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5 challenges multi-device elearning can help solve


Multi-device elearning may be a trendy buzzword but there are compelling reasons why businesses are adopting it as a delivery strategy.

Creating elearning content that works across the widest possible range of devices can help to address some tricky enterprise challenges. 

It wasn’t all that long ago that if someone was online they were almost certainly using a PC or a laptop. Today, a huge range of devices and consumer goods are internet-enabled so you can’t make water-tight assumptions about how people are accessing your online content. Of course, smartphones are becoming increasingly predominant but recent research reminds us to take nothing for granted.

A study of Sponge’s LMS, Launch&Learn reveals that learners are accessing content via 16 different operating systems, evidence of the multi-device world in which we live. For some organisations, the fact that learners are accessing content in this way is cause enough to build the case for multi-device elearning, also known as responsive elearning.

But there are also specific enterprise benefits of taking a multi-device approach to elearning, depending on the challenges facing a particular organisation. Here are seven business problems where multi-device elearning could make a difference:  

Rapid change or crisis

Sometimes there is a requirement to deliver elearning quickly and this can be a particular challenge for large, global organisations. There may be a change in direction for the company, perhaps precipitated by the appointment of a new chief executive. Or, there may be a need for swift action following a crisis affecting the reputation of the business. Either way, the speed of the training rollout is an important factor. In this situation making elearning multi-device capable is a real advantage. Employees don’t have to wait for time on a corporate device as they can get the elearning done on whatever device they have to hand. This also allows them the flexibility to complete urgent training when they have the time.  

Varied workforce profile

Much is written about millennials and their smartphone usage, and it’s hard to argue with the data. More than 85% of 25-35 year olds use a smartphone – the highest percentage of any age group. So for businesses with a largely millennial workforce, it makes perfect sense to offer elearning on mobiles. But many organisations do not have a homogeneous workforce, employing people across a broad range of ages with differing skills, experience and needs. Some employees may be able to do their training on a mobile but with only 70% of 45-55 year olds owning a smartphone, there may be a proportion who cannot. Advances in elearning technology like the Adapt framework allows businesses to develop a single elearning course that can function on practically any device. This makes multi-device elearning a cost-effective option and makes sure all learners are catered for whether they use a smartphone, tablet, laptop or PC to do their online training.  

IT pressures

In some business sectors, large sections of the workforce don’t have access to a desk and a computer. Retail is an obvious example, where employees spend the majority of their time on the shop floor and space for a training office with dedicated PC is at a premium. Other service industries including travel, hospitality and catering have similar challenges in terms of IT access. Making workplace elearning available on a wide range of devices including tablets and smartphones is an obvious way to overcome these IT pressures and allow employees who cannot get to a PC to make full use of elearning and other online training programmes.

Poor product knowledge

Lack of product knowledge by sales staff can by a real problem in the demanding consumer environment of today. A survey by Red Ant found that 67% of customers have experience poor product knowledge and it is a significant factor driving them away. Clearly, this is of particular concern for retailers, but the same issues could apply to any sector where product knowledge is crucial, the automotive and pharmaceutical industries, for example. Multi-device elearning allows employees to have product knowledge training and information at their fingertips when they need it most. Tablet learning is particularly useful in this respect and some businesses are using dual-purpose content that can be used for staff training but also as an aid to show customers.  


Creating an elearning course costs time and money so organisations expect to get a reasonable shelf life for their investment. But with technology advancing so quickly, an elearning module could become defunct if it is only available on single device or operating system. By using responsive technology that can deliver elearning to the widest possible range of devices it is possible to extend the life and value of an elearning module.

In summary, five specific training challenges facing organisations around the globe can be met by adopting a multi-device or responsive elearning strategy:

  • The need for rapid change or a crisis response
  • Training a workforce that varies greatly in age, skills and experience
  • Limited access to desktop PCs or laptops
  • Customers being put off by poor product knowledge among sales staff
  • Wasted investment due to rapid changes in technology

Finally, the crucial point about multi-device elearning is that it offers businesses the best of both worlds. The ‘traditional’ practice of completing online training sat at a desk using an office PC is still available, but there is also the flexibility to enable learners to take an elearning course on practically any device. For this reason, more and more organisations are opting for multi-device elearning and we’d love to hear your experiences of solving real world training challenges with a responsive approach.

Sponge is one of the founding partners of Adapt, the world’s leading multi-device elearning framework, so if you have any questions about responsive elearning technology or design do get in touch.