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Mobile Learning – What Works and What Doesn’t!

3 Tips for Designing it Right and 3 Traps to Avoid

Mobile learning is the new buzz-word and although there seems to be a lot of talk about this new trend, few companies are actually doing it. As mobile learning is so new, there are a few things you need to consider in order to effectively instructional design for a mobile learning experience. For those of you who are considering this new medium, here are some tips you need to consider when designing learning for mobile.

  1. Design for touch and forget about the mouse – When you are designing for mobile devices, there can be no more hovering mouse overs for your learning activity. Design your learning activities with “tap” and “swipe” in mind and ensure your instructions for activities reflect this language also.

  2. Think about finger size – Learning activities must consider finger size and activities must be designed accordingly (e.g. if you are doing a drag and drop activity, are the boxes big enough for a learner to actually touch and drag? If not, the activity won’t work).

  3. Think about screen size – Less text is definitely better when you are creating learning for mobile. Due to the small screen, it is just not possible to have heavy text on the screen, like in some eLearning courses. Things that look great on a desktop eLearning course can look terrible when shrunk down on a mobile device.

Traps to Avoid

Here are some common traps you should avoid when designing for mobile learning.

  1. Don’t use the same font for all devices! - Our experience has been that 4-5 point font works well on small phones, 5-6 on a large mobile device and 7-8 point font for a tablet works best.

  2. Don’t publish for a universal experience. Publish eLearning courses to work with specific mobile operating systems. Publish specifically for the device the learner is on (e.g. iOS, Android, Windows, etc.) If you are not publishing the learning specifically for the device, it becomes very confusing to the learner as they are expecting to be able to use the same navigation as they normally would on their own mobile. A course that works the same on all platforms can often be very confusing for the learner as it may require different interactions and navigation then what the learner is use to doing on their own mobile device.

  3. Use standard navigation that is intuitive when designing eLearning for mobile devices - You know how most eLearning has the language “click the next button to advance the screen or click the previous button to go back. Remember to change the language for advancing the course such as “Swipe your mobile device from right to left to advance the course”. Make the language match the medium.

Mobile learning is an innovative way of increasing learner’s access to training. Keep these tips in mind and avoid the common traps to ensure a successful mobile learning launch!

If you want to know more about Mobile Learning, please visit us at or contact us at

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