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Improve the Mobile Learning Experience

  • 21 September, 2021
  • Reading Time: 10 min

In the spring of 2013, I was a “Publisher’s Rep” (gosh, I hated that term), walking around a busy college campus with a senior product leader at a major learning company. We talked about new products his team was bringing to the market, and I asked him, “What about mobile?” His response was, “Well, it works on tablets.” I stopped in my tracks. “Look around,” I said. “Every single one of these kids has a smartphone in their hand.”

Fast forward eight years, and I still don’t think most people know the possibilities of Mobile Learning.

Not only does the majority of the United States own and work on a smartphone, before the pandemic, one in four lower-income students didn’t have access to a computer or laptop at home. 45% of lower-income students used their cell phones to do their homework. 85% of all US adults have a smartphone. In April of 2020, 29% of parents indicated their child might have to do their schoolwork on a cellphone, with the highest percentage (43%) considered lower-income families. 47% of adult learners used mobile devices for digital readings.

With so many learners depending on their mobile devices to interact with content, we must continuously improve their learning experience on these devices.

Here in the U.S., school districts are beginning to open up again. People are getting vaccinated, and students are going back to school. Along with people starting to be on the move, the digital transformation we are experiencing will keep technology prevalent in and out of the classroom for students. That means mobile learning is here to stay. So let’s look at some ways you can improve your mobile learning products and help further propel your clients into the future of “learning on the go.”


1. Create lightweight, bite-size content

Use a micro-learning approach to create Content for mobile devices. Transforming study material and lessons into bite-sized content makes its access easier and has proven to increase student retention rates. In addition to the engagement, the content will improve usability. Heavy, long content formats take forever to download, view, and capture on a mobile device. A lightweight content strategy will allow students to digest the most relevant core concepts of a specific lesson—for example, digital flashcards. From anywhere and anytime, students can easily click through and practice understanding material.


2. Use mobile conducive formats

All applications, technology tools, and platforms used in the classroom should be easily accessible on mobile devices. This added convenience will enhance the mobile learning experience. Students should be able to take an assessment or resume working on a project that they began on a tablet in the classroom, on their mobile device. There is nothing more frustrating when an idea sparks in your head for a specific project, or you want to check a test score that just got released, and neither can are accessible with your smartphone.

With this flexibility, students will be comfortable operating various tools and applications across all devices and complete their work at the times that work best for them.


3. Enhancing Interaction

Student- Teacher and Student-Student interactions are essential pieces in any learning environment. Therefore, mobile learning environments must provide collaborative opportunities for teachers and students to work together towards learning objectives.

Mobile Device platforms should provide means for effective, timely communication between teachers and students. 

Along with interaction with teachers and students can experience learner-to-learner interaction. This will challenge students to overcome obstacles and solve problems independently.


4. Offline Access

Online learning is the future of education. Hence, it becomes important for schools to ensure offline content access. Users could be in locations where internet availability is an issue.

Schools must acknowledge that not all students, or even teachers, have the required devices and internet to use remote learning tools successfully. To combat this, it is crucial to make remote learning accessible through offline features. For example, in Google Suite, administrators can “allow users to enable offline access.” Once students or teachers download the offline google extension, they can use google docs, sheets, drives, and slides without being connected to Wi-Fi. IT teams should activate this feature on students’ devices.

This feature will allow kids to download documents, readings, handouts, lecture slides, and other material, upload them to google drive and access them offline.

Using platforms with offline features and that utilize these extensions is vital for an equitable virtual learning environment.

Mobile Learning is here to stay; It is important to understand and internalize that. We need a mindset that prioritizes mobile learning, and our design and development must reflect this mobile-first approach.

Are you looking to develop a mobile learning product? Let’s talk.


Sean Strathy

With a passion for the teaching and learning process and a continuous desire to learn about new technology, Sean helps organizations deliver better learning outcomes that are accessible, affordable, and measurable. His expertise is in staying on top of ed-tech trends so that his clients can innovate and improve student outcomes.

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