September 7th, 2017 Instructional Design

Creating an online course today is different than it was just five years ago, mainly because of the technology we use.

Back when e-learning first hit the scene there was no other way to take the course than using a desktop. Then laptops became the norm so most people took these courses on those. Now we have all kinds of devices and mobile technology is leading the charge.

So this begs the question: when creating an e-learning course should you focus first on the mobile learner?

Short answer: yes.

Mobile Driving E-Learning Growth

Mobile learning is the growth driver for the e-learning industry. By 2020 it is projected that mobile learning alone will be a $37.6 billion market. This will make up a significant subset of the entire e-learning space.

The market is moving in that direction and so should your courses.

But how do you make this shift?

It’s actually not that difficult. For the most part it just means adjusting your mindset a little and then choosing instructional design strategies that adhere to these new demands.

For example, when I was creating courses for Fortune 500 companies we were constantly testing the performance across a variety of laptops that the company issued to their employees. There were a few desktops as well so after testing the various laptop configurations we would test against these desktops.

We didn’t discount the desktops at all, quite the contrary. We ensured that the content we created worked just as well as it would on a laptop. But we did develop with the laptop as the primary vehicle for course delivery.

Slow Transition, But a Necessary One

The market is slowly transitioning to this approach – it won’t happen overnight. However, it is one reason why you see the rise of micro-content.

Now when we create a course we should be developing with mobile in mind first. Does it work on the various smartphones out there, as well as tablets? Once that is nailed down then it makes sens to verify that it works for laptops as well.

This way of structuring courses is only going to become more relevant in the coming years. I would encourage anyone who is creating course content to start developing their content for mobile first and then for laptops (and if necessary, desktop).

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About Justin Ferriman

Justin Ferriman started LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Justin's Homepage | Twitter

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