How To Convert Your Training Content Into Mobile Learning Format
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Best Practices To Convert Your Training Content Into Mobile Learning

As more training and Learning and Development departments make the move to mobile, they are recognizing that  mobile provides a much different learning experience than the traditional classroom. Once you have chosen a good project for mobile learning, and decided on content that will provide a win-win to the company and your target learners, it is important to make certain that your content is “mobile ready”. There are some simple steps you can take to make sure your learning content will support and encourage the type of self-paced approach that mobile learning offers. Here is how to convert your training content into mobile learning successfully.

Chunking Your Content

When you create or transition content for mobile learning delivery, the information in your courses should be broken down into highly readable, digestible, and retainable bits (called “chunks”). Since mobile learners frequently look at smaller screens to take in information, it is important to offer them content that they should be able to digest and retain quickly. Each learning chunk should be brief but also interesting enough to help them buy into the move from traditional learning methods like computer screens, textbooks, or lectures.

Chunking is not exclusive to mobile learning, however. It is used for a variety of learning and memorization techniques. Think of phone numbers or social security numbers. To aid in our retention of long strings of numbers, we naturally chunk them into smaller strings and even write them using breaks or dashes. This same principle of organizing and making content more accessible applies especially to content creation for mobile learning.

The process of converting traditional learning material into a mobile-ready format can be simplified if you follow the guidelines of being brief, relevant, and interesting.

1. Organize

Find patterns and similarities between chunks of information, and then organize them accordingly. This process of breaking down content into categories can continue until the chunks of content become small enough to be topics and lessons. You can also start with existing slides or a policy PDF, if you already have them in your content files, and break them down into smaller pieces. The important thing to remember is that format matters. Slides are usually preferred as content that is easy to convert to mobile delivery since they frequently have simple visuals and are written with minimal text.

2. Format With Readability In Mind

Chunk information to be readable on a smaller screen. Each screen should present one chunk of information. Each concept should be introduced as succinctly as possible — one sentence or phrase, if possible. Cut out lengthy descriptions and lower the reading level of your content. If written well, highly readable content can be very interesting and relevant.

3. Break It Down Even Further!

If a learner has to hold multiple things in their mind in order to understand a certain concept, it isn’t succinct enough. On a mobile device, lengthy information is overwhelming. The lesser the cognitive load, the better.

Accentuating The Visual

Not only do mobile learners appreciate visual emphasis, but they expect it. When learners access material on their mobile, there should inherently be more visuals and less text in order to align with the engaging nature of mobile access.

1. Choose Highly Relevant Images

It can be tempting to use generalized visuals just to break up long strings of text. Make sure that images are not presented just to take up space. Visuals need to reinforce whatever the text and the intention of the learning unit.

2. Use Images That Draw The Learner’s Attention

Create focal points of interest. Use bright colors. Choose images that can help learners laugh, and/or facilitate genuine subject interest.

3. Be Consistent And Professional

The style of images should not vary between lessons and topics. Real images — with people in them — are more professional, current, and are taken more seriously than clipart. Many people also prefer to see real people instead of illustrations. When you take the time to create mobile learning content with appealing visual design, it helps your learners stay focused and engaged.

4. Get Inspired

Look around while you are surfing the web on your own mobile for great visual style inspiration — do you have a favorite mobile game? Why do you enjoy the visuals? Are they fun, colorful, or engaging? In what way? Start to notice visual style, especially on mobile, so that you can incorporate modern mobile visual design in your learning projects.

Using Audio And Video In Mobile Learning

Mobile is a rapid, touch-based computer experience, and doesn’t always lend itself to stopping to watch or listen. With this in mind, be sparse with your use of time and attention-consuming multimedia.

Video

If you choose to incorporate video, pay close attention to the length and format. Professional-looking videos can be expensive to produce, and assigning people to watch a video isn’t that different from making them sit through a presentation. A video or PowerPoint presentation can be useful for something like a TED talk that facilitates shorter viewing times and nearly guarantees audience engagement (due to high expertise of lecturers), but is not always effective for long term learning.

Audio

Holding learner attention with audio on mobile usually requires some serious creative audio design and editing skill. If you incorporate audio, it can be useful to gain inspiration from successful audio projects such as current popular podcasts.  If you decide to produce audio-based learning content, make sure to invest in great recording materials and take extra time to learn how to produce great audio.

Pacing Learning

Mobile learning is a great way to encourage learners to set their own pace. With independent mobile learning, people can move at different speeds since mobile learning facilitates different paces. However, you still have some control over how much content is delivered at a time, and  - with some Learning Management System options, such as Practi - you can control the speed at which information is released

Try to design training cycles that your learners can complete within 15 minutes. This cycle should allow them to start, enter the training experience, learn something, and exit the experience with a sense of accomplishment that encourages them to plan for the next task.

Don’t Forget The Funny

“Anyone who tries to make a distinction between education and entertainment doesn't know the first thing about either.”
- Marshall McLuhan

Many people arrive at a mobile learning experience with an assumption that the experience will be both entertaining and engaging. If you’re looking for a shortcut to achieving all that, look no further than humor. If you can design your mobile learning content to incorporate appropriate and thoughtful humor your learners will embrace the move from classroom to independent learning. One caveat is to err on the side of less humorous if you are in doubt and to get early feedback before widely sharing humor since not everyone agrees on the same level of lightheartedness when it comes to training.

Whether you pepper your courses with lots of hilarity, you will be surprised to learn that the medium itself can encourage learners to be more self-motivated with regard to their own training success.

Choose mobile learning platforms, like Practi, which also incorporate ways to motivate self-directed learning through gamification options, progress tracking, and asynchronous learner facilitation. This means that you will soon free your teams from the physical classroom and allow them to take more control, and joy, in their learning.

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