Distribution StrategiesMobile Training

Easing the transition to tablet e-learning development for manufacturers

Employ these simple techniques and you will streamline the shift of your e-learning courses to tablet devices

It’s coming. Whether you’re in the middle of a transition to mobile e-learning delivery or just starting to plan for it; delivering service, safety, installation or product training on those smaller handheld devices is in your future. Sure the screen size is smaller than the desktop, but they’re becoming so pervasive and their portability and ability to deliver content at the right place and time offers distinct opportunities. So let’s take a look at how to simplify the transition to delivering valuable content on this newer mobile platform.

BUILD ONCE, DELIVER TO MULITPLE PLATFORMS – The key recommendation to simplify the transition process to tablet is to build once for both tablet and desktop so your course will run on both platforms.  This approach will help build in a transition phase, without creating extra work for your production team or concern on the part of your stakeholders.

To accomplish this, design for the smallest resolution device that your audience will be using. So if an iPad is the smallest device, design for that size making sure to account for browser chrome and toolbars. Android devices vary by size and manufacturer, so make sure you know the size of the model you are targeting.

This method will allow you to design once for all formats including desktop.  Also keep in mind that different tablets have different aspect ratios; iPads are 4:3, while Androids are 16:9 or 16:10. I also recommend fixing the orientation to landscape if possible.

This will save time in the design, authoring and testing phase, allow for better placement of content and also flow well if videos are incorporated into the training.

SIMPLIFY CONTENT – Mobile delivery in a manufacturing environment quite often doesn’t allow for an employee to learn in an office or at a desk. Often learners are completing training using a mobile device while on the assembly line, in a stock room or near the product. So it is best to keep learning modules short and to the point.  Sound Instructional design techniques such as:

  • explaining what is to be learned
  • why it’s important to the individual
  • offering instructive feedback

still hold true, but break your content down into small bite-size chunks coupled with simple visuals when appropriate.

DESIGN FOR A TOUCH DEVICE – Take the following into consideration when you design graphics:

  • Mouse hover or rollover does not exist on a tablet; be sure to design your graphics and interface to be self-evident.
  • Those little buttons that we may use to save space in desktop training applications have got to go. Buttons need to be large enough to be touched (total touch area of at least 44 X 44 pixels), so your users aren’t missing or clicking on the wrong buttons.
  • Use high resolution images to take advantage of the built in zoom feature allowing the user the option of seeing more detail.

STANDARDIZE YOUR VIDEO – Videos are used a lot in industrial training applications. You will want to standardize on the .mp4 video format, if possible. It is native to the iPad and Android tablets along with Mac and PC desktops. Be aware that you need to tap on the video to start it playing on an iPad.

Transitioning to mobile e-learning is inevitable. These simple tips should help you jump start the process.

Ron Trilling
Author of Learning Lines | Founder and Partner, at Media Dynamics
Ron is a great source of information when it comes to eLearning. He has a background in instructional design and has worked with many companies to help develop their eLearning content and courses.
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