From an understanding of the mobile learner to the design and evaluation of your first prototype, this checklist covers the main aspects you need to consider.
Understanding the mobile learner
What mindset and habits does the learner have? What information, resources, or support does he need? When and where does he need that information? How and where does he want to access that information?
Understanding the needs
Is there a performance problem in your organization that could be solved by providing immediate information to employees? How can you foster peer collaboration, concept reinforcement, and better professional judgment by using just-in-time information? Do the employees need to collect and use input from the field? How can you help them become more productive? How can you enhance their knowledge?
Understanding the context
Where will the learners access the content? What do they need to know to perform a certain task in that context? How can you use the context to enhance learning? Can you use layers of information to reveal information at a particular location? What contextual conditions can affect learning?
Will you be designing for a specific mobile platform? Is your company going to acquire specific devices and distribute them among the employees? Is your company going to foster Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) policies? Do you need access to the Internet? Do you want to provide offline access to the content? Is your LMS optimized for mobile access?
What guidelines are you going to apply in order to secure organizational data and networks, manage maintenance and continuous support, and establish infrastructure requirements?
What is the single, most important task that learners need to accomplish? Are all the elements relevant and purposeful? What types of activities are you planning to include? How long does it take to complete a task?
What is the best tool for designing the solution? Do you need to design a short training video? Do you want to create a performance support application? Do you need to deliver a PPT presentation through different devices?
Will you be developing a web app or a native app? Which device-specific functionalities do you need to use? Do you need to deliver your content to a wide range of devices? Should you choose outsourced or in-house application development?
Security, updating, and tracking issues
What are your priorities? What are your needs in terms of security? Do you need to update content on a regular basis? At this stage, do you really need to track every learning activity, including mobile, social, and collaborative interactions?
Scope and objective of the project
Are you creating a mobile learning solution entirely from scratch or are you converting legacy content into mobile formats? According to the training needs that have been identified, which is the most relevant information you need to reshape and deliver in the short term
Your first prototype
How can you better show screen layouts, navigation patterns, and the information flow to stakeholders? How can you effectively gather relevant feedback to improve your design?
Is the content presented in a simple yet engaging way? Is it relevant? Does the course allow for personalization? Is the interface giving the learner continuous and meaningful feedback? Can learners move smoothly from one action to another? Are buttons and hyperlinks clearly visible and big enough? Is the information organized in small chunks? Does the course offer opportunities for social interaction? Are you going to use an online mobile emulator, or are you going to test your application´s performance on real devices? Is the course viewable on all mobile browsers? Do all the course elements work as expected? Is the user interface optimized for different screen resolutions and densities?
Editor’s note: This article is excerpted from Infoline, “Developing a Mobile Learning Strategy,” (ASTD Press, 2013). This Infoline outlines how to design a mobile learning strategy for organizations, provide an understanding of mobile learning's potential, and detail the steps involved in design, development, and implementation.