If you aren't thinking about instructional design through a mobile lens, you're late. Use the tips and tricks in this article to catch up on the mobile trend today.
It's no surprise that practically everyone has a mobile device these days. In fact, according to a study done by Pew Research Center:
- 64% of American adults own a smartphone*.
- 42% of American adults own a tablet computer
- 32% of American adults own an e-reader
The rise of the mobile device is old news. As of January 2014, mobile devices overtook PCs as the method of choice for Internet use. Mobile devices accounted for 55 percent of Internet use in the United States. Apps made up 47 percent of Internet traffic. Eight percent came from mobile browsers. PCs clocked in at 45%. (1)
Does this mean PCs are on the path to extinction? Of course not – but the data does indicate that use of mobile computing devices will only increase. They also raise a compelling question: Does your organization have a sound methodology in place for transitioning and delivering core training content on this increasingly ubiquitous platform?
In other words, does your organization have a mobile mindset? A mobile mindset means understanding when, how, and why your target audience uses mobile devices; so that instead of forcing them to conform to older, non-mobile models of user interaction, you use an instructional design approach that conforms to the mobile gestalt. For example:
- Instead of simply porting text designed for a PC display onto a much smaller screen, you break it up into smaller, more bite-sized pieces.
- Instead of delivering one 60-minute module, you deliver a series of six 10-minute modules.
- Instead of only pushing out the information you want learners to know, you make it quick and easy for them to find what they need and are searching for, when they need it most.
- You design sites and pathways for learners to collaborate and share information with each other, just-in-time and on the run. This can include not only text, but also media such as photos, videos, audio files, and illustrations. Apps like this are in common use at trade shows and conferences, but this is by no means the limit to their possibilities.
- You leverage the multi-purpose nature of smartphones, so that users can seamlessly move between apps, widgets, websites, messaging, e-mail, and phone calling, all while learning, sharing, and being productive on your behalf.
- You design ways to link mobile devices to not just your learning management system, but content management and survey systems as well.
In short, your employees are mobile. The devices they prefer to use are mobile. The way you interact with both should be just as mobile-minded. If you suspect your mobile mindset may be under-developed, here are a few essential tips and questions to ask to get yourself kick-started and up to speed:
- Take a content inventory. Is your core knowledge and reference content available on all platforms, from desktop to mobile? If not, why not? What would you need to do to make it happen?
- If core content is available on your employee's mobile devices, is it delivered in a mobile-friendly format? If not, why not? What would you need to do to make it happen?
- Are you strategizing new ways to integrate mobile devices into your training and performance improvement strategies?
- Are your ideas mobile-centric, meaning they are designed to be delivered just-in-time and in bite-sized pieces?
You have to be contemplating all the ways mobile devices can improve training and communications throughout your organization and in every direction. If you haven't already, get started with these tips and tricks!
*As of October 2014
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