Six Instructional Design Tactics for Mobile Learning

Designing Digitally


Mlearning Tactics

As an instructional designer, you need to plan ahead if you are designing mobile learning. More than likely, your employees all have different types of phones and tablets. This means their screen sizes, operating systems, features, and even user interfaces vary. You need to keep these differences in mind before you create mobile learning materials. It is not practical to design the same learning for different devices – for example, one version for the tablet, one for the smartphone, and one for laptops. The time, effort, and resources required for it are not worth it. So, if you are designing one version for all the devices, then you have to take the smaller screen size into consideration first.

Here are six design tactics to consider for mobile learning design .

#1: Design to engage

Most of your learners are busy. They get bored and distracted easily. In order to capture their attention, you need to design learning that is engaging and helps them learn easily. You can leverage gamification to spark interest and then capitalize on the opportunity by embedding learning nuggets. Be sure to pepper in some interactions so that the learning is not a one-way conversation.

#2: Use time and mobile real-estate wisely

Mobile real-estate is precious. It is important to only use text and images that directly support the content. Learners will ignore a tiny screen packed full of bullet points, or be overwhelmed by a collage of microscopic images. Summarize the information to be as lean as possible. Also, avoid using unnecessary banners, logos, buttons, and interface elements. Place all navigational buttons at the bottom of the screen so learners can reach them with their thumb.

#3: Include scenario-based learning

Scenario-based learning improves a learner’s engagement level. It stretches their critical thinking and decision-making skills. Using interactive branching scenarios engage learners as they experience a real-life situation that they can identify with. They get to make decisions and face the consequences of their actions. Then, apply this learning in the workplace. You should use characters that are relatable to the learners. The situations you create should have the right level of challenge – neither too hard not too easy to solve. And, make sure you provide relevant feedback to the learners at every decision point.

#4: Keep it short and light

Mobile learning is all about keeping it bite-sized. Your modules should be designed to complete in short sessions while learners are on the go, or to provide immediate reference while they’re working in the field. In most cases, learners will view these modules on their data connection. This means it will take longer to load or open the module, and learners with limited data plans may monitor the amount of information they stream on their devices. You can help by keeping modules short and reducing the number of images, videos, and audio files you use. Plus, compress your assets as much as possible before importing them into your mLearning authoring software.

#5: Use simple assessments

Assessments are important to evaluate how well your learners have grasped the knowledge of the course. It is equally important for mobile learning. Ensure that the questions are linked to the learning goals and keep them simple. Do not give them too many options for answers. And, provide instant feedback to explain why their response is right or wrong. That way, your learners will realize their mistake and remember to not repeat it at the workplace.

#6: Consider the user experience with the device

Not all devices have the same size or resolution. When you choose graphics and other media elements, you must take these considerations in mind. Users should be able to click, zoom, or pinch the screen easily. Most users navigate on their mobiles with a single hand, too. They prefer using their thumb while standing or moving through screens. Consider designing for single hand, too. In most instances, your learner’s device has the landscape and portrait orientation. Decide if you want the content to adapt to both the orientations or present it only in one way.

As an instructional designer, you can choose a number of strategies for creating mobile learning materials. There is no one approach that is perfect. Take your target audience into account and move ahead on the path.

At Designing Digitally, we create custom mLearning modules designed for quick reference in the field, tablet and phone-friendly versions of our eLearning and serious game courses, and custom developed phone apps for Android and iOS stores.

Get in touch with our experts today and learn more about implementing mobile learning at your organization.