What is the Current State of mLearning Design?

eLearning Guild mLearning Design chatThe following post is a summary of the inaugural #GuildChat hosted by the eLearning Guild. The chat took place on Twitter on May 15th.

This past Wednesday afternoon was an exciting time to be on Twitter if you were a fan of mLearning. A group of learning professionals gathered to chat about the topic, with the conversation graciously hosted and guided by the eLearning Guild. For the Axonify team, it provided the opportunity to learn and share some insights into what design considerations are important in mLearning. Here are the questions that were discussed:

1. How do you define mLearning?

Our definition of mLearning is any kind of learning that can be accomplished through a mobile device in any environment. Here are some other answers from learning professionals that attended the chat:

@tomspiglanin – learning whenever, wherever using mobile; not portable learning
@ZephyrLRN – learning on a smartphone or hand held device
@Quinnovator – learning and performance in context, augmented by mobile digital technology

2. What makes mobile learning unique?

The biggest difference in mobile learning is the content and content delivery. The content should be bite-sized and easier to consume than traditional classroom content. Here are some other answers:

@eGeeking – finding the exact answer you need the exact moment you need it… regardless of where you physically are
@Dave_Ferguson – less structure; less control over learning/enviro; potential for more job-centeredness.
@LnDDave – mobile learning is unique because it doesn’t require a break from the work; it can be a part of the work.

3. What makes a device ‘mobile’ and how are mobile devices unique?

A mobile device has a much smaller screen size when compared to a desktop device and they are unique in terms of the way they display content. More answers:

@JD_Dillion – I’d define device as a tool that lets me access contextual information while easily carrying it around
@LnDDave – To me a qualification for a mobile device is that it is almost always with me, like my keys or my wallet.
@robertshields – a mobile device is always online/connected and does not require wired power

4. What does a quality mLearning experience look like? What criteria does such an experience include?

A quality mLearning experience should most of all be intuitive and adaptive (not all mobile devices are the same). Here are some other answers:

@eGeeking – Thoughtfulness about the pros/cons of someone trying to learn outside of an office/desk/classroom
@megbertapelle – focused, short, useful, meaningful, easy and fast
@Quinnovator – makes you successful in the moment, and/or develops you over time where/whenever

5. What examples can you share of a mobile device supporting desired performance outcomes?

One of the most useful examples of mLearning is training a mobile sales team. Pushing new content to a sales team where they are (so that they don’t have to leave their specified territory) is highly beneficial to a global organization. Here are more answers:

@xpconcept – Saw technicians working on a generator overhaul used camera during disassembly to create a map for reassembly.
@AndreaMay1 – Coast Guard uses mobile checklists for inspections…can’t memorize or carry book on every type of ship.
@LisaAGoldstein – Needing first aid tips while too away from help – finding the information you need to succeed in the moment

6. What mistakes are commonly made in the design of mLearning?

We feel the biggest mistake made in mLearning design is not adapting the content for a mobile device. Here are some other answers:

@chris_benz – Cramming entire courses onto tiny screens. Not using mobile capabilities.
@eGeeking – not thinking of the limitations of being out and about while learning
@visualrinse – Not planning for multiple screen aspect ratios and sizes. It’s a multiscreen world.

The topic of mLearning is one that is garnering an increasing amount of attention. What are your thoughts on some of the questions posed by the eLearning Guild? If you are interested in finding out more about all things mLearning in person, join us and many others at the mLearn Conference in June!

Written by Shum Attygalle.

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