Mobile First Strategy for Training Content Development: An LMS Perspective


There is no doubt that our world has gone mobile, which is to say thatmobile devices have become an indispensible part of our lives, personal as wellas professional. Just look back a decade or two and you’re sure to be astoundedby the way mobile technology has reshaped our world. Today, every industry andevery domain is privy to the role mobile devices play in business environmentsacross the world.

The role of mobile devices becomes especially evident when you look atthe future generations and the future of work. With the global workforceexpected to be 75% of millennials and generation Zby 2025, it isclear that both these generations will have a major say in the future of work. And,to effectively engage these generations, global organizations need a mobilefirst strategy that perfectly complements today’s modern learners’ lifestyles.

Being a learning technology professional, I have seen the impact mobile technology has hadover eLearning,employee training and corporate Learning & Development (L&D) as awhole. Mobile Apps are extremely popular among millennials. They almost have anapp for anything and everything. So, why should learning be any different?

ELearning and learning technology have certainly come a long way, and withincreasing mobile penetration across the world and availability of highinternet connectivity, global organizations have long realized the business opportunity in leveragingmobile devices tomaximize the impact of corporate L&D. Developing eLearning courses andadapting training methodologies to better engage with today’s employees will certainlyhelp organizations maximize learner engagement, knowledge retention,productivity and overall performance.

Mobile Learning or MLearning enables organizations to notonly make considerable cost reductions but also save time by avoidingunnecessary logistical costs, enabling access to learning at the touch of a button,while employees have the flexibility to learn anytime, anywhere. As a result, forward-thinkingorganizations are already looking at boosting employee performance andproductivity by engaging with the modern learners’ mobile lifestyle. However,MLearning has as much to do with the technology and/or the device as it has todo with eLearning, the courses’ design, mobile compatibility and readiness andmore.

Most of our corporate customers are increasingly moving towards using UpsideLMS Mobile app, as it comes packed with the same set of features and upgrades as UpsideLMS, and supported by better network connectivity and speeds, it’s hardly a surprise why UpsideLMS Mobile App has been so popular among millions of users.

However, one of the key challenges we face with MLearning is with the customers being unhappy with how their eLearningcontent is displayed on the mobile devices. Although most of our users are wellaware of the need for their content to be mobile compatible, they lack thegeneral understanding of what ‘mobile compatible’ really means, through nofault of their own. Most of the time, as I have often realized, it’s amiscommunication or inept understanding or expectation setting between the eLearningcourse vendors and the customers.

For example, most of us prefer to browse any website or any kind ofcontent on mobile devices in the default portrait mode as it’s the most naturalway of browsing web content on a mobile device and almost all websites areoptimized for this orientation. Unfortunately, many course development vendors oftenend up convincing customers that the best way to consume training on mobiles isin the landscape mode, and some even go as far as locking their content inlandscape mode.

As preposterous as that sounds, I believe the reason eLearning coursevendors do this is because the content was never designed considering a mobile-firststrategy in the first place, and making the content mobile compatible was anafterthought. As a result, in such a case, the best and only solution for themis to simply shrink the layout and assets, which eventually ends up ruining theasset quality and resolution. As the vertical real estate of the mobile device availableto content is much limited, and much of the space is taken over by coursenavigation options, the entire learning becomes extremely frustrating.

So, I have come to realize that when a user complains about a certain course not being compatible with UpsideLMS Mobile app, the issue is almost always at the course development vendor’s end and has nothing to do with the platform itself. Yet, as learn-tech solutions providers, we try our best to explain this issue to our customers and advise them to check the mobile compatibility of any eLearning course by opening the course in a mobile browser and then viewing the same course in landscape mode, followed by sharing a sample mobile compatible content that can be launched and experienced in portrait mode.

Unfortunately, by the time the real issue is revealed there is a certainair of disappointment and frustration around the whole project, while the contentdevelopment vendor seldom owns any responsibility, suggesting it was never partof their scope of work. Meanwhile, the customer has budget constraints to evenconsider reinvesting any more in redesigning the same course for the secondtime. Most of the times we try our best to resolve the customers’ issues, oftento positive outcomes, but the real issues still persist without a clear andpresent solution.

Takeaway: Organizations shouldalways consider a mobile first strategy while designing their eLearning coursecontent or instruct their content development vendor to design the course witha mobile first strategy right from the get-go. This will go a long way inensuring clarity of individual objectives and will save costs, time and ensurethe eLearning course is designed as per the stated requirements.

At UpsideLMS, we understand our clients’ challenges and business needs to offer the best possible solution for them to achieve their desired learning outcomes, and we strive to offer a range of resources to inform and empower L&D professionals to aid better decision-making. To learn more about MLearning and the LMS, download our comprehensive EBook – Mobile Learning: The LMS Perspective