Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

10 Bullets for Mobile Learning Content Design

from ADL Mobile Learning Handbook

Mobile learning has been called bitesize, handy learning, ubiquitous, portable, pocketable, learning on the go, my learning, untethered, opportunistic, learning in the moment, snack-learning, courselets, “bus stop” learning, a learning nugget or even a learning pill. To many, it also includes overlapping but somewhat independent paradigms such as informal, social, personal, private, situational, and unstructured learning. Some historical definitions can be found here.

Mobile should be an integral part of your learning and information infrastructure / architecture. It should not be viewed as a replacement for other learning options, but a supplement or reinforcement for learning and performance support. Think about the user experience and their learning opportunities before making design decisions.

A review of the Five Moments of Learning Need could help to form a learning strategy and determine where mobile learning may be appropriate. “Five Moments of Learning Need” by Dr. Conrad Gottfredson, co-author of “Innovative Performance Support” :

  1. When learning for the first time
  2. When wanting to learn more
  3. When trying to remember
  4. When things change
  5. When something goes wrong

Which moments are most appropriate for delivery on a mobile device for your learners? What materials would be most appropriate at their moments of need?
Further, ADL has suggested 6D for mobile learning in planning stage:
mobile learning
To re-design the content for mobile learning, some of the methods and strategies you may already know from instructional design and from web or e-learning development may also apply to mobile learning content design. However, according to Mobile Learning Handbook, additional attention should be paid to:

  • Create content that is short and to the point
  • Create smaller chunks of context-independent content
  • Design non-linear content
  • Guide the learner to external content where they can catch up or explore further
  • Use Post-It notes, index cards or stencils for storyboarding
  • Use bullets to make contextual information more concise
  • Develop the appropriate learning content or experiences for mobile
  • Realize that interactivity may not be nearly as relevant for performance support
  • A good checklist could be worth much more than an interactive game
  • Develop for users (user experience) instead of for devices

And, some more advises on planning your mobile learning :

  • Confirm that mobile delivery makes sense
  • Understand the targeted end-users and their contexts
  • Meet the specific goals and requirements for the project
  • Make a clear distinction between “learning” and “performance support”
  • Determine tracking requirements
  • Plan for the disconnected mobile user
  • Think about the limitations of user’s data plans and leverage wifi when possible
  • Know the limitations and capabilities of the technologies involved
  • Prototype, prototype, prototype (start small, think big)

This ADL Mobile Learning Handbook is compilation of mobile learning resources. This is a living document and will be regularly updated. It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. You could find more examples, resources and technical details for mobile learning considerations.


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  1. 10 Bullets for Mobile Learning Content Design | UpSearchLearn
  2. 10 Bullets for Mobile Learning Content Design | Education Equipment | Educational News
  3. 10 Bullets for Mobile Learning Content Design | Wiki_Universe |
  4. (Infographic) Mobile Learning is the Future of Workplace Learning | Classroom Aid
  5. 10 Bullets for Mobile Learning Content Design |...

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“Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand.” -------- Chinese Wisdom "Games are the most elevated form of investigation." -------- Albert Einstein
"I'm calling for investments in educational technology that will help create digital tutors that are as effective as personal tutors, educational software as compelling as the best video game," President Barack Obama said while touring a tech-focused Boston school (year 2011).
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