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Why responsive e-learning shouldn’t be ‘mobile first’ | Learning Pool

There’s a lot of talk these days about why responsive e-learning should be developed first for mobile and then for other platforms. The logic of this argument is that if your learning works on mobile (i.e. smartphones) it’ll work on devices that provide more screen real estate and everyone’s a winner.

At Learning Pool we’ve been a bit uncomfortable with this for a while because the reality is that only a small percentage of users actually use smartphones to access our services. While we know this is growing substantially, we’re not completely convinced that ‘mobile first’ will become as ubiquitous as some suggest.

The philosophy we’ve adopted at Learning Pool as we roll out our full web responsive e-learning catalogue using Adapt Learning could probably best be described as “learner first” and is guided by a few core principles:

1. Think about your audience: where will your learners be accessing your content – at their desks, on the move? Use the data you have available (from your LMS or elsewhere) to understand how learners are accessing content and make some informed decisions about what the core platform should be.

2. Consider every platform – smartphone, tablet and desktop – and make your design choices, particularly graphic design choices against each of these.

3. Be boldour team is on a bit of a creative roll at the moment with Adapt and we’re building some great content that’s liberated by the blank canvas and multi-device capability that this new tool gives us. We’ve found especially that going ‘learner first’, instead of mobile first allows us to be a lot more creative.

4. Test and test again – the challenge of living in a multi-device world is that there are a lot more ways your content can fail. We’ve developed a rigorous testing approach based on the data about what our customers use to access content and test everything we deliver against that matrix.

Adapt Learning offers some great technology tricks to support this approach. Using Adapt we’ve been able to specify alternative graphics for mobile and amend the ‘body text’ field in any component we’re using accordingly. The hot graphic component also automatically responds to screen size and displays as a narrative on mobile screens.

This has been a big change for us at Learning Pool where, like many others, we’ve been used to building only really for desktop. Learning Pool Authoring has helped us hugely on the technical side but being comfortable with the fact that we can focus on the platform that our learners will use, rather than limiting the experience so it works on smartphones, has been an important step.

Don’t forget that the Learning Pool catalogue is now available in responsive mode. Check out the catalogue and check back soon for more modules as they are added!

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