Thinking beyond “send only” learning will put your association above the rest. We often design continuing education environments with a limited and pragmatic strategy that requires members to try to unpackage and “learn” the material on their own. It forces the learner into an inefficient and less-than-pleasant learning experience.
Thinking about our learners empathetically helps us design learning environments that are effective sources of information and that also increase the knowledge connections and personal growth of association members.
Top Learning Management Systems adopt a mobile-friendly LMS that is designed with empathy to offer unique appeal to members and meet their needs in a way other programs cannot. Start by focusing on the present and future contexts in which your members already process or acquire knowledge.
How Mobile Are Your Members?
Understanding the mobility of your learner population, their ownership and use of different mobile devices, and how they use their devices for accessing information is vital to designing empathetic learning products. Learning products that engage your members in their own time, place and way of learning. It removes the barrier of them reaching you.
Designing learning environments for mobile learners is beyond the infrastructure and making sure that all your course materials can be accessed on a mobile device. In fact, such a limited strategy can inevitably result in frustration for learners. Mobile, web-based learning is also about context, time constraints, and sizes of information consumed at any one time. Not surprisingly, mobile eLearning takes place on different mobile devices beyond laptops and desktops.
The Advantages of Mobile Learning
Mobile learning, when explored beyond just the way learners physically access material, provides a social learning opportunity with high engagement and even develops into booming social communities.
The flexibility provided by online courses and mobile applications results in higher retention of learned content and higher completion rates.
Successfully and easily acquiring new knowledge is a huge benefit of association membership that members will take with them to their next job opportunity, at work project, and beyond.
Plus, with a web-based platform, members can share their real-world experiences with new members; switching from learner to educator.
Higher retention rates
Social learning is engaging, and when people interact with content, they’re more likely to understand and fully absorb it. A responsive LMS offers a workspace where professionals can share, talk, and promote their work.
This highlights concepts in action and provides real-world application of classroom theory where online learners can see the principles in action. In fact, one university took their student retention from 86% to 92% by using NextThought's suite of higher ed apps.
Higher completion rates
In a digital learning environment, learners can learn at their own pace and don’t have to wait for courses to be released or for exams to be scheduled so they can progress forward. Course completion rates are higher and your less likely to lose engaged members between traditional learning quarters, for example.
The NextThought platform allows instructors to track a student’s individual participation and performance within a course of study while simultaneously allowing students to track their progress through the coursework.
A great benefit of mobile learning is better access to educators and peers. Having mobile apps that are user-friendly encourages more frequent engagement and generates the creation of a strong digital community.
Award-winning LMS have responsive designs that reduce frustration and provide an intuitive easy-to-use platform for groups and discussion threads. Learners can ask questions, participate in discussions and develop professional relationships.
Members of the learning and teaching community benefit from the sharing of expertise. In a social learning environment, the back-and-forth communication encourages your organization’s leading members to challenge their existing thought processes resulting in new and more innovative concepts.
Incorporating social media can facilitate communication by creating a virtual classroom environment where members can collaborate and receive real-time feedback. Other examples to engage and inspire learners include:
- Hosting Q&A sessions,
- Requiring learners to research by interviewing industry professionals,
- Asking learners to find and share current event articles or blog posts,
- Creating opportunities for learners to teach each other, and
- Requiring online group collaboration projects.
Long commutes, irregular work schedules, and, in general, work and life balance can be deterrents to participation in associations but with mobile-friendly LMS, flexibility is not only a goal but a reality. It can be accessed on the go and there’s no time lost in commuting. Participants can also learn as fast or as much as they’d like. They can control their own engagement level.
Providing a web-based learning platform also clearly shows that associations understand that their time is valuable and that ease of accessibility is key.
Online learning systems provide cost savings for both associations and their members. They eliminate the need for physical classrooms, printed course materials, as well as travel time and scheduling. Open source course materials help supplement learning by providing variety and exposure to different learning materials. Most importantly, it is a resource at no additional cost.
In today’s technologically savvy society, most members already have a mobile device such as a phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer making the cost of access low. A mobile-friendly LMS also opens up the opportunities for free trials to new members which is a great engagement tool for making your association stand out from the rest.
Designing Your Learning Environment for Mobile Members
When we design environments specifically for highly mobile learners, we want to think about the ways they normally access new information as well as what their expectations are for interactivity. We want to think about travel patterns – domestic and international.
Finally, as we look at devices and ancillary apps, we should consider the entire learning ecosystem that will shape the environment we’re designing.
Remember these three points for creating a successful elearning strategy:
- There is an important relationship between learning environments and learning experiences.
- eLearning environments should be designed for how people learn.
- Technology should support learning and performance goals.
Mobile Friendly LMS
From a learner empathy perspective, here are some of the questions we might ask members before beginning our learning design process:
- What does your “typical” workday look like? What percentage of your workday is spent in transition from one point to another?
- In addition to your normal work commute, what other mobility patterns appear in a typical day or week?
- Is the amount of time you spend “on the go” at work increasing or decreasing? Why?
- What are the different ways you access new information when you’re mobile for work – including commuting, travel, at meetings, and moving between meetings? What is your preferred personal process when you’re “on the go” for accessing new information?
- Of the different tools or devices you use for accessing new information while “on the go,” which seem to be most effective? Why?
- If you could design the perfect delivery and access solution for acquiring new information “on the go,” what would that look like? What form would the information take? How would it get to you?
Get a demo of the NextThought LMS
NextThought’s LMS features keep learner engagement, collaboration, and performance at the forefront of design. The learning platform includes enhanced user experience, contextualized conversations, comprehensive search, mentor communities, assessments, and user activity reports for continued improvements. These elements establish a solid foundation for learners, promoting a learning environment that fosters improved participant satisfaction and learning potential.