A recent report by comScore, Inc, states that multi-platform usage has increased drastically between 2013 and 2014, among every generation. The on-the-go populace of today, accesses most of the digital content via handheld devices rather than PCs and laptops. Users in the workplace too are increasingly demanding various enterprise applications to be available on a variety of mobile platforms. To address this need, an increasing number of organizations are opting for responsive Learning Management Systems to manage their organizational training and development. For the learners, a responsive LMS brings about a seamless learning experience, giving them a high level of flexibility to switch from one device to another, and choose where, when, and how to access learning material and information without any loss of information or tracking.
In an earlier post we discussed the Top 4 Ways A Responsive LMS Improves Learning Experience. So, is selecting a Responsive LMS different from selecting a traditional one? We believe so. Based on our understanding and experience, here are some key considerations for selecting a Responsive LMS.
1. Target Devices
Though the term Responsive LMS implies that the LMS functions well across all devices, it is imperative that you pre-identify the target devices to be used and then start evaluating Learning Management Systems that work on those devices. Few things to be considered in light of this are:
• Device dimension and orientation: Nowadays, there is a huge influx of mobile devices with multiple screen sizes. You must consider the dimensions of all target devices to avoid surprises later. Also check if the LMS adapts to landscape and portrait mode smoothly.
• Understanding limitations of various devices: It is extremely important to be aware of any limitations of different platforms at the very onset of the selection process. Different devices have their own way of rendering the output, and have specific set of in-built browsers etc. that affect the way content is delivered. For instance, IE on Windows phone still doesn’t allow multiple instances of the browser and so pop-ups are not allowed.
Not all the mobile devices are enriched with hardware and software resources like desktops or laptops. The Responsive LMS should be capable enough to run on minimum resources with optimum performance on various lower end handheld devices.
There are various usability aspects to be kept in mind while choosing a responsive LMS. The platform should allow users to intuitively navigate within the application. Navigations should be simple and easy for users to understand how menu items are related to each other. It should have an interface that helps the users land on the pages they actually intend to open.
4. Social Elements
Though this feature is mostly based on the organizational need, LMSs that offer social features like discussion forums, chat plugins, content sharing and rating etc. bring in an additional value in terms of engagement amongst learners. This is of utmost importance in today’s world where information sharing and collaborating across organizational boundaries has become a norm.
5. User Uploaded Content
In light of the above considerations, ensure that the responsive LMS, which allows users to upload content in the form of pictures, videos, documents etc. from whichever device they use, converts such content into compatible format that works with all the target devices.
Today, high bandwidth is easily available on desktops and tablets but similar bandwidth on handheld devices is still in its nascent stages. Consideration of varying bandwidth is an important aspect which impacts accessibility of the LMS if cloud based. In such cases it is good to have an LMS that works well for both online and offline mode.
If you have an always on-the go learner population, it is important to invest in an LMS that utilizes the power of HTML5 to bring offline content support embedded within the platform. So your learners can download a course or other learning material from the LMS while connected to the Internet and view it offline at their leisure. Look for a system that can sync online and offline course activity.
This is the most important yet often ignored consideration in Responsive LMS selection. Ensure you have responsive content developed that moulds itself to the device dimensions and screen resolution and rearranges itself accordingly. We have written earlier about why it matters, the Design Challenges and Considerations and also shared some guidelines for managing responsive eLearning projects. A single source responsive content can be delivered seamlessly across multiple devices.
Hope these considerations help you in making the process of choosing responsive LMS easier.
What according to you are the other factors that have to be considered before making the choice?