Developing a Learning Culture

Tablet-Based eLearning: The New Frontier

How interesting that the writer’s axiom, “Show, don’t tell,” helps to remove the written word from today’s learning ecosystem. “Show, don’t tell,” originally meant, “Paint a picture with words.” Today, it means, “Show me already,” with l earners running from the two-dimensional, flat experience of reading. They want organic, experiential learning, and tablet-based learning delivers.

What is Tablet-Based Learning?

Tablet-based learning is a subset of mLearning, a hybrid learning that combines elements from mLearning with elements from eLearning. However, hold a tablet in one hand to see how weight and balance issues can detract from the learning experience.

Context is King When Selecting a Device

Context is the major driver in selecting a device format. For example:

  • Goal – Is a tablet device consistent with the goal of the training?
  • Time – Is the length of the training manageable with a tablet considering its weight?
  • Location – Where will the learner access the learning module?
  • Portability – Goes hand in hand with location. Will the learner have a tablet with him or her when viewing and interacting with the learning module?
  • Access – Will the device have connectivity (4G for smartphone vs. Wi-Fi for the tablet) when the learner needs it?
  • Functionality – Can the tablet perform and accommodate the information the learner needs?

Designing for Tablet-Based eLearning

Below, you’ll find a few things to consider when designing for the tablet:

  • Screen size – IDC, which tracks trends, reports that the predominant screen size is 7–8 inches and is on track to remain the largest segment of tablet screen sizes through 2017, with the 8–11 inch screen gaining momentum. Tablet-based learning scales up to the PC screen easier than it scales down to the smartphone screen.
  • Fingertip input – Selecting options is better than on the phone, but text entry is cumbersome. (Where’s a stylus when you need one?)
  • Engagement – According to a Google report, multitaskers now embrace multi-screening—using more than one device at a time. The least simultaneous screen usage (9 percent) occurred while viewing videos vs. 25 percent simultaneous screen usage while playing games, a talent probably honed from driving while texting. Include more video and fewer, simpler games, such as game-based flash cards.
  • Navigation – More flexible for tablet-based learning than mLearning. It’s less critical to reserve the top of the screen for navigation than it is when designing for the phone.
  • Orientation – Not as critical as for the phone, but landscape is usually best.

If it’s your first foray into tablet-based learning, expect some trial and error during and after development. Or, decrease the learning curve by consulting a professional to get you started on the right foot.