Smart Phone

The majority of us have a smart phone with us everywhere we go. What’s more, we’ve all become rather efficient at using them to send and receive text messages and email, schedule appointments, take photos, and sometimes even make a call. But there a few functions we have failed to maximize. 

Just as we use mobile devices to push learning and information to people, we can use them to create learning and information, such as audio and video elements. Here are five ways you use your mobile device to create content for an upcoming learning solution. 

evernote#1. Take Notes 

Whether you’re in a meeting, at a conference, or participating in some other event, there are dozens of apps you can use to capture notes, ideas, or to-dos. One of my favorite tools is Evernote, an app used to create documents that automatically sync between your phone, tablet, and desktop devices. While writing, you can simply touch record to snap an image, grab an image from your library, or record an audio note.  

skitch#2. Sketch and Illustrate a Concept 

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. A sketch can help learners and other stakeholders visualize complex concepts and processes—so they can provide feedback or apply the idea more quickly. Two useful apps are Skitch and Adobe Ideas; they enable users to import a photo or start with blank page. Also, users can save sketches to a photo library, cloud storage, or email them to others. 

#3. Capture Photos, Video, and Audio 

Most up-to-date devices have the capability to snap photos and record video and audio. For instance, the built-in camera can quickly capture anything—from a computer screen to people working on the job to machinery in action. When using your camera, remember to touch the screen once to focus on a specific area. Using an image editing app, you can quickly add notes or highlights to help explain an idea or pinpoint a specific element. 

VideoShopMost devices can also capture video-based content. This is handy option for recording quick interviews with learners or experts. To enhance recordings, use a tripod to steady the camera and improve the quality of your content. VideoShop Video Editor (currently iOS only) is my favorite video capture and editing program; it works great for short bite-sized clips.   

Keep in mind that the built-in microphones on most mobile devices work best in quiet, controlled environments. So if you’re in the field or trying to capture audio in a large meeting room, invest in a wired or wireless lavaliere to improve the audio quality.

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Finally, users can typically set up their tools to auto sync captured images, video, or audio to a desktop or share them via email or text messages. 

Adobe Color#4. Amp Up Your Design 

There are a multitude of apps that you can use to boost the design quality of your notes, images, videos, and so forth. For instance, Adobe Color captures the colors of your photos and videos and creates a palette. You can then touch a specific color to build around, and it will suggest complimentary colors.

what the fontSimilarly, have you ever seen a cool font, but wasn’t sure what it was? With What the Font app, you can snap a photo of text (from a screen, magazine, poster, whatever) and it will identify the exact font. This is a nifty way to learn about typefaces and expand your font library.

 #5. Prototype a Project

ptototypeonpaperIf you have started to think about or are actively creating mobile solutions, there are several apps that you can use to brainstorm and prototype a concept. This works best for quickly explaining or testing an idea before moving into production. For example, using the Prototyping on Paper app, you can quickly sketch concepts on paper, snap some photos, add hot spots or animation effects to demonstrate the concept, and then email a web link of the prototype for others to collaborate on.    

Bottom Line 

Mobile apps aren’t limited to games, there are some innovative tools L&D practitioners can use to not only deliver mobile learning, but actually help create it. As you start to experiment, I encourage you to ask peers—inside and outside of learning—how they use their mobile devices to be more productive and creative. (Full disclosure, this article was written on an iPhone 6. Images were added afterwards on my laptop.) 

Join Nick Floro at the next LearnNow: Mobile Learning in Action event for more practical ways to make mobile work for your organization. During this hands-on event, you’ll have the chance to create a real mobile learning solution, learn from and collaborate with industry-leading experts, and immediately apply what you learn to your own work.