A single experience across multiple screens is the holy grail of computing these days. As illustrated in the image above, this mantra is one of the key drivers behind some of the most powerful companies in the world, namely Apple, Google, and Microsoft.
I believe it’s critical for us to embrace this way of thinking when Designing mobile learning for multiple screens. The days of designing eLearning for the stationary desktop computer are long gone.
eLearning is dead!
The quicker we, as an industry assimilate this fact, the quicker we will optimize our learning, and mobilize it across multiple screens. One only has to look around to realize that the old comfort zones that made eLearning popular are no longer viable.
Remember when our learners relied on Flash to consume the Flash-based eLearning we created for their desktop computers? Today Flash is pretty much a thing of the past. Flash was never supported on iOS devices, nor is it supported on Android devices, and this year, Google announced that YouTube would stop serving its videos using the Flash plugin for anyone visiting the site using a modern browser. YouTube is now solely using HTML5 to serve videos. I have read similar stories about Firefox and other companies like Facebook.
1024 x 768 Resolution
What about the old 1024 x 768-pixel resolution comfort zone? When I worked for Adobe, customers used to ask me what resolution they should choose when creating eLearning and my answer was always the same, 1024 x 768 pixels. How things have changed, now we have to deal with a myriad of screen sizes and resolutions, so that rule of thumb is gone, too. In 2014, Samsung alone had 56 different smartphones with different sizes and resolutions. How do we design for all of these sizes and resolutions? One thing is for certain, the old eLearning way of doing things doesn’t scale for this new multi-screen world we live in.
Rapid eLearning tools
Finally, there’s the comfort zone of using rapid eLearning software that rely heavily on PowerPoint slides, in order to publish Flash-based learning? Well, that’s not working either. If you are still using antiquated software that produces Flash-based eLearning, you are missing out and doing your learners a disservice.
You can no longer control what devices learners use to access your learning!
A Tecmark Survey finds the average user picks up their smartphone 221 times a day?
Another survey found that People change the device they are using an average of 21 times an hour when they are at home, according to findings from OMD UK’s Future of Britain research project.
To say that Mobile has been a game-changer in our lives is an understatement. Today more and more of us live our lives across multiple screens.
According to Google, 90% of users use multiple screens sequentially to accomplish a task over time.
Advice for the Post-eLearning Era
So what’s next? I believe the next big thing for us is designing learning that is flexible and fluid across multiple screens, including smartphones, tablets, desktops and other touch-enabled screens.
In order to design this type of learning, we may need to abandon many of the old comfort zones I mentioned above. For example since we can no longer rely on Flash, we need to embrace newer technologies, such as HTML5 and Responsive web design.
For those still using rapid eLearning tools that insist on publishing courses in multiple formats (e.g Flash-based for consumption on the desktop computers and HTML5 for devices, which do not support Flash), you may need to consider switching to more modern software that allow you to design courses once and then publish out to many screens using responsive web design principles. One such program is the latest version of Adobe Captivate, version 8. I wrote extensively on why I’m impressed with Adobe Captivate 8, especially because of Adobe’s support for Responsive Learning Design.
In my previous post I shared my thoughts on why I think Responsive Web Design is the future of Learning Design and thus far it is my most shared post since I started blogging, with more than 430 ReTweets thus far. Hopefully, this is an indication that many of you agree and that we are slowly transitioning away from eLearning and onto bigger and better things.
Thanks for reading and sharing!