How responsive elearning design emerged
9th June 2014
The past few years have seen a huge rise in the use of smartphone and tablet devices and as such, many site owners have found that their site isn’t really suitable for the modern internet.
The response to this from the design community has been the emergence of Responsive Web Design (RWD).
This means that sites can now be built using grids that adapt to fit the device, no matter what screen size it’s viewed on, if it’s built to be responsive. We won’t blind you with science or go into any real detail about the mechanics of this, but suffice to say that responsive design has become huge over the past couple of years – everyone wants a responsive site.
Similarly, the elearning industry has responded to the demand for easily viewable content across devices. This makes for a flexible elearning environment in which the student can learn in many different scenarios.
Learn Across Multiple Devices
As the lines between work and leisure become increasingly blurred, many workers now learn on the go. Imagine the scenario; rather than be tied to a desk or a classroom, those that take advantage of elearning using a responsive solution can learn wherever they are. Perhaps when commuting to and from work, or even when bored in front of the TV of an evening.
The latter isn't as far-fetched as it might sound either; we live in a world where we use our mobile devices constantly and it’s not uncommon to fit in bits and pieces of work in our leisure time.
Responsive frameworks such as those provided by Adapt, which is an open source tool, make it so much easier to create lessons and courses that can easily be ‘adapted’ for each device. For example, pop-ups on a desktop will become sliders on a phone and content will be scaled to fit.
Benefits of Responsive Elearning
To some extent, the benefits of using a responsive framework to deliver your elearning to staff are self-evident. Users can pick up where they left off on any number of devices that they might own.
If you consider that tech giants Cisco predict that by 2017 the average US household will have five devices per person, then the usefulness of providing a responsive elearning platform to users is obvious. This brings us back to the work-leisure divide however; is it really reasonable to expect that an employee will take their work home with them?
According to the annual Edenred-Ipos Barometer of 8800 employees across the EU, two-thirds of workers already do. This can largely be attributed to the growing culture of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) in the workplace, as the many devices that we own makes it easier to work from home. Already in the UK 54% of companies allow BYOD schemes, but of course this must be balanced with some flexibility from the employer if they are to maintain employee morale.
Balancing Work and Play
This balance is somewhat being dictated by the worker though, as 62% participating in a BYOD scheme state that they run personal errands whilst at work. Whilst thinking of implemented a responsive elearning platform then, companies should consider the impact on employees and create strong policies that allow for some flexibility of working.
However, this should have little impact on the bottom line for a company in a negative sense. In fact, elearning platforms now encourage engagement and productivity, especially if the employee has the opportunity to collaborate with others.
Other benefits include:
- Cost effectiveness when compared to traditional learning
- Ability for workers to improve their skills enough to be considered for promotion
- Ease of managers to monitor learning and select talent
- Ability to be able to access courses at any time, from anywhere with an internet connection
Multiple Devices, One Standard
The beauty of a responsive elearning solution is that it’s a simple matter for it to be changed, as it’s written in the new web standard HTML5. With responsive, you don’t have to worry about creating different versions of the course for different platforms. One course written in HTML5 will adapt itself in order to be viewed on various screens. This means that for those companies that do want to offer cross-device learning, it’s incredibly cost-effective. You can adapt what’s delivered to a device easily without the need for writing a whole new course.
With Adapt, it’s also a simple matter to connect the responsive elearning course into any SCORM-compatible LMS. As this is the industry standard, this means that upgrading systems is not necessary, once again saving the company money.
It’s a simple matter to write courses that are fully searchable and accessible and to change text-based modules quickly and easily, even if they have to be translated into various languages for different offices situated around the globe.
Why Choose a Responsive Framework?
The benefits far outweigh any negatives that you may come up with. It’s cost-effective, easily integrated into existing systems and allows employees a certain amount of freedom. This in turn allows them to take charge of their own learning, and an empowered employee is a happy one.
What’s more, empowered employees are also more productive, meaning that your business will benefit in more ways than simply giving more skills to your workers. Technology is reshaping the workplace and for the most part, this change is positive. Workers are more fully engaging with all aspects of the company intranet, if it’s intelligently set-up, and the LMS and elearning environment is a huge part of this.
Author: Kate Pasterfield, Creative Director at Sponge.