Responsive design is an approach to web page creation that makes use of flexible layouts, flexible images and cascading style sheet media queries. The goal of responsive design is to build web pages that detect the visitor’s screen size and orientation, and change the layout accordingly.
While we have written about ‘designing’ responsive eLearning and why it matters earlier on our blog, it’s the delivery part that we discuss in this blog post. Below are the top 4 ways in which a responsive LMS improves the learning experience.
1. Provides a Seamless & Uniform User Experience
These days people are just as likely to reach for their smart phone or tablet when using a web-based system as they are to use their desktop or notebook according to Google Insights research. This means your LMS needs to work well on all devices, or else you risk alienating a large number of potential users/customers. The seamless solution, Responsive design!
a. The best user experience on every device
- The primary goal of Responsive Design is to focus on the end user and deliver the ‘best learning experience’ on every device. It lets you tailor the user experience for mobile users without asking them to sacrifice features and usability.
- A responsive LMS can adapt on the fly for (almost) all of today’s gadgets as well as tomorrow’s, offering a level of future-proofing which helps improve your ‘Return on Investment’.
b. Consistency of experience
- Google’s research also found that, rather than sticking with the one device, people tend to move between devices during different phases of their interaction with the web based systems. In an organisational context, this means rather than accessing and completing the training activity on a single device, learners tend to move between devices during different phases of their learning process.
- For example your learners might start an eLearning course online using their smart phones, but come back to their desktops or notebooks to finish it later. Offering a consistent user experience and information architecture across all these devices makes it easier for users to pick up where they left off when switching between devices. A Responsive LMS will help you to achieve this effortlessly.
2. Provides Just In Time Support
Mobiles may have become just the first device/tool (maybe other than a watch and a pen), which almost everyone carries with her/him almost all the time, rendering them as the perfect performance support tool. However, just having a device with a potential use isn’t enough.
a. Access eLearning outside office hours including travel and waiting times
- The actual problem is to access information / people which / who can help at that moment of need. The limiting factor here is the connectivity on the devices. While all the information / help someone needs might be available on a central internet server, if the mobile device cannot connect to the internet itself, then it is worthless. Responsive design allows LMS providers to deliver quality content to their learners across devices. Further the offline browsing capabilities of HTML5 mean that sites can be easily accessed ‘on the go’. Videos and content contained in hybrid HTML5 LMSs will increasingly be consumed on the move and in the absence of an internet connection.
b. Making compliance training programs more convenient to complete
- Compliance training today has become a significant portion of training that is delivered via eLearning and technology enabled learning tools. Larger the size of the organisation, with a portion of it being mobile/out of office, the challenges that we currently face on compliance training are huge even with eLearning.
- Adding a dimension of multi-device access which enables every employee to be able to access the required training is a relief to the training function as well as a strong step in making your environment safe for everyone. Again the need to have a responsive LMS comes to the fore.
3. Easy to maintain & roll out
There is a trend to have an app for everything these days and it’s quite tempting to follow the pack.But heading down that path might still not help you achieve your goals. With Apple’s iOS platform jostling with Google’s Android platform for market space, it is no longer an option to solely focus on either of these platforms if you want to reach to as many potential users as possible. Throw Windows Phone and BlackBerry into the mix and you’ve now got four separate mobile apps to build and maintain, even if they all serve basically the same purpose. Once again, Responsive Design is just what you need.
a. Single code base
- Responsive Design eliminates the need to maintain separate desktop and mobile versions of your LMS, as your single system can adapt on the fly for any screen size. This way you can focus all your efforts on a single code base, knowing you’re offering the best user experience for every user and every device.
b. No need of specialised training
- It is also less challenging and time consuming to roll out the LMS to your users as there is no need to have different training for different devices. Imagine if you had to train your people on different systems? Having a single responsive system helps you to significantly cut down on your user training efforts.
c. Cost effective as compared to native apps
- A responsive system is agnostic to its operating systems and devices. As a result, content publishers and LMS owners are not required to build versions of their system for every popular device platform that they are expecting their audience are using.
- Single code base is less costly to maintain as any new features or enhancements for your LMS or CMS need to be done only on one source code as compared to doing it for every native app that you might have.
4. Consolidate your analytics and reporting
A single responsive LMS means that you no longer have to track user journeys, conversion paths, funnels and redirections between your different applications. Which implies:
a. Single repository
- Site analytics tools like Google Analytics are now optimised to handle multiple devices and responsive reporting. All of your tracking and analytics will continue to function and be condensed into a single report, allowing for easier monitoring and analysis.
Hence, in the long term, investing in the responsive LMS is the best decision that you can make if you want to reduce the time and money for LMS development. The output being, a better learning experience.