Recommendations for Mobile-Friendly Instruction
Today's students are frequently on the go. Providing mobile-friendly course materials through your campus learning management system (LMS) makes it possible for students to continue learning whenever and wherever they need to.
Focus on learning goals. Describe key learning goals early in each unit. Communicate them succinctly – preferably in chronological order.
Support student planning. Early in each unit, estimate time on task for each activity. Point out how students should approach the content (e.g. skim, read critically, etc.). Identify optional content.
Streamline design. On a mobile device, screen size and network bandwidth are limited. Try to:
- Crop graphics and compress content so that resources load faster.
- Make sure it takes no more than three clicks to access essential content.
- Simplify where possible.
Know your Audience/Medium. Students use their phones between other tasks, or when multi-tasking. Design bite-sized formative activities to keep them on task. Design activities that work on phones as well as laptops. For longer tasks, explicitly recommend using a computer.
Proofread. Use your mobile device or a simulator to preview the student experience.
Ask for Feedback. Regularly ask students for feedback on their learning experience.
The goal is to create a course that can be largely completed on a mobile device. Smartphones and tablets are great for low-stakes tasks: checking grades, communicating with peers, and completing bite-sized activities. For other tasks – e.g. essay writing, graphic design, or computation – a computer is often best. In short, use mobile-friendly activities when you can and computer-dependent exercises where you must.
Matt Boyle and Heidi Burgiel