Last year we passed an important milestone. In 2015, more people accessed the internet through mobile devices than through desktop, laptop and other connected services combined. These are US figures for mobile trends, but the global picture is not much different – and what this tells us is that we are now beyond asking whether mobile is important. We know it’s important.
The more critical question for organisations is how to deal with this new situation – how they optimise the products and services they offer to meet the new expectations this rapid and enthusiastic adoption of mobile technology has produced among consumers.
And for ‘consumers’, read ‘learners’. Remember, learners are consumers too (they don’t automatically morph into some different type of lifeform when they slip on a corporate lanyard). Learners whose expectations are changing.
The expectation is they will be able to do everything they want to do online irrespective of their location, or the device they are using. And when it comes to content engagement, the giants of technology such as Facebook and Google have shaped expectations that make them more intolerant than ever of a poor user experience.
The result is, we are seeing behavioural and technological shifts that will have an increasing impact, going forward, on how and when an employee’s learning and development takes place.
So, to get more specific, what are the three key mobile trends that are shaping the way learners expect to interact with content?
Three key mobile trends
1. Mobile first
Newer entrants in the consumer tech space in recent years such as Snapchat and Uber have positioned their services around a ‘mobile first’ launch, often resulting in limited functionality for users on larger screen desktop-based devices. While this is extreme, and nobody would want to ‘dumb down’ learning environments, Mobile is definitely changing the way people design for desktop. More scrolling, less clicking, is one obvious change: we see that everywhere on the web.
While mobile optimisation is often considered to be primarily about screen size, with the increased adoption of tablets, phablets and everything in between, the other big shift in focus is around the interfaces to products and services themselves. Rich interactive interfaces built in proprietary technologies such as Flash simply won’t work and interface design now needs to consider touch input the primary mode of use rather than mouse and keyboard.
3. Context of Use
The visual elements of a screen such as text, buttons and images need to be at a size and position suitable for some viewing on a small screens, with a focus on presenting information that is most critical and relevant to the context in which it is likely to be used. A primary consideration when designing for multi-device becomes context of use. As users move from desktop to mobile the context of use can change radically. A mobile learner might be accessing your LMS on a tablet, reclining on a sofa in front of the TV at night – or on a smartphone, strap-hanging on a commuter train first thing in the morning. In either case, the way they interact with an interface will be very different from when they are in the office, seated at a desktop computer.
Optimising for mobile learners
Whilst we are not at a point where digital learning content is primarily consumed via mobile devices it is clear that mobile has a key role play in the challenge to increase learner engagement.
There are two areas we have identified the should be the focus for your organisation in optimising for mobile learners
- Access to learning content needs to be in a way which is suitable for learners on mobile devices
- Digital learning content need to be delivered in a way it can be launched, interacted with and tracked on mobile devices
At Lumesse we are committed to providing you with the tools which enable you to continue to improve your mobile.
Version 8 of Learning Gateway provides an out-of-the-box solution to searching, launching and tracking e-learning content on mobile devices as well as the flexibility to integrate that functionality into your existing mobile assets.
To hear more about how you can mobilise to meet the changing expectations of learners, why not check out our webinar:
In CourseBuilder, our content authoring platform, we have provided a rich toolset to enable the building of learning experiences which can adapt to the device that the user is accessing that content through. We have a webinar on that subject too!