Designing for Mobile Learning

When we speak of “mobile learning” we are referring to the distance learning environment involving the use of mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones for the distribution of content and activities. How to design content for mobile learning? In producing content for mobile learning the principles of usability of these tools cannot be neglected: small screens, touch interaction, the need for earphones to enjoy content inevitably involves a specific design. Today the type of objects in question is divided into two basic categories. 1. Mobile Ready

Languages that do not require manipulation in order to be enjoyed: this category includes movies, sound files, images. This approach is consumer oriented, cheaper and allows for use in various contexts, but it fails to offer a unique and specific user experience.

2. Mobile First

Everything that is vertically designed for devices, considering them the sole delivery platform. In order to achieve good results, scenarios should be considered which are not contemplated by classic eLearning (people moving, crowded places, tight deadlines…). Although this approach is more expensive, if properly articulated it will enable the mobile learning experience to be more effective and seamless.

Mobile Learning as an opportunity to form Sales Networks It is not difficult to visualise these tools as the preferred channels for reaching professional roles or functions for whom classic eLearning and classroom training are often difficult to organise and exploit. These categories include people involved in sales networks: professional figures primarily on the move who are distributed throughout the territory and very often on the road. The availability of mobile tools means that these can be exploited at any stage of one’s working activity, such as when on the move or when waiting, at which point the company’s educational content can be accessed, thus contributing to one’s sales performance. The different tools and sources available may be divided into three categories.

SUPPORT All the material that may prove useful to the sale itself, such as catalogues, brochures, technical sheets. TRAINING All the activities which may assist in memorising information, repeating and consolidating knowledge e.g. quizzes, serious games, community activities, but also training pills on soft skills. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT Information and training on new products, changes in business strategies that can be communicated by video, audio or other interactive media, in order to teach new concepts.

A little common sense If the aim is to lay the foundations for a mobile learning system, the study and observation of seller behaviour, workflow and contexts involved cannot be neglected. Obviously designing very specific training courses can involve risks, not least because of the speed at which technology is changing. An effective, concrete strategy could be to balance Mobile Ready content with Mobile First solutions, even accompanying both with the more traditional classroom sessions accompanied by a rigourous, useful and engaging mix of languages. Paolo Limoncelli

written by: Paolo Limoncelli , 22 July 2015

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