Multiple Devices in e-learning
With the world changing by the hour, education keeps progressing too. The current generation of students already live in a world of 3D models, easy internet access, and mobile devices.
It is exciting to imagine what the 2030s University freshmen will be like. Children who are toddlers today are developing their technological fluency before they start to speak.
They will certainly have a different view on education and learning.
Don’t panic, we've got you covered!
A desktop version for the lesson is a given. What are the other devices we would like to see the course on? All kinds of mobile devices!
There are a number of benefits to including mobile devices in your learning and development plan:
- Students can assess the information literally whenever they want, and wherever they are
- Mobile devices can create a new, exciting interaction mode
- Such devices are generally owned by a specific person, therefore they could provide a more suitable experience (such as including accessibility features for students with special needs or special reading fonts for learners with dyslexia)
- Extending the reach of face-to-face events by providing a companion/community like environment
- Delivering e-learning materials to the devices which are now more affordable compared to a desktop computer
In the old days, delivering e-learning content on a mobile device meant designing a specific interface for each device. Now new devices are much more compatible with being included in the educational environment. At Competentum, we are keen on showing how great it is for the students when educators pay attention to their specific needs and their proximate environment.
If you like numbers, come closer, because according to Cisco, by the end of 2014, the number of mobile-connected devices exceeded the number of people on earth, and by 2017, there will be nearly 1.4 mobile devices per capita. Google, on the other hand found out that 90% of users use multiple screens sequentially to accomplish a task over time.
In other words, we need to design learning that is intelligent, flexible, and fluid to work everywhere and on any device, we need to provide content that is device-agnostic, if you will. One important step is to make sure that the content does not require specific applications, and is accessible with a single URL. This is why Responsive Web Design (RWD) makes perfect sense as the future of Learning Design because it takes all of these trends into consideration.
With features that detect the device's screen size, the application adjusts their interface to display the content appropriately for the screen size. It allows us to adapt what sort of interactivity will be displayed. This way the experience is not limited by the device size and shape. This responsive adaptation eliminates the need to maintain different versions of the same content for different devices. Which is great news for anyone bothering with the platform maintenance. We are also using this technology to build native apps for smartphone platforms, web apps, or even traditional e-learning modules.
When we are creating a course that is going to be used on many screen sizes, we are making sure that:
- It includes dynamic layouts which helps elements to make the most of the space available
- It automatically detects the features of the device being used and applies an appropriate style to all onscreen elements
- All images can be scaled to complement the device being used at the time
- Links, buttons, and characters are large enough to touch with a finger
- All of the elements are responsive to the device-friendly motions. For example, drag and drop activity is great for an iPad
- Content is distributed within the usable spaces on the screen. For instance, we are intentionally placing the dialogue choices at the bottom so that learners have easy access, regardless of if they are left or right-handed.
This represents an innovative approach to design and course navigation. Pages are constructed by combining a wide range of interactive components in any number and mix. A scrolling page layout, which comes with this innovation, leverages much of the latest technology in web design while adjusting for a more web-savvy audience. However, if something does not feel right, more traditional linear layouts are just as easy to implement.
While we do not know exactly what the future of technology holds for us, one thing is for certain, we will continue to see more and more mobile smartphones, tablets, touch-enabled computers, and wearables too. The number of different screen sizes between all of these devices will continue to increase, and the only way to future-proof our learning design is by creating fluid content that can scale intelligently across all of these screens.
When you design learning that is intelligent, regardless of the device and the size of the screen, the result is happy students who are keen to devote their best efforts to learning.