As mobile adoption skyrockets, enabling mobile learning is increasingly important. Here are four tips for doing it better.
If you’ve ever wondered about the importance of enabling mobile learning, here’s an interesting stat from Google for your noggin to noodle over—approximately 40% of people search only on a smartphone in an average day, and that means more Google searches are happening on smartphones than computers.
It’s a statistic that complements soaring mobile adoption: 80% of people use a smartphone; 57% use more than one type of device; and, by 2018, consumers will own and use three to four devices.
More mobile adoption means people spending more time on mobile devices acquiring knowledge—in other words, to learn. According to TNS global, millennials—many of whom are now in college—are on their smartphones almost three-and-a-half hours per day. They use mobile devices the most out of any age bracket.
More millennials are also entering or are already in the workforce. And while their mobile usage may be the highest, their more-seasoned colleagues are still getting good usage out of their mobile devices. Baby boomers are on their phones for one-and-a-half hours a day, and that’s plenty of time to do some serious learning.
Gen Z aren’t slouching either. According to a study from Emerging Strategy, 70% of K-12 students said they’re more motivated to learn when using mobile devices.
Mobile learning is all about easy access and flexibility. Harnessed effectively, it can create a more engaging learning experience and help improve student and employee performance and engagement—these days, students and employees want to be able to access learning whenever they want and using whatever devices they choose.
How to Enable Mobile Learning
Think “mobile first”
A mobile-first mentality is about proactively making sure all important learning experiences are created and optimized for mobile devices. Focus on implementing an easy-to-access, one-to-one learning strategy, but also on making learning overall more engaging, using mobile functionalities to do so.
Use responsive web design
Responsive web design is about usability to reach every learner. It adapts, letting learners and instructors access materials from any device regardless of manufacturer or operating system. It will also allow learners to start an activity on their laptop and easily switch to their tablet or smartphone without missing a beat.
Responsive design makes your own system “future-proof.” New devices introduced into the market will work seamlessly, which allows your organization to implement a bring-your-own-device learning strategy. And old hand-me-down devices will work too—learners of all ages who are inheriting older smartphones and tablets are still able to participate in mobile learning experiences.
Create native apps
Native apps can help specific learning experiences shine by putting them in a mobile context and taking advantage of functionalities like push notifications, swipe gestures, and location-based services. Mobile devices’ photo or video uploading capabilities, for example, are good for video assessments and feedback on the go.
If you’re using a native app in conjunction with a learning environment the app shouldn’t aim to replicate the whole learning environment experience. Instead, it should focus on the specific workflows learners can benefit from most in a mobile context, allowing students and instructors to interact with content, assignments, assessments and more.
Use universal file formats
If you’re going to reach all learners, you need to make sure they can all consume your content. Make sure to distribute your content using universal file formats that anyone can open on any device.
A Mac Keynote file, for example, might not open on an Android device, but a PDF will open on both. Also, while compressing a bunch of course documents into a Zip file might make it convenient to download all the materials at once, some learners might not be able to browse through files within the Zip file on their mobile device.