The pandemic closed some doors, but it also brought down a lot of walls in terms of e-learning and showcased the many benefits of virtual learning. The global e-learning market size, valued at $197 billion in 2020, is projected to reach $840 billion in seven years. Riding the crest of this wave is Mobile Learning, which is itself expected to become a $507 billion market in the next decade.
Mobile learning has a lot going for it
By being available to learners anytime, anywhere, mobile learning creates learning opportunities that even personal computers can’t. Whether it’s on a bus, at the airport, or even in bed, the ubiquitous accessibility of mobile learning is its biggest advantage.
That’s not all though – smartphones offer unique methods of interaction that most other types of devices cannot – and this opens up new opportunities for interesting and enjoyable learning experiences.
But don’t lose sight of its unique challenges
The average person has 35 apps installed on their phone. Some reports suggest it may be double that. Notifications, incoming texts, and social media updates … they can play havoc with an m-learner’s attention, motivation, and performance.
Real estate on a smartphone screen is hard to come by, and having to fit your content and design into this limited space often calls for compromises.
While most people have access to smartphone technology, it may not run the same on every device. Software installation requirements, file sizes and types may vary across systems and so this may affect m-learning modules.
In 2023, the total number of internet connections in India stood at about 851 million. Still, according to a report by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, there is a 93% broadband penetration in urban India and a mere 29% in rural India. Now, that’s a serious challenge to mobile learning solutions.
Here are 5 ways you can address these challenges and make your mobile learning modules really shine.
1. Double down on Microlearning
Mobile users have famously short attention spans – with a small screen and constant alerts and distractions, it’s easy to understand why. And that’s where microlearning or short-focused learning modules, which are at the very core of m-learning help.
It makes highly accessible, frequent shorter content delivery possible, creating learning opportunities all through the day, which in the long run, can help with retention.
2. Take advantage of multiple modes of interactivity
A laptop doesn’t know at what angle you’re holding it, or if you’re walking or standing still. A smartphone’s gyroscope, GPS, and even interactivity through the touchscreen, camera, mic and more – all open up exciting opportunities for highly engaging and immersive learning.
So whether it’s an immersive learning module that you can navigate through by tilting your phone in different directions, a physical GPS-guided quest, or augmented reality-based modules, mobile learning offers possibilities that other devices would struggle to match.
3. Harness social learning
Smartphones are inherently social devices, and with mobile devices contributing a large majority of social media consumption, it’s easy to see how the medium lends itself to social learning too.
A large number of studies over decades have shown that collaborative learning is active, social, contextual, and more engaging, and leads to deeper learning. Mobile learning helps with this as it fosters interaction in larger as well as smaller groups through social media integration, access to communication and messaging tools, video-based one-to-one or group discussions, and more.
4. Design specifically for the Smartphone
Adopt a layout approach that takes into account the limitations and the opportunities offered by the mobile medium. Responsive design to adjust the layout of your content based on screen width and orientation. Fonts, graphics, and video elements need specific focus too, to ensure readability and visibility on small screens.
5. Keep connectivity issues in mind
While 5G has made mobile learning on the go far more seamless than it used to be, it’s important to test courses for their load times on a variety of devices and networks. Your own technology stack has an important role to play here too, in terms of streaming speeds and balancing load.
Also worth considering is enabling module downloads and offline access so learners can get back to their lessons even if there is no connectivity.
Mobile learning is a vital channel for learning delivery and deserves a significant share of your mindspace. It’s also extremely difficult to get mobile learning right, and that’s where working with a partner like Hornbill FX comes in.