At some point since 1989, most of us have gazed and pondered in amazement at the futuristic expectation of 2015 depicted in the 1989 blockbuster classic Back to the Future II. While the then seemingly absurd predictions of Biometric technology, video communication, mounted flat-screen TVs, and video glasses are today a spookily accurate reality, absolutely no predictions were ever made about how users will embrace a rich e-learning experience across multiple devices. It’s time to bin any secret obsessions of hoverboards and self-tying shoelaces, because 2015 is the year of responsive e-learning design!
Let’s face the facts. We live in a rapid, multi-device world where switching between tablets, smartphones, and trusty desktop PCs has quickly become a second nature fixture of our daily routines. With sophisticated Internet-enabled devices at the fingertips of so many people worldwide, understanding the fundamentals of how people learn is key to developing a one-size-fits-all e-learning solution that works seamlessly across all devices.
There’s much more to developing a truly responsive e-learning solution than simply providing one solution for desktop users and another for mobile users. What’s really required is a one-stop solution that optimizes and responds intelligently on any device it’s viewed, where learning experiences are engaging and consistent, and where students can encapsulate themselves in an interactive activity on one device, and finish the topic at hand with some light reading material on another.
How does it benefit the user?
With the ability to display alternative forms of content on different devices, responsive e-learning helps to maintain a consistent learning experience across all devices. For example, an animation on a laptop may be presented as a short paragraph of related information as an alternative on a mobile device.
By now we’re all familiar with traditional left to right e-learning material. What’s immediately apparent is that the ability for students to progress vertically through e-learning content has always been considered an unnecessary component of design, until now.
With responsive e-learning design, deep scrolling provides a more natural web-like experience for users who already scroll to read content on most websites at ease. Well-structured clusters of information are strategically presented to reduce unnecessary navigation and help users make sense of the tight-knit relationship between meaningful structure and engaging content.
Responsive e-learning provides an ideal platform to present accurate information in the form of interactive, engaging scenarios, transferring retainable knowledge to users in the process. Unlike traditional “click next to continue” concepts, it enables developers to present interactive stories and workflows in a vertical, uninterrupted manner. Content and related interactions can be added as required, in a fashion that doesn’t interrupt the progress of the learner as they delve deeper into the content with each casual swipe and scroll.
‘Everything above the fold’ might be old hat but...
...The principle remains. Let's use this blog post as a comparison for just a moment. From what you’ve read so far, you’ve processed some high-level information. To keep it brief, you’ve read that Back to the Future II was a movie classic, that we live in a rapid, multi-device world, and that responsive design paves the future of e-learning. As you continue to scroll or swipe at ease, the information above this very sentence may almost seem like a distant memory. In fact, it could even be the case that your hands are ready and waiting to swipe or scroll in order to read more information. Responsive e-learning design adopts a very similar approach.
Due to the wide variety of devices available to access e-learning content, a balanced combination of interactive and informative content must be presented with the end user in mind at all times. While users continue to progress vertically with a personal view to completion, they can quickly return to recap on previous questions, videos, animations, and other training resources throughout the duration of a particular module. What’s more, training progress is tracked and stored securely so users can return to exactly where you left off at any time.
BYOD is bringing about change
In a nutshell, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) enables employees to use their own, personal laptops, smartphones and tablets in the workplace, for the sole purpose of performing work related tasks. Boasting an array of benefits, including increased productivity and reductions in purchasing costs, recent studies have found that 74 per cent of organisations are either already embracing BYOD or planning to in the near future.
As it continues to become a relatively common fixture of the workplace, BYOD will no doubt significantly alter the ways in which businesses operate. With the ability for employees to bring their personal devices to the workplace, there’s never been a better time to embrace the power of responsive e-learning.
Content remains King
From the basic, talking Microsoft PowerPoint presentation to the all singing, all dancing e-learning course, content has always been king. Responsive e-learning design provides learning development professionals with the ability to present training content on a spacious, blank canvas, immediately eliminating any necessity to squeeze engaging interactions into a fixed, limiting space. Powerful content adds the cherry to a beautifully responsive, user-friendly structure that works seamlessly across all devices.
In a world where startups can boom overnight and businesses can completely eliminate physical brick and mortar locations while generating huge revenues, Learning and Development departments must adapt and react to the rapid and unpredictable movements of business in 2015 and beyond. With The Millennial Generation, those born in the early 1980s to early 2000s, having increasingly high expectations of both personal development and work-life balance, responsive, multi-device e-learning can easily accommodate a modern lifestyle and fit in comfortably around the professional and personal requirements of any user.
Change is good. Watch this space!