no details are lost for learners on smaller devices.
2. Using an image explorer? Fix the width!
The majority of layouts in Elucidat use a grid layout to reposition items neatly across mobile devices without additional editing. However, a couple of the more flexible layouts need a little extra love across different view modes. We’ve made this as easy as possible for you by adding in some handy variations.
For example, in this single page demo, you can see how you can apply a fixed width variation to image explorer templates. This enables accurate positioning of the hotspots in each view mode.
Note: If you find you want all image explorer layouts to have a fixed width image field, you can edit the default setup of the pages using Layout Designer.
3. Using Layout Designer to simplify for mobile
Elucidat’s Layout Designer feature can be used to apply global layout settings across different view modes. You can simplify the navigation bar by removing unessential elements.
For example, in this course on using Skype, variations have been applied to hide the logo and progress counter in the bottom navigation bar on screens with a width of less than 480px. This prevents elements from stacking vertically on mobile devices and taking up precious screen space.
Now let’s look at some top tips for setting up your layouts effectively across smaller devices.
4. Plan ahead so you can save time down the line
Consider responsive design at the beginning of your project, so you can really save time further down the line. Ask yourself if the project needs to work across all devices and view modes, or if there is a particular device that you know your learners are going to be using.
If it’s the latter, you can target this screen size in particular when creating and testing your layouts. The drop down device list next to the view mode slider will come in handy for this!
5. Keep graphics simple
Keep in mind learners who might access your content on smaller devices. Avoid uploading images with detail that might be lost on small screens.
If complex images can’t be avoided, perhaps you could also upload them in a supporting PDF document.
6. Choose interactions wisely
Are the interactions you have chosen going to work across all screen sizes?
Detailed images and complex interactions can look great and work really well on larger devices with a lot of screen space, but on mobile devices they can be lost. You don’t want your interactions to become difficult to use because of the limited space available.
Think about the amount of on-screen content and complexity of interactions at an early stage in the project. This will help you avoid issues down the line.
Want to use a drag and drop page type? That’s okay! But try keeping answer options and drop areas to a minimum, so they don’t cause headaches for mobile users.
7. Edit the image settings
The different image modes really come in handy when designing for different screen sizes. An image set to original mode in desktop view might become cropped when you move down to mobile view.
By setting the image mode to Contain in the smaller view modes, you can ensure no part of the image is cropped.
If you do decide to keep with the Original view mode, controlling the X and Y position will help you determine which parts of the images become cropped on smaller screens.
Remember: You can always remove images entirely from smaller screen sizes if you really want to save space. Don’t delete the entire image box, since that will remove it from the page as a whole. Instead select “Remove this Image” within the image editing controls in your desired view mode:
Ready to improve your learning design skills? We have created a free training product that covers a variety of different elearning disciplines. It is delivered online as a set of bite-sized inspirational modules (powered by Elucidat, of course).
Click here to learn more about our free Masterclass HQ training product, which is packed with 17 courses to help you improve your learning design skills.
Interested in trying Elucidat for free? Click here to get started with a free 14-day full-access trial.
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