How to create engaging mobile learning courses Caroline Lawless Published on June 24, 2015 Mobile learning is revolutionizing the way that we learn. If you’re thinking of using your existing eLearning content and delivering it to your learners as mLearning it’s unlikely to be effective. eLearning and mLearning position the learner in completely different learning environments. This transition from stationary to portable devices has redefined the learning environment. One is sitting comfortably with a laptop or desktop computer and keyboard in front of them ready to learn. The other may be sitting on a bus with 15 minutes until they reach their destination. How has this change in environment affected learner engagement? Well, for one thing, learners may be more distracted. They no longer have to sit at their computer, they can now complete their courses while on the go. In order to hold your learner’s attention you need to devise a mobile learning strategy to ensure your courses are keeping learners digitally engaged instead of digitally distracted. Devising a mobile learning strategy When it comes to creating engaging mobile learning content it is vital that you identify your audience. Who are you learners? What do they know already? What do they need to know? Where and when will they access the course? In fact, these questions should be addressed irrespective of the device that will be used to access your course content. You can then use the answers to these questions to form the basis of your mobile learning strategy. When creating courses for mobile learning take the approach that these courses will be designed to complement your desktop learning courses, not replace them. Don’t force mobile learning, instead give your learners the option to choose their preferred platform by providing them with content for desktop, tablet and mobile devices. Keep it simple Reading text content on a mobile screen can be challenging at the best of times, especially if you need to retain the information being covered in the text. If possible go easy on text-based course content and if you do include it ensure the text font and size is mobile friendly and easy to read. Where possible try to use alternative content to text, can you present the same message in image, audio or video format? Using alternative content formats to text-based makes it easier for learners to engage. It’s also important to ensure the content is thumb friendly and easy to navigate through by using large buttons. If you in doubt test your courses with a control group, get their feedback and use this insight to improve the layout and structure of your mobile courses. When to use mobile learning You could decide that you’re only going to offer refresher or knowledge update courses for previously learned skills in your mobile courses suite. Or just-in-time learning in the form of bite-size courses that the learner can access and complete while on-the-job. Alternatively you may chose to incorporate mobile learning into the instructor led training environment using short mobile courses that feature video or audio learning content. Each of these scenarios requires simple content that avoids overloading the learner with information. Stay focused on the specific learning outcome or objective in order to ensure your course content is engaging. You can measure and track the effectiveness of your courses by including a short quiz or knowledge check at the end. This will provide your learners with real-time feedback on their own performance while allowing you to identify elements of the course that require improvement.