As with any project or undertaking, the plan behind it can either serve as a stable foundation for growth or a wobbly house of cards. How can you ensure that your mLearning programs are successful? Three words: Design, design, design.
First let’s look at how your design needs to ensure that the program does what you want it to do.
- Design the program around your learning objectives. What do your people need to learn? Providing them with this information and/or skill is the whole point of your program, right? Don’t lose sight of that, regardless of how many bells and whistles a given technology tool offers.
- Remember when “just-in-time” became all the rage, and it was new? Now it is “just-the-norm,” and your mLearning program needs to consider what your sales people need right now. That is what mLearning is all about: it can deliver content at the precise moment someone needs it, whether they are in their car, in an elevator on the way to see their most valued customer, or sitting at the airport preparing for a sales call.
- When you are delivering “right-now” content, it has to be short. Now is now, so the content shouldn’t take two hours to go through. So chunk your information in digestable bites. This means either keeping seat-time to about 30 minutes or less, providing it in a way that learners can search or drill down easily for what they need, or both.
Now let’s look at how your design needs to consider the technical environment in which your program will be delivered.
- Consider screen size (which can be very different from a smart phone to a tablet) and interactivity tools (keyboard buttons or touch screen). If a person has to move around the screen too much, it just becomes cumbersome and annoying. Make sure that the program fits on the screen.
- As a general rule, use more images and less text. Wouldn’t you rather see a picture of something rather than just a written description? I think this is why they give you a choice to put your picture next to your written information on LinkedIn. Isn’t it nicer to see a real face than just read a profile?
- When you have to use words, make sure they are in a font and size that are legible and easy to read, like the font you are reading now. How would you like it if this whole blog was written in this pretty font? or this one? Ew. Right?
- And who doesn’t like sound? Sound lets you multi-task. You can listen to something and click around to view different screens, and maybe even eat lunch, all at the same time! Plus, sometimes it’s just nice to listen instead of read. Sound, glorious sound! Use it whenever it makes learning easier and more interesting.
- Make navigation easy. People have become accustomed to finding their way around on their devices through logical paths. This is particularly true of people who have not known life without smart phones – like my eleven-year old who showed me how to set my password on my iPhone just yesterday. Make navigation something that even we 40-somethings can figure out, please!
By following these general design guidelines, you can ensure that your mLearning programs provide your people with accessible, engaging, educational, and applicable sales training information. If you do, your reps will happily txt you a quick thx while brushing their teeth and slipping on their shoes to head out to their first appointment, all while downloading your latest mLearning from your LMS.