5 Key Aspects To Consider When Developing A Responsive Online Course

5 Key Aspects To Consider When Developing A Responsive Online Course
Twin Design/Shutterstock.com
Summary: Learners today access multiple devices in a day, talking learning beyond the confines of desktops/laptops. Responsive courses that can be accessed seamlessly on all devices – desktops and mobiles are the need of the hour. Read this article for the aspects that ensure effective responsive courses.

Developing A Responsive Online Course: The Key Aspects To Consider

No longer does the desktop enjoy a monopoly as the device used for accessing the internet. Today, people use a wide variety of devices such as smartphones and tablets to go online. A report published by Gartner predicts that more than 50% of users will use a mobile device first for all web-based activities [1].

The phenomenal growth in the use of multiple devices to access the internet is driving companies to ensure that their learners have good online learning experiences, irrespective of the device they use.

Are you planning to develop device-agnostic eLearning courses that are “responsive” to screens of various sizes? How can you create good online courses that facilitate effective learning on any device? Here are 5 important aspects you need to consider.

1. Ask Stakeholders To Rank Pieces Of Content On Their Importance

While it is necessary to meet the learning needs of staff members using multiple devices, including desktop computers, you need to keep in mind that an increasing number of people are using smartphones and tablets to access the internet. It is important to adopt a “mobile first” strategy for your web-based courses – develop the course first for mobile devices.

The key to the effective implementation of this strategy is ranking different pieces of content based on their importance, and then, laying the most important of these on the smallest viewport (most older smartphones with small screens) first. You can incorporate more content elements as you move on to bigger viewports (such as a tablet or a desktop). As an eLearning developer, you must ask the stakeholders of your online course to prioritize various content elements in the order of their importance.

2. Remember That Using A Scroll Bar Is Not An Offence

I understand that many eLearning developers hesitate to use a scroll bar in their online courses developed exclusively for the desktop. But, when it comes to responsive eLearning, using a scroll bar is never a cardinal sin. After all, you cannot cram everything on the screens of smaller devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Scroll bars make it easy to read the content on mobile devices. It is important to ensure that the page is spread out evenly and pieces of content are separated properly by white spaces. Using a scroll bar also eliminates the need to create several Next buttons in your device-agnostic course.

See that the length of the page is limited to three scrolls. Make sure critical content is at the top of the page, lest learners miss it. You also need to cover only one learning point per page. This helps avoid cognitive load on learners.

3. Ensure Seamless Access To Content In Both Portrait And Landscape Orientations

This is an important aspect to consider for providing good learning experiences to learners who access your responsive eLearning courses on their mobile devices. You must ensure that learners can view content in both the portrait and landscape modes. See that the images don’t appear stretched when they are displayed in the landscape mode.

4. Ensure Multimedia Elements Load Quickly And Are Compatible With All Platforms

Learners feel frustrated if they cannot access content in a hassle-free manner. Slow bandwidth can cause problems in loading multimedia elements, especially videos, resulting in poor learning experiences. To avoid these problems, it is important to keep the size of media files to a minimum. You need to compress large media files so that learners have no issues in accessing your device-agnostic web-based course through mobile devices.

It is also important to use the right media file formats to avoid platform-related issues. When you use videos in your responsive eLearning course, make sure they are in the MP4 format. Videos published to this format are compatible with all platforms and provide good viewing experiences across multiple devices. Likewise, it is necessary to use scaled vector graphics (SVGs) in your online course. These graphics are rendered effectively on all devices, irrespective of the size of their screens.

5. Ensure Your Learners Are Able To Navigate The Course Easily

The wide variety of devices means learners use many interface modes such as keyboards, mice, styluses, and most importantly their fingers (gesture-supporting touch screens are the order of the day). You need to keep these various modes in mind when you develop a responsive eLearning course. This is necessary to ensure that learners can navigate through the course effortlessly, irrespective of how they interact with the device.

Well-developed responsive eLearning courses go a long way in delivering good learning experiences to your employees who use multiple devices. The best practices listed above help you develop the winning device-agnostic web-based course.


  1. Gartner Says By 2018, More Than 50 Percent of Users Will Use a Tablet or Smartphone First for All Online Activities
eBook Release: CommLab India Rapid eLearning Solutions
CommLab India Rapid eLearning Solutions
Working with multiple outsourcing vendors can be stressful, and a waste of time & money. With CommLab India Rapid eLearning Solutions, all your online training needs are taken care of, rapidly and economically.