"Mobiles are small devices. That is what makes them most suitable to fit your pocket and schedule as and when you like them. However, implementing a mobile-learning strategy involves a careful understanding of how far current LMSs are capable of developing and delivering content on the mobile platform."
As the adoption of mobile devices increase, so does the demand for information to be readily accessible from them. As educators, we face the challenge of getting our courses online and modifying our design to meet that delivery method. However, the “online” delivery method is complex in that it can entail a range of devices ranging from desktop computer, tablets, smartphones, to the next big thing.
Even though you might not be designing your course to be taken solely on a mobile device, there is a high chance that your students will access it in this way. In today’s post, I am going to discuss some best practices to consider when designing yours courses so that they accommodate for mobile access.
1. Use a responsive theme. Moodlerooms recently released the Snap theme for Joule. This is a responsive theme that will provide users with the best experience when accessing Joule from a mobile device. If you are using Express for your site theme, you can use Snap for individual courses or your Site Administrator can set it as the default theme for any users accessing from a mobile device or tablet.
2. Rethink your content structure. First off, you clearly have less real estate with mobile. Because of this, there is more scrolling. Evaluate your course structure and make adjustments as necessary. As you design, you might want to rethink the chunking of your content to work with the mobile experience. Also, try keeping the important content at the top of the screen, so that it is read first, not last.
3. Rethink your graphic selections and layouts. While responsive sites will adjust the size of your media elements automatically to best fit the screen real estate, you might want to reconsider the overall design selections. You will want to avoid wide images that pan across the screen, tables, and the float attribute for image layout. Also, consider removing the height and width attributes for optimal display. Lastly, performance on mobile devices can be slower, so make sure you are optimizing your media appropriately.
4. Provide students with expectations for how materials can be accessed. You can include these expectations in your course syllabus. For example, you may have materials such as interactives or documents that will require access from a desktop or laptop computer.
5. Use a video player that will work across devices. You’ve probably heard the Flash versus HTML5 controversy, and you might be confused on how to best deliver media to your students. You will want to choose a mobile friendly player. You will also want to be consistent with which player you use throughout the course. Provide students with this expectation in the course syllabus. It is ok to tell students how your videos will best be viewed.
6. Use eLearning tools that support mobile content. There are many eLearning tools that output to HTML5 allowing you to integrate mobile friendly content.
7. Design for mobile access from the start. If you are designing a new course, you have the benefit of working in the best practices from the start. Consider an iterative design approach so that you can test the mobile experience after one module is developed.
8. Consider new activities. Your students most likely have a smart phone and love to use it. Why not use this to your advantage and make use of that functionality as part of your course activities? Think about the advantages of instant polling, capturing progress or findings through multimedia, documenting field trip experiences, and recording voice for submission.
9. Try accessing your course from a mobile device. Start with the smallest sized device that you own, and work your way up. By doing this alone, you will reach your a-ha moment more quickly. Take some time to identify any challenges in your design and consider making improvements. Sometimes, small changes can make a huge impact!
10. Ask your students for feedback! Consider polling your students. Find out if they are using their mobile device and how they are using it. Are they simply using it for message, to view grades, or are they going through course materials? The more you learn about your students the better equipped you’ll be to improve your course.
CoSN has just published a "guide provides key information and tips to educate and support administrators interested in implementing mobile learning. It addresses common questions from administrators including...:
"According to the NMC Horizon Report 2014: K-12 Edition, the uptake of BYOD in American schools has increased by over 30% in the past year, with 56% of school districts currently implementing BYOD programs. “This model ultimately gives learners ownership of their learning, as they are entrusted to demonstrate their mastery of required competencies in methods of their choosing, and select the technological tools they need to do this. Education researchers highlight BYOD as the technology practice that will best accommodate this vision of personalized learning.” According to further research, 70% of students report a significant increase in motivation for learning using mobile technology."
Over the last 2 decades, eLearning emerged as a highly effective medium of training, and now mLearning is also gaining equal importance. So what is the difference between eLearning and mobile learning?
Mobile devices have become deeply engrained in our everyday lives. From reading to schedule management to entertainment to GPS, it is The Multi-Purpose Gadget in our lives and some have even said to suffer from the “phantom limb” syndrome without it! Mobile Learning, or mLearning for short, lets learners learn and get performance support via their mobile devices. This article introduces to you the unique features of mLearning, what it can be used for and the difference between mLearning and traditional eLearning.
Aurion Learning is pleased to announce the beta availability of their new digital storytelling tool; storee.
The beta release is made available to allow a broad user base to test, evaluate and provide feedback on the new online storytelling tool.
Aurion Learning designed and built storee to help make it easy for people of all technical abilities, to create and share their stories using their own text, audio, video clips and photos online.
“We’re excited about creating a vibrant digital storytelling community,” said Dr. Maureen Murphy, Managing Director at Aurion Learning “storee’s features combined with its easy to use interface will provide the best user experience and most importantly one of the efficient ways to create and share short stories online.”
"It’s not always a good idea to adapt your existing content for mobile. Avoid it if you can, and create mLearning from scratch that supports what you already have. But if you must—then these guidelines should keep you in good stead.”
"When smartphones first became popular, the struggle was to shrink Internet Explorer to the size of a playing card. The internet browser was the de facto app installed on every computer—it allowed you to browse the web. For many, the web browser is a computer. (See Google Chromebooks.)
It quickly became clear that squeezing desktop actions on handheld technology was backwards. Mobile-first thinking changed things. Facebook became mobile-first—which meant that it’s designed to not just be accessed on your phone, but work better on your phone. Websites are often now responsive, scaling to the size of your screen."
The theme for the United Nation’s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty this year is to ‘think, decide and act together against extreme poverty’ so we’ve compiled a list of five learning apps that are working towards this purpose and making a positive impact on the world.
Mobile apps are increasingly popular because they allow learners to tap into on-demand, bite sized and just in time learning both wherever and whenever they want to.
The apps we want to highlight stick out because they deliver short, relevant pieces of information that either create awareness of the daily struggles faced by those in poverty or else provide users with the information they need to make informed decisions.
"When it comes to successful eLearning design, everybody should agree that there’s no such thing as too much information about how the human brain operates. It’s wired for social learning. Our respective environments actually shape our brains and the rest of our bodies."
n less than a decade, mobile technology has spread to the furthest corners of the planet. Of the estimated 7 billion people on Earth, 6 billion now have access to a working mobile phone. Africa, which had a mobile penetration rate of just 5% in the 1990s, is now the second largest and fastest growing mobile phone market in the world, with a penetration rate of over 60% and climbing.
For many companies the first step towards mLearning seems to be adapting existing eLearning content for mobile use. Moving eLearning courses onto smartphones is not the best approach for mLearning—the context for using mobile content is very different. (See “Right Time and Place: mLearning Use Cases” in the Related Articles listed at the end of this article.)
“These were just some of the common challenges and considerations we thought would be worthwhile sharing. Responsive design can be complex and somewhat daunting, and we hope that we have made it easier for you to know where and when to use responsive development to make the user and device experience a more engaging one for your learners.”