There is no doubt that our world has gone mobile, which is to say that mobile devices have become an indispensible part of our lives, personal as well as professional. Just look back a decade or two and you’re sure to be astounded by the way mobile technology has reshaped our world. Today, every industry and every domain is privy to the role mobile devices play in business environments across the world.

The role of mobile devices becomes especially evident when you look at the future generations and the future of work. With the global workforce expected to be 75% of millennials and generation Z by 2025, it is clear that both these generations will have a major say in the future of work. And, to effectively engage these generations, global organizations need a mobile first strategy that perfectly complements today’s modern learners’ lifestyles.

Being a learning technology professional, I have seen the impact mobile technology has had over eLearning, employee training and corporate Learning & Development (L&D) as a whole. Mobile Apps are extremely popular among millennials. They almost have an app for anything and everything. So, why should learning be any different?

ELearning and learning technology have certainly come a long way, and with increasing mobile penetration across the world and availability of high internet connectivity, global organizations have long realized the business opportunity in leveraging mobile devices to maximize the impact of corporate L&D. Developing eLearning courses and adapting training methodologies to better engage with today’s employees will certainly help organizations maximize learner engagement, knowledge retention, productivity and overall performance.

Mobile Learning or MLearning enables organizations to not only make considerable cost reductions but also save time by avoiding unnecessary logistical costs, enabling access to learning at the touch of a button, while employees have the flexibility to learn anytime, anywhere. As a result, forward-thinking organizations are already looking at boosting employee performance and productivity by engaging with the modern learners’ mobile lifestyle. However, MLearning has as much to do with the technology and/or the device as it has to do with eLearning, the courses’ design, mobile compatibility and readiness and more.

Most of our corporate customers are increasingly moving towards using UpsideLMS Mobile app, as it comes packed with the same set of features and upgrades as UpsideLMS, and supported by better network connectivity and speeds, it’s hardly a surprise why UpsideLMS Mobile App has been so popular among millions of users.

However, one of the key challenges we face with MLearning is with the customers being unhappy with how their eLearning content is displayed on the mobile devices. Although most of our users are well aware of the need for their content to be mobile compatible, they lack the general understanding of what ‘mobile compatible’ really means, through no fault of their own. Most of the time, as I have often realized, it’s a miscommunication or inept understanding or expectation setting between the eLearning course vendors and the customers.

For example, most of us prefer to browse any website or any kind of content on mobile devices in the default portrait mode as it’s the most natural way of browsing web content on a mobile device and almost all websites are optimized for this orientation. Unfortunately, many course development vendors often end up convincing customers that the best way to consume training on mobiles is in the landscape mode, and some even go as far as locking their content in landscape mode.

As preposterous as that sounds, I believe the reason eLearning course vendors do this is because the content was never designed considering a mobile-first strategy in the first place, and making the content mobile compatible was an afterthought. As a result, in such a case, the best and only solution for them is to simply shrink the layout and assets, which eventually ends up ruining the asset quality and resolution. As the vertical real estate of the mobile device available to content is much limited, and much of the space is taken over by course navigation options, the entire learning becomes extremely frustrating.

So, I have come to realize that when a user complains about a certain course not being compatible with UpsideLMS Mobile app, the issue is almost always at the course development vendor’s end and has nothing to do with the platform itself. Yet, as learn-tech solutions providers, we try our best to explain this issue to our customers and advise them to check the mobile compatibility of any eLearning course by opening the course in a mobile browser and then viewing the same course in landscape mode, followed by sharing a sample mobile compatible content that can be launched and experienced in portrait mode.

Unfortunately, by the time the real issue is revealed there is a certain air of disappointment and frustration around the whole project, while the content development vendor seldom owns any responsibility, suggesting it was never part of their scope of work. Meanwhile, the customer has budget constraints to even consider reinvesting any more in redesigning the same course for the second time. Most of the times we try our best to resolve the customers’ issues, often to positive outcomes, but the real issues still persist without a clear and present solution.

Takeaway: Organizations should always consider a mobile first strategy while designing their eLearning course content or instruct their content development vendor to design the course with a mobile first strategy right from the get-go. This will go a long way in ensuring clarity of individual objectives and will save costs, time and ensure the eLearning course is designed as per the stated requirements.

At UpsideLMS, we understand our clients’ challenges and business needs to offer the best possible solution for them to achieve their desired learning outcomes, and we strive to offer a range of resources to inform and empower L&D professionals to aid better decision-making. To learn more about MLearning and the LMS, download our comprehensive EBook – Mobile Learning: The LMS Perspective

Author

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A technology professional with over 13+ years of experience in Information Technology, Amar heads the Tech operations at UpsideLMS and is responsible for its profitability and success. He balances strategic planning with tactical activities, including but not restricted to conducting market research, partaking in Marketing decision-making and aiding the Sales process.Amar showcases expertise in eLearning and eCommerce and has earlier been a Product Head and Business Analyst at Upside Learning. He has extensive knowledge and experience in developing tablet and mobile apps, gaming-simulations and Content Management domains. He also has experience in consulting and implementing gamification on enterprise applications.
                                                                                                                                                         

During the course of this career, he has executed a vast number of projects and headed product development using Agile, Waterfall, Prototyping and other SDLCs. His experience on CMMI level process has awarded him both offshore and onsite development across the globe.
When not at work, Amar loves playing table tennis and would never miss an opportunity to drive cars. He follows Formula 1 races and the English Premier League.
                                                                                                                                                
Connect with him on LinkedIn.