by AJ George
Back in February I discussed the growing adoption of mobile learning as a viable means for eLearning and communicating ideas. Now I'd like to take a brief look at a few technical aspects to keep in mind when developing mLearning.
- Keep file sizes relatively small. A typical mLearning lesson should be no more than 2-3 megabytes.
- Be mindful of how many images you use and their sizes. Large images take longer to load and should only be used if they are actually enhancing the information you are presenting.
- Minimize the use of audio. Not only does audio make file sizes larger, but it will often be a wasted addition. Think about where your learner will be accessing this learning. An airport? A metro line? A doctor's waiting room? None of these places are conducive for learning with the sound turned on.
- While PDAs can usually play stereo sound, often mobile phones can only play mono sound, so when you do create sound files, consider creating a mono version specifically for mLearning.
- Limit lengthy text to avoid scrolling. Instead provide links to further information.
- Ensure that you stick to high contrast text that can be easily seen on a mobile device. My personal preference is for dark text on a light background, but light text on a dark background can also be perfectly readable. Take into consideration that mobile users might access your learning outside. Will they be able to read it on a sunny day?
- Mobile devices like the iPad and the iPhone have screens that can be flipped and viewed horizontally or vertically, so design your mLearning with easily adjustable aspect ratios.
It should be noted that these tips are all generally speaking. For instance, your mLearning topic may be better, if not completely dependent upon a heavy use of audio. Just keep your audience in mind and stick to the old "less is more" mantra when catering to on-the-go learners.
About the author: AJ George, a cum laude graduate of Towson University, is IconLogic's lead Technical Writer and author of the book "PowerPoint 2007: The Essentials" and the just-released "PowerPoint 2008 for the Macintosh: The Essentials." You can follow AJ on Twitter at http://twitter.com/andrayajgeorge.