Less is more: Challenges for Instructional Designers in mobile learning

 A lot is being spoken about mobile learning these days and it is becoming a popular medium of learning for new-age learners today. In the new future, mobile learning will no longer be a choice rather it will become a compulsory mode of learning. This is simply because of the reason that most of us today carry a smartphone or a tablet. This infographic depicts why mobile learning will be future of workplace learning. The increase in sales of smartphone and tablets have created an opportunity to make the learning available to the learner anytime and anywhere.

So, while it is indeed a great news for the industry, this also brings a lot of challenges especially for the Instructional Designers to make the learning available to the learner via the mobile device. Let us look at some of these challenges.

Information density is low

This is the biggest hurdle that comes in a way as you need to fit the entire content and that too in a limited area. Usually, an information density for mobile learning is low than any eLearning course. This means that you must design the course for shorter attention span and memory limitations. It is generally recommended to design bite-size chunks of information that should take no longer than five minutes to process.

Screen size is small

The biggest challenge for any instructional Designer to design and develop the learning for mobile device is its limited screen size. As IDs, we need to keep in mind that smaller screen size of a mobile device that makes the navigation very cumbersome than on a PC or a laptop.

Luke Wroblewski rightly said, “Small screen sizes force you to prioritize what really matters to your customers and business. There simply isn’t room for anything else.”

Lack of common development platform

This is another major concern for any Instructional Designer that needs to be considered while designing the content for the mobile devices. There are a plethora of mobile devices available in the market today and each of these devices come with a different operating system, such as Android, iOS, Windows, and so on. As an ID, we need to ensure that the content we design will work for a couple of operating systems if not all of them.

Lack of proper security on mobile devices

A research indicated the technological infrastructure and security as a major challenge to implement mobile learning especially in the workplace. Most organizations are reluctant to implement mobile learning due to cyber security as they are not willing to compromise on the security and risk potential breaches of their networks.

“One size fits for all” syndrome

This is another possible concern for IDs as mostly we had been used to design and develop the learning for desktop elearning. So, most of the times, we often are tempted to just hit the Publish HTML5 button to make the learning in sync with the mobile. In reality, this is not true as the eLearning was simply designed to be used by the earner via the mouse whereas mobile learning requires a much bigger touch target for our fingers. This difference changes everything in terms of design and look and feel and this proves the fact that we need to get out of the “One size fits for all” syndrome. RJ Jacquez have listed some more guidelines to explain this fact in his blog.

So, here are my top five challenges that I believe Instructional Designers need to overcome in order to transition from elearning to mobile learning.

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