After day 1 of mLearnCon in San Jose, the general consensus is: Mobile devices (phones and entertainment tablets) are great for delivering just-in-time and support documentation but not for delivering interactive audio visual course-ware. The authoring tools for mobile remain either in there infancy or they are duck taped bolt-ons to legacy systems that are offered as new technologies. There are some real advances being made in the area of HTML5 editors by the likes of Adobe in the form of Captivate, which looks promising. Articulate Storyline also performs well on iPad but does not deliver a quality experience on smart phones because it essentially just makes the player and content smaller and does not specifically conform to or adequately treat these smaller screen size appropriately.
Issues like screen resolution are difficult enough in the PC world and only amplified in the mobile space. Add to the mix a lack of Flash support, inconsistent browser support for HTML5 (a standard which itself won’t be completed for years to come), and the string and bubblegum approach so many educational technology companies take when rushing products to market , and what you continue to get is the wild wild west training and development. Fortunately it looks like Microsoft is bringing to the market what we really need – a truly powerful lightweight full keyboard iPad alternative that will run most current desktop eLearning solutions. If this takes hold and Android and Apple devices follow suite (a very big if), we could return to focusing on the content rather than to a constantly changing mobile technology landscape.
Form should follow function. Meaning the form of the technology should follow the human functions we are shaping. Instead, “mlearning” vendors and developers are trying to conform to the limitations inherent in the form the mobile device market presently offers. This post was written on an iPad, which was quite the challenge. I decided for mLearnCon to force myself to use mobile devices exclusively, so please forgive typos and the brevity of this post. As I said – mobile devices, while convenient, are not ideal for all situations!