Key Learnings From the 2012 M-Learning Conference

mlearnconThis week I am attending the eLearning Guild’s MLearning Conference. There have been a number of ah-ha’s as I go through the week.

Here is a list of the things that I have learned or captured as being essential to thinking about mlearning.

1. Creating “traditional” learning activities on mobile devices is still in it’s infancy.

2. It is imperative to develop a mobile learning strategy prior to embarking on this new world. (more coming on this topic soon)

3. To the point above, effective mobile learning is NOT just putting your elearning course on a mobile device, it is re-thinking the learning experience in a world where people have access to information and performance support at their fingertips. (think about the difference between ILT and eLearning back in the day)

4. There has to be more focus on user experience and design than ever before. For example, when developing for mobile the navigation should always be at the bottom to keep it close to a learner’s thumbs. If you have it at the top, someone has to move their arm up the screen thus blocking their view of the content and breaking concentration. (this is different than traditional elearning where you typically place the navigation at the top to track with eye movements). Also, when possible, hide the menu so it doesn’t take up precious screen real estate.

5. Mobile learning should be in smaller chunks and perhaps augment a traditional learning experience. People aren’t going to sit on their phone or tablet to take a long course – they want small chunks of information or interactions to help them apply the knowledge they need to have.

6. When developing for a global audience, it is important to know that a lot of people are using their phone or tablet as their primary computer.

7. People want bullet points or At a Glance information first and then drill down into more detail if that is the topic they need to learn about.

8. Create intuitive interfaces and navigation. Follow the established guidelines for development but someone should never need instructions on how to navigate through your courses. Period.

9. Keep virtual keyboards in mind. If you are creating a form, use horizontal layout instead of vertical because then it won’t be covered by the keyboard. (this one I had never thought of prior to hearing it)

These thoughts are just a start. More to come in the next 2 days…