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What Choose Your Own Device (CYOD) means for elearning


Choose Your Own Device (CYOD) is seen by many as the natural successor to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). But what are the implications for workplace elearning as this new business device strategy evolves?

In 2013, the death of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) as a corporate strategy was predicted. Even though many organisations continue to adopt BYOD, there is evidence that the heir apparent is now Choose Your Own Device (CYOD).

They are similar but not the same. Both relate to the fact that people are increasingly using mobile devices in every aspect of their lives, and this social change needs to be reflected in the workplace. But whereas BYOD allows employees to use any personal device, CYOD sets some boundaries. 

The exact definition of CYOD varies between organisations but generally speaking it’s all about creating a compromise between device flexibility and IT security. Instead of a device free-for-all, employees can pick from a list of approved devices when carrying out their work. Some organisations will want to issue their own tech while others may allow personal devices as long as they are from the approved list. Either way, by setting some limits on the range of devices, organisations can simplify their management of mobile tech as well as standardise security arrangements. According to a report on technology trends for 2015, many large businesses are much more comfortable with the CYOD model and it is gaining pace.

Clearly, a change of direction in terms of workplace device use has implications for elearning but what are the challenges and opportunities offered by CYOD?

Longer Shelf Life

One of the greatest challenges of the BYOD model in terms of elearning is the sheer variety of devices available. Providing elearning which can keep pace with changes to operating systems, screen sizes, configurations and updates can be problematic for organisations to manage. There is a tension between facilitating flexibility and creating an online training portfolio with any degree of longevity. CYOD provides a happy medium where organisations can expect their elearning to have a decent shelf life because they have a say as to which devices it will be used on.

Still Multi-Device

CYOD is based on people being able to have a choice of approved devices so multi-device elearning remains very much part of the offering. Indeed, it becomes more important because if an organisation approves a particular mobile device then an employee might reasonably expect to be able to do their workplace elearning on it. But delivering effective multi-device elearning is not without its challenges. It is one of the reasons we helped to create Adapt, the world’s first open-source responsive authoring tool. A single elearning module built in Adapt will automatically adjust to fit the screen of any supported device or browser. It gives learners the choice of doing their elearning on a PC, tablet or smartphone, depending on which suits them best.

Better Responsive Design

Designing elearning which works well in a BYOD world can be a headache. Taking into account changes in screen size is one thing but creating elearning which performs perfectly on every device on the market is just impractical. Likewise, effective testing cannot be done for every single device. CYOD allows designers to know upfront which devices their elearning will be used on so they can tailor the experience, check for problems and optimise any features. It boils down to the difference between a ‘catch-all’ or a customised approach to responsive elearning design. Ultimately, it should allow better elearning because the production team can concentrate on design for a few rather than a myriad of platforms.

But whether organisations decide on Bring Your Own Device or Choose Your Own Device they will still need to be ready to adapt to the next development in technology. As Apple launches its new smart watch, many will wonder whether we are on the verge of another sea change in device usage and what that might mean for business and workplace elearning.

Talk to Sponge about your multi-device elearning needs.