It was in May 2010 when Ethan Marcotte coined the term ‘Responsive Web Design’ to indicate the usage of a fluid grid system to enable webpages to respond to the device viewport. The goal was to improve user experience and to maximize efficiency for the developer, who only had to create one set of code. Almost a decade down and responsive websites are the norm now. It is such an important feature now that Google penalises websites that are not responsive. After making a big mark in web design, responsive design is gradually foraying into eLearning.
But, is there a need for eLearning to be responsive?
Let’s find out! The modern-day learner uses multiple devices and expects a course to be accessible on each. They also switch devices frequently and expect a smooth transition across all. A survey report from Towards Maturity sheds more light on the changing preferences of learners and their motivation to invest in online learning. 81% of the survey respondents used mobile devices for accessing learning and 64% find accessing learning from a mobile device essential/very useful. Although two out of four are able to access learning at their desk; many are taking advantage of short breaks and travel time to use their mobile devices to learn what they need. Proof enough that responsive eLearning is the need of the hour!
Responsive eLearning design ensures that a single course renders well on a variety of devices and screen sizes. It is much more than just rearranging elements so that everything is clearly seen on all devices. It is about empowering learners to easily achieve the necessary actions in a course, irrespective of the device they are using. It is about giving them the freedom to learn anytime and anywhere. There should not be a need to zoom-in, tilt the device, or skip an important action because it is not easily accessible. With new devices being released every few months, responsive eLearning design also helps keep costs in control and be future-ready. Proof enough that responsive eLearning is here to stay!
Is it difficult to create a responsive eLearning course?
Well, it is easier than what most course creators think. ‘Mobile-first’ is the approach to follow. Envision how your course elements and interactions will appear on a mobile phone. And then work it out for any other devices. Once you have thought through, have your development team work on it or if you have no programming resources, choose a responsive eLearning tool to get going.
How do you go about designing responsive eLearning? Any favorite tools on your list? Share through comments below.