Designing Mobile Learning Solutions

With so much of our lives lived “on the go”, mobile learning has acquired a new paradigm. If designed correctly, mLearning can save time while providing just-in-time learning opportunities. However, to be successful, mobile learning solutions should not simply aspire to become classroom lectures on a tablet or smartphone. Here are five strategies and best practices to keep in mind when designing mLearning.

Best Practices

CourseArc on an iPhone Screen

  • Question Mobility:
    Before plowing all your resources into developing a mobile learning experience, ask whether the subject lends itself well to mobile delivery. Just like with eLearning, one can learn how to program using lessons on a smartphone or a tablet; but you certainly cannot teach someone how to become an astronaut purely through mobile learning experiences! In fact, mobile learning works best as a review and refresher training, quick coaching sessions, just-in-time learning, and evaluation and quiz-based learning.
  • Design for your Organization: Not every organization will have current technologies that support mobile learning solutions. Double check that your organization’s LMS has a mobile application before you start creating your mobile-friendly content.  Before developing mLearning, assess whether the expertise and resources to design secure mobile solutions are available.
  • Leverage Existing Tools/Apps: Before creating a new set of features and functionality, consider leveraging existing resources that work well for mobile users. Could you take advantage of your existing LMS or social media platforms, like Facebook, to promote discussion in your course? Why not build video content to be distributed through Vimeo, instead of hosting and managing your streaming service? Design mLearning to enable linking to existing Podcasts, or using texting or messaging services (Twitter, WhatsApp) and video calling apps (Skype, Google Hangouts, Apple Facetime) to disseminate your mobile content better. If you’re a CourseArc subscriber, your content is already mobile-friendly.
  • Be Consistent: Mobile users should know (intuitively and consistently) how to interact with your learning solution. Tapping, Double Tapping, Pinching & Spreading, Tilting & Moving, Pulling, Swiping, and Flicking or Long-presses should always elicit a predictable result based on the context of the application.
  • Deliver in Chunks: Delivering content chunks is one of the most important rules for mobile learning. When tasked with designing both eLearning it is suggested to use the mobile first approach. It is much easier to create a mobile friendly version of the course rather than going back and trying to retrofit the content. Be sure to test as you develop the content.

There is always the temptation for mobile learning solution designers to use all the bells and whistles available to them. However, the most effective mLearning solutions are those that have a simple, user-friendly design. The more redundant features, options and choices you embed into mLearning, the less “mobile” and enticing your solution becomes.


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