The Rise of Mobile-First Elearning and What It Means for You

October 13, 2022
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It's fair to say that mobile devices are "winning the race" against desktop devices across the world. It's no surprise that eLearning is following suit.
With mobile devices, your global learners have access to learning content anywhere at any time. In some countries — like China, India, and Brazil — mobile devices are by far the most popular way to access online content.
As you would expect, this mobile-first world has led to the rise of mobile-first eLearning. This focuses on delivering content through mobile devices first and then adapting it for other platforms, rather than using the traditional approach of creating for desktop devices first.
How does a mobile-first eLearning strategy affect your business and your localization process?
When you localize your learning content for mobile-first eLearning, there various benefits you can experience for your global company.
Let's take a closer look...

What is mobile-first eLearning and why is it popular?

Mobile devices are becoming many people's primary devices. As of January 2022, the market share of mobile devices took the lead with 55% compared to only 42% for desktop devices.
As more and more of your learners use mobile devices, companies like yours are recognizing the need for mobile-friendly training options. In a 2019 Workplace Learning Report commissioned by LinkedIn, 72% of employees said they wanted to learn at work during "spare time." For most, that means on their mobile devices.
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Mobile-first eLearning prioritizes delivering content in a format that can be easily accessed and consumed on a small screen, usually through an app or mobile website.
It's important to note that mobile-first design differs from responsive web design. It involves creating an eLearning course that is primarily designed for mobile users, not just one that adapts to a small screen size.

7 positive benefits of implementing a mobile-first eLearning strategy

In today's digital age, your learners want to learn in their own time, often while they are on the move. A mobile-first eLearning strategy can provide these learners — wherever they live in the world — with the flexibility they need by providing an efficient and streamlined learning experience.
Here are 7 benefits you and your learners can see when you implement a mobile-first eLearning strategy:

1. Increased learner engagement

Mobile devices are with us everywhere we go. This gives your learners the ability to learn anytime, anywhere.
A mobile-first eLearning strategy can increase engagement with your learning materials by making the entire experience more convenient and accessible. Additionally, well-authored mobile-first eLearning courses are often more interactive and engaging than traditional learning materials.

2. Greater learner retention and application

With greater engagement comes greater learning. By allowing your learners to engage with content on their own terms, they are more likely to retain and use what they have learned.
Everyone learns slightly differently. With mobile-first eLearning, your learners can revisit training content more easily, helping solidify their understanding of the material.

3. Improved accessibility across the world

Mobile devices are increasingly commonplace across the world, particularly in developing countries and emerging markets where a mobile phone may be a person's only device.
With a mobile-first eLearning strategy, you can reach learners who might not have access to desktop computers. This helps you better serve your learners in those areas and provide them with the training they need to be successful.

4. Greater reach for your business and content

An important reason to localize your eLearning content is to grow the reach of your business. As well as providing learning content in a person's native language, you also need to provide it to them in the best format for them.
The increasing rise in mobile usage isn't likely to slow down any time soon. By creating your eLearning content as mobile-first, you are better facilitating that business growth.

5. Easier integration with daily routines

Learners who can learn in their own time and at their own pace are often more productive than those required to attend traditional learning courses. This is particularly relevant if you target your eLearning content at your own employees.
Mobile-first eLearning allows your learners to better fit training into their daily routines. This can save time both for you and for them, making it a win-win situation.
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6. Positive brand image in mobile-first countries

Implementing a mobile-first eLearning strategy can also help to improve your brand image in international markets. This is particularly relevant if you target your eLearning content at customers.
In mobile-first countries, companies that provide mobile-friendly content and services will improve their brand image compared to those whose content is hard to access. If you don't provide learning content in the right format, another company will and they'll win the business.

7. Streamlined content authoring process

Many eLearning authoring tools were designed with desktop-learning in mind.
If you are creating mobile-first content you need to ensure your eLearning authoring tool supports this. Many such tools also offer opportunities to further streamline the whole content authoring process.

How mobile-first eLearning affects your localization process

If you want your eLearning content to serve your global learners, you will also need to localize that content. This involves translating the content into the native languages of your learners and adapting it to suit their cultural needs.
Thankfully, many of the same authoring tips that make for good mobile-first content also help when localizing that content.
Such tips include:
  • Keep language simple and concise. This will make the content easier to translate and also more accessible for mobile users, who may have a smaller screen and less patience for long or complicated sentences.
  • Use short paragraphs. This makes content easier to translate and store effectively and is more easily digestible for mobile users.
  • Prioritize essential information and avoid unnecessary details. This makes better use of limited screen space, as well as streamlining the translation process by reducing the amount of text that needs to be translated.
Would you like more tips on creating eLearning content that's easy to localize? Download a copy of our free eBook.

Best Practices for Online Learning Localization

In this report, we share our best practices for writing, designing, and translating high-quality online learning material cost-effectively. Technology advances have made it easier than ever to create high-quality online learning courses, but translating instructional content can still be prohibitively expensive if it is not authored with localization in mind.