Mobile Learning Content Design: 3 Must Haves

• 3 min read


The following is an excerpt from the just released – and free to download – m-learning report “Learning on the Go – tips and trends in m-learning

The other day I was sitting on a commuter train and noticed the woman sitting next to me. Without being too obvious in my visual eavesdropping, I noticed she was taking an e-learning course on her iPhone. She finished the course before our destination and gave herself a small congratulatory fist pump.

That woman represents a growing segment of learners — mobile learners. In fact, offering mobile learning is important for a number of reasons as it can drive significant benefits, including:

  1. A greater number of course completions
  2. Delivering your performance support strategy
  3. Engaging your Millennials

According to a case study conducted by Merrill Lynch, mobile learners have a 12% higher completion rate than courses completed on a laptop. Also cited in this study is that the learners completed the training 30% quicker than those using classroom-based learning delivery. The reasons for these two great success statistics can be attributed to two further interesting statistics:

  1. Mobile learners study 40 minutes more each week by studying everywhere they go.
  1. Students with smartphones are twice as likely to study between 6a.m. and 8a.m.

Performance support is delivering training content at the time and place of need — on-the-job. We have all heard the statistics showing that 70% of development happens on- the-job. By providing learning content that can be accessed while on-the-job, companies are leveraging the natural way a person develops — on-the-job. So, to deliver on your performance support strategy, you will need to adopt a mobile learning strategy.

Or, perhaps you are considering adopting mobile learning to engage the Millennials in your workforce. This is a valid strategy as 36% of the workforce will be made up of Millennials by the end of 2014. These workers have grown accustomed to using their hand-held devices for all their social needs, watching You Tube videos, gaming, banking, shopping online and much more. They have come to expect the same mobile convenience with their on-the-job training. Companies are responding by bringing the training to them – on their mobile devices – where they are comfortable and familiar.

The reasons for adopting a mobile learning strategy are compelling. Yet developing mobile learning content is not as simple as delivering your current e-learning courses on a mobile device. Mobile learning content needs to be designed with the audience and intended use in mind.

Here are three tips to consider when creating or converting your learning content into m-learning content:

  1. Short, bite sized learning content. To enable performance support and to keep a learner engaged on a small screen, your m-learning courses need to be short — two to four minutes of learning content. Think of it a little differently than a time stamp — think one discreet learning objective at a time.
  1. Videos. Not just videos but high definition HTML videos. Without getting into the technical details, HTML will work on “iProducts” whereas Flash videos will not. And use high definition because your Millennials are accustomed to high definition video games and, just like they have come to expect m-learning, they have come to expect high definition videos.
  2. Job Aids. Again, to enable your performance support strategy, provide Job Aids for on-the-job application so that your learners have something tangible to use once they exit the course.

If you incorporate these three design principles into your m-learning strategy, you will be delivering m-learning courses that will meet your m-learners’ needs. This should lead to higher completion rates in less time. Another benefit is that, while you cannot deliver your e-learning courses as m-learning courses, you can get a dual benefit and deliver your m-learning courses to your e-learning learners, increasing your return on investment for all m-learning courses created or purchased.


Cindy Pascale is the CEO and co-founder of Vado and has 16+ years of HR, Training & Development and OD leadership experience and 12 years running talent management, development and assessment companies.  Vado is the e-learning courseware provider ‘changing the face of learning’. Please visit the Vado website and feel free to contact Cindy about your off-the-shelf content needs.