I have noticed recently a rapid rush toward mobile learning (or mLearning) on mobile devices. As a result, users’ expectations toward learning are also changing. We presume learning activities on phones and tablets will work just as easily as they would on a computer. Consequently, web designers face the challenge of meeting certain expectations to preserve the user experience.
This demand for flexibility has designers turning to responsive design, an approach aimed at creating sites that provide an ideal viewing experience. That means easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning and scrolling. Traditional or unresponsive websites give you only two choices on a device—view the pages with tiny text and buttons that make it hard to select, or try to zoom in and make sense of the site by slowly creeping around it.
Responsive design allows information to be accessed across a wide range of screen sizes — from desktop computers to mobile devices — by designing the website so it automatically adapts itself to small display areas like smartphones. Intuitive layouts re-arrange themselves and allow text to remain the same size while adapting images and interactions.
In terms of learning, responsive design solves the issue of creating content that will translate to every screen to provide the best user experience possible. Ideally, topics need to be shorter and overall navigation structure simpler. Sometimes it is better to offer different experiences on different devices.
We need to take this concept and apply it to learning by taking into account the environment of our learner and training topics that can be quickly consumed, like performance mentoring, just-in-time learning, or knowledge support. Can responsive design jumpstart your mLearning?
The phrase “rapid development” carries a stereotype. Fast, cheap and not too interesting or interactive. There may be interactivity, but with limitations. Learning modules start to feel the same and clicking a tab to view more information becomes stale. Until now.
Articulate came out with the much anticipated Storyline. Like all new products, it’s the “best thing ever!” But guess what: this is the best thing ever… at least to the rapid development world to date. The word “limitation” has become such a small word that it almost doesn’t exist.
The time has finally come when you want a client to say, “I want interactions.” This is because interactions in Storyline are practically limitless. Articulate has developed a tool that allows you to create fun and exciting interactions for any type of learner in no time at all. You can drag and drop whatever you want to wherever you want. Click this button and a popup box will appear and why not add video into the box for even more information? Games, hotspots, quizzes and almost anything you can imagine can be created with any design you want and as much interactivity as you need. Instead of presenting basic content for a product, why not show the features and benefits? Learners want to experience something, not just see a bunch of facts on screen. Read More
A recent article in The New York Times and blog post by my colleague Joe Tertel tout the popularity of the iPad as a business tool. Many companies are finding that arming employees with the device can give them a competitive advantage.
I’ve been talking to a number of clients about putting iPads into the hands of their sales staff so they can educate customers. We talk about making their salespeople “smarter” by helping them easily capture customer needs and respond with compelling presentations of products that meet these needs.
Using the iPad to Boost Sales
This is exactly what automaker Mercedes is doing with the iPad in its dealerships. Salespeople begin recording key customer information while they are standing next to – or seated in – the car they are selling. From there, they can connect to marketing presentations centered on models that match customer input. The sales reps can also access real time information about deals and begin the credit application process.
Imagine how this can increase the speed and efficiency of the buying process. Who wants to go back to the salesperson’s messy desk and repeat answers to questions that have already been answered in the showroom or parking lot?
Hyatt Hotel & Resorts is also benefiting from giving iPads to its salespeople. Instead of paging through bulky portfolios, reps can show potential clients digital images and videos of property highlights. Since no rep can be intimately familiar with all properties, the ability to quickly access rich presentations of other properties enables on-the-spot cross-selling.
iPad Apps Provide a Competitive Edge
Many of our clients are reluctant to make public their plans for mobile sales apps because they see these investments as a way to get ahead of their competition and bring new value to their customers. GE has been more open about its use of iPhones and iPads. In a video on Apple’s website called “Reinventing Mobility,” GE talks about using the iPad to “share valuable information with customers like never before.”
GE and many other leading organizations know that business customers value the information and knowledge bundled with their products. Customers also appreciate a streamlined buying experience that combines personal interaction with technology to navigate a complex product selection process. Let’s hope that the iPad and other mobile devices will provide us all with smarter sales consultations when making important buying decisions for our businesses.