How to create and deliver responsive e-learning
Ever had the experience of accessing a website on your smartphone and finding it really frustrating to use? Was it maddening to try to drag the impossibly small scroll bar? Or maybe the tiny data entry fields made entering your shipping address sheer agony? Why are some websites fine on your laptop … but on your tablet or smartphone, they just stink?
There ARE websites that deliver a great, user-friendly experience on every device. What’s their secret?
In the web design world, a website’s ability to adapt and fluidly respond to a user’s device size and orientation is known as “responsiveness.” But responsiveness isn’t only for websites. These days, people expect a seamless user experience when they’re accessing all sorts of online content, including e-learning. That’s because today’s learners are increasingly tech-savvy and comfortable with the idea of learning on the go on all their devices: laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. And, when they’re working hard to learn important new skills for their job, shouldn’t you be giving them a user experience that doesn’t stink?
That’s where creating responsive e-learning comes in. When e-learning is responsive, it saves you, and ultimately your learners, a lot of frustration. And, creating responsive e-learning doesn’t require a web developer with programming skills. Nowadays, creating responsive e-learning can be super simple.
So, let’s dive in and take a closer look at how you can create responsive e-learning.
How is e-learning created?
Before we focus on responsive e-learning, it’s helpful to understand the process of creating any kind of e-learning.
Most course creators use some variation of the following process. Below is a quick overview of it, but you can dig into the nitty-gritty of each step in this article: “What’s the Best Way to Create Online Training.”
1. Define your training goals
Training goals are what your training needs to accomplish. For example, if your sales associates need to increase their sales, one of your goals might be to help them overcome pricing objections when talking to prospective customers.
Having a clear understanding of goals can help you nail down the scope of content you’ll need to include in your e-learning course. Also, it will help you identify some success metrics you can refer back to later to make sure the e-learning you created actually helped you achieve your goals. For your sales associates, one example of a success metric could be seeing if their sales increased after completing your e-learning course on objection handling.
2. Gather and prioritize content
With an understanding of what your e-learning should accomplish, you’ll need to collect content from subject matter experts, stakeholders, and even your learners. Then, figure out which pieces of that content are most aligned to your training goals and most relevant and helpful to your learners.
By homing in on the most relevant content to use, you’ll find the e-learning you create in the next step will be inherently more engaging. When the content you include in your e-learning courses is concise and useful, you won’t need to add a lot of bells and whistles to get a learner’s attention.
3. Create and share your course
Historically, e-learning has been created and shared using a combination of apps. First, you’d need an “authoring app” to create the e-learning courses. And when you were ready to put that e-learning online, you would need another app, called a learning management system (LMS), to host it. An LMS is a platform for your published content—one that’s similar to a website, but with some special capabilities for tracking learner activity and quiz scores.
Today, you have newer, simpler options. For example, you can choose to use an all-inclusive online training system like Rise instead of juggling and integrating different apps. Rise gives you everything you need to create, distribute, and analyze your e-learning courses.
Creating responsive e-learning
With that quick overview of how e-learning is created, you’re now ready to think about responsiveness. How can you make sure your learners can access your courses from whatever device they’re using—laptops, tablets, or even smartphones? And how can you be sure you’re giving them a seamless, delightful experience no matter what device they’re using?
The key is deciding on the right app or system to create and distribute your e-learning. There are two major criteria:
First, you shouldn’t have to code to create responsive e-learning.
Whatever app you choose, it should be easy for even the biggest technophobe to use.
For instance, an all-inclusive training system like Rise gives you everything you need for creating responsive e-learning—no coding or web design expertise needed. Rise lessons are built in a matter of minutes, just by clicking and adding modular learning blocks to your course that can be arranged and customized with your content.
Best of all, because Rise is built for today’s multi-device learner, your courses will smartly respond and adapt to your learner’s device automatically. Content and images will reflow and reorganize to give your learners the best possible learning experience.
For example, interactions like flashcards can take up a lot more horizontal screen real estate on a larger-screened device like a laptop computer. Check it out:
But what happens to that same interaction on a smaller-screened device like a smartphone? It has a lot less screen real estate for the interaction. Rise does the smart thing and automatically optimizes the interaction for the best possible learning experience. Here’s how those flashcards look on a smartphone:
With Rise, all of this happens automatically. There’s no coding or effort required from you. If you’re considering an authoring solution that requires you to code or tweak your content to make it work on every device—or if it just seems complicated to use—run the other way and check out a system like Rise, which handles responsiveness for you.
Second, apps for deploying your responsive training should be easy to use.
If you’ve Googled the term “LMS,” you already know there are tons of options. And when you take a closer look at those search results, eventually, you’ll also find tons of users who hate LMSs. What gives?
The truth is that LMSs are notorious for their lack of usability (especially on mobile devices) —both for course creators and for learners. In many organizations, the LMS is so unwieldy they’ve actually created specialized roles—LMS administrators, for example—whose sole focus is managing and maintaining this one system. Under that model, course creators publish their e-learning and then pass the files to a person in this administrative role who loads them into the LMS and tests them to make sure they work. Often, the LMS administrator also fields technical support questions from learners having trouble accessing their courses. Many of those support requests are from users struggling to access or complete courses on their mobile devices.
The fact is, most LMSs are clunky and weren’t designed for today’s mobile learners. The user experience of navigating e-learning courses on small-screen devices is just plain lousy. Courses don’t scale well, and the LMS user interface gets in the way, big time. It makes for a confusing and frustrating experience for learners. It also costs you more money by requiring LMS administrators to troubleshoot courses constantly.
Deploying and sharing your e-learning courses with an all-inclusive training system that’s optimized for mobile just makes more sense. You’ll want a system like Rise that was built with mobile in mind from the start.
By now, we’re hoping you feel a whole lot better about the prospect of creating responsive e-learning. With the right technology, you won’t need to hire web developers or LMS administrators! Creating and delivering responsive e-learning that your learners will love is a quick and easy experience if you have the right all-in-one training system.