Think about all the time you spend in front of screens, from TVs to computers, tablets and smartphones: We take in 90 percent of media consumption from screen-based sources. And, if your learners are already using screens to absorb media, talk to friends and be entertained, it only makes sense that your design strategy should follow suit. That’s where responsive design – creating modules that are compatible with a number of different screens – comes into play.

The Basics (Are you there when they call?)

Responsive design refers to ensuring that media is available across a number of devices. For eLearning, that means creating a course or module that can be accessed via mobile phone as readily as it is on the computer. Responsive design makes learning more accessible, regardless of device, time or location, which can be a huge advantage for learners who are short on time or can’t physically attend a class.

When it Works (Be Spontaneous!)

Responsive design works best when the subject matter is governed by time: Need-to-know and up-to-the-minute information that learners can’t necessarily absorb in a class setting. By creating flash cards, tips or even small quizzes that can be pushed out to a number of learners using a variety of devices, you don’t have to wait until a formal training course to get users to read and act on new info.

Responsive Context (Follow the Formula)

To understand the importance of responsive eLearning design, designers should first understand the context by which responsive design works for learners. It’s a simple formula and it looks something like this:

Time + Location + Goal = Learner Attitude

Responsive design helps leverage a learner’s time and location (say, on a bus during a 30-minute commute or at home for an hour of training). When combined with the ultimate goal of the training, such as a performance support, the ability to access the same module across a number of different devices can drastically alter a learner’s overall attitude. Instead of finding learning tedious, time-consuming and boring, they’re place in the driver’s seat of self-directed and convenient learning.