Top Five M-Learning Best Practices for SoftChalk Mobile Users

Mobile learning is an emerging area of e-learning and the best practices are continually evolving. Today Robert Godwin Jones, a founding partner of SoftChalk, shares the top five best practices for SoftChalk’s m-learning tools.

1. Use automatic mobile formatting feature in SoftChalk 7

When you save a lesson in SoftChalk 7 or higher, a mobile-friendly version of the lesson content is created (in a folder labeled “mobile”) and included when the lesson is packaged or published. When a user accesses that lesson on a mobile phone such as an iPhone or Android phone, this specially formatted Web version of the content is delivered automatically. The font size, page width/formatting, navigation and image size are optimized for a smaller screen.

2. Avoid using Flash-based content

Flash is not supported on Apple mobile devices. This includes the iPhone, iPad and the iPod touch. Flash is supported on some but not all Android devices. However, performance of Flash on mobile devices is not robust—it may run slowly or erratically and may cause a system crash.  You can use the new HTML5 activities in SoftChalk with mobile devices, but Flash-based activities or videos will not be displayed.

3) Keep sidebar items to a minimum

Sidebar items will be displayed differently on a mobile device and will not be as readily visible as in a desktop browser. Content can be read, but users will have to click on the link to access it.

4) Avoid overly large or complex pages or lessons

If you are developing with mobile delivery in mind, it is advisable to divide your content into smaller units. Consider separating presentation and assessment on separate pages. It’s also not a good idea to load up the page with a large number of quizpoppers or activities. Mobile devices and their Web browsers may not have the same memory capacity as desktop environments and may thus have difficulty processing complex or very long pages. By the same token, it is preferable not to have an excessive number of images on a page.

5) Test your design

With new mobile devices being launched every week, it’s hard to know which platform your students will be using to access your course content, unless specific devices are given to the student.  Before releasing a mobile lesson to your students make sure to test it on different mobile devices. Also test what types of content and which layouts work best for your students.  Do they prefer small blurbs of text followed by self- assessment questions or would it be better to have video tutorials with self-assessment questions?

What are your top tips for mobile learning?


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  2. Susan J. Clark, PhD

    I’ve found one type of flash-based activity that DOES work on an iPod touch,etc. and can be integrated into a Softchalk lesson beautifully. (Drum roll please…) It’s a Pencast. I’m very excited about the possibilities after this discovery. Is anyone at Softchalk looking into this? It’s use may turn out to be a best practice in the near future. Please email me if you’d like an example or demonstration.

  3. Roy Bowery

    I learned today that inserting images throws off the margins of a SoftChalk project in mobile view (as it would with almost any web development tool). So it seems to be better to insert a thumbnail image, then link from it to the full size image, esp if it’s a screenshot with important text. Here is a sample: from our University of Memphis support site for Adobe Connect. If there is a better way, please let me know.

    • Brittany

      Thanks for your comment Roy. You are correct, if you’re using a large image with important text, a thumbnail with a link is probably be the best way to display the image. If the minor details in the image aren’t super important you could simply reduce the image size.

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