Mobile Learning: Follow These Design Principles

Designing Digitally


mlearning strategy

The more information the learner has to process simultaneously, the more difficult it becomes for them to process and retain. Therefore, learning must be designed to reduce cognitive load and not overload it. And, while this is true for all learning, it is more so for mobile learning. Mobile learning needs to be designed based on the research-based theory of how learners learn and retain information. Trainers need to keep in mind that all learners may not have large screen displays. They may be using their smartphones. The curriculum must be designed keeping the smallest device in mind.

Here are six designing principles to follow that will ensure effective mlearning solutions.

Multimedia principle

This principle deals with building a mental connect between written words and graphic representations. Consider using less text and supporting it with graphics. No learner likes to read through long, winding paragraphs on a smartphone. Avoid scrolls. It is frustrating for the learners to keep scrolling to read content. Use small text blocks to draw attention to a particular concept.

Modality principle

This principle deals with the mode of presenting various content. It makes sense to use audio instead of text. Audio works better than visual text unless words are absolutely necessary for complex concepts. It also saves screen space. But, learners must have access to headsets. Modality must be accessible.

Contiguity principle

The text should be kept close to the corresponding graphic, for the learner to be able to connect. Also, make sure that the feedback appears on the same page as the assessment question. Learners should not be directed to a new window for feedback.  

Redundancy principle

All redundant information need to be eliminated. If text and narration is together, make sure that the narration does not simply read out the text on the screen. What’s the point, right? If content can be explained with an infographic, then avoid text. Too much information conveying the same thing causes a cognitive overload for the learners. It also creates boredom for the learners.

Coherence principle

Including irrelevant graphics, background, or music do not have any value to the learner. Include something only if it will help in the learning process. Otherwise, it just adds to the cognitive load. Learners may not want to utilize their bandwidth downloading data that has no value.

Personalization principle

Use conversational tone instead of a formal style. Ideally, use a first or second person. However, that does not mean the tone should be over-friendly. Consider using a mascot that will guide the learners during the course. In mlearning, a visual agent may take up precious space, so think of using an audio agent, or maybe use a small icon. This mascot or agent will pop up and create a conversation with the learner based on their needs.

At Designing Digitally, Inc., our experts can create mlearning solutions that enhance performance. Our solutions are media-rich and are optimized for the latest mobile devices.

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