According to the Pew Research Center, nearly 80% of Americans own smartphones and 51% own tablets. With that many people accessing the internet via smartphones, Learning Management Systems (LMS) must offer a complete learning experience for mobile devices. The Accord LMS offers full functionality for learners, teachers and LMS Administrators on mobile devices for learning on the go.
This article highlights two different approaches to mobile Learning Management and offers practical advice for organizations planning to implement mobile learning solutions.
Mobile Learning Management
A LMS facilitates the delivery and management of online and instructor led training. The term Mobile Learning Management refers to LMSs that can provide some or all of their functionality through a mobile device such as a smart phone or tablet computer.
Software vendors have two main architectures that they can select when creating a mobile application: Native Apps and Responsive Design. A basic understanding of each approach will help organizations select the most effective solution for their needs.
Native apps can be downloaded from online stores for Apple, Android, and Windows. Games like Candy Crush are good examples of native apps. Each marketplace has a separate version of the program that has been written for their device. For example, Candy Crush games for the iPhone and Android are different programs.
Previously, native apps were the only option available to software developers who wanted to provide a optimized mobile experience. This led to an explosion of apps ranging from games to business applications. Today, most applications do not need native apps to present a great user experience. However, some applications do need native apps to directly access the device hardware for geo-positioning or camera access, but none of these features are required by learning management systems.
Some native LMS apps offer off-line training options. This gives the user the ability to download training modules and complete them when they are in locations that lack internet support. Each year, mobile Internet access gets closer to 100% coverage. For those learners who are operating in remote locations without reliable Internet access, a mobile LMS app might be a good solution as long as they are able to select their training prior to leaving an Internet hotspot and do not require any additional LMS functionality.
In the fall of 2014, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) released its final recommendation for HTML/5. HTML/5 offers the features necessary to create web experiences that are interactive, support multi-media file formats, and respond dynamically to any device. Simply put, a responsive web design allows a browser-based application, like the Accord LMS, to automatically adapt to each smart phone, tablet, laptop, or PC. Responsive design does not require any local software.
“Responsive design is straightforward. Because it is fluid, it means that users can access your online world and enjoy as much of it on their handheld device as they would on a massive monitor. “
- Interactive Design Foundation
Evaluate your Requirements
Evaluating mobile learning solutions requires the same type of analysis as any other software investment. In short, the first step is to determine what is needed from a mobile learning management system. Will both your Learner and Administrators need mobile access? How often will they be away from internet access? Take time to verify that any mobile system offers all of the necessary features on the mobile platform. Mobile LMS vendors may offer limited features for LMS learners while not providing administrative functionality to mobile device users.
Accord LMS Mobile Support
Mobile use is a primary consideration in every part of the Accord LMS. Our fully responsive design allows any user to access our LMS from any browser on any device. Furthermore, every feature of the LMS, such as assessments, surveys, messages, and assignments can be used from mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops. With appropriate content, learners and LMS admins will enjoy access to all learning and administrative features from their smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops.
Mobile Ready Content
LMSs can provide learning content in a variety of formats. In the case of an LMS in a mobile environment, the content must be appropriate for the devices in question. The Accord LMS can scale any content, including images, documents, assessments and assessments that have been uploaded into the LMS. In addition, external streamed content such as YouTube or Vimeo properly scales as well. Being able to show the content on the device does not guarantee a good user experience for the learner. While the content may load successfully, will the learner be able to read the fine details of large format PDF or PowerPoint presentations? A fully mobile LMS combined with content that has been designed with the mobile learner in mind can be a real advantage for staff that will be accessing their training from office, or home or remote cities.
Chrome Resizer App
Nothing beats testing applications and content on the device where they will be used. If specific devices are not available, the Chrome Store has a useful application for quickly testing responsive applications and mobile content in the Chrome browser. Window Resizer comes preset with several popular mobile device screen sizes. Testers can also enter custom window dimensions to simulate any device. The Resizer shows how a responsive web application will appear at different resolutions.
Required for Today's Learners
With the continuing expansion of the Internet through 4G and WiFi hotspots, connectivity is more reliable than ever. A well designed responsive Learning Management System can provide all system features without installing additional programs (apps) on every learner’s device. For more information on how Accord LMS can help address your Learning Management requirements, please contact the Accord sales team. Accord offers one of the most powerful and affordable Learning Management Systems on the market today. We’d be happy to discuss your project and demonstrate the full range of our mobile learning capabilities.