Pitfalls in mobile learning #4: Are you really compatible?

by Viv Cole on October 28, 2012

Many development tools claim that they produce learning content which will publish automatically to different models of mobile phone. So for the L&D manager commissioning mobile learning it’s just a game of finding out from IT which phones are on the standard list, cross-checking and then away you go…if only it was that simple…

Faced with the technical challenge of rendering content on different screen sizes and with different operating systems, developers have taken the pragmatic approach of covering off the main phones that are currently on the market. What this tends to neglect is that large scale roll-outs of corporate mobile phones take so much time that there is usually a significant lag between devices in the shops and devices in peoples’ hands. Anecdotally a partner of a law firm has refused to upgrade his Blackberry to a newer model for five years as he likes the bigger buttons on his current model.

For most firms/ companies the records of who has which device are not perfect. Bear in mind that all the calls when mobile learning fails to work will come to L&D, and people won’t care if their phone is not on the official list of supported devices. Can you really trust all the assurances by the provider that the mobile content will be compatible? Hence it’s wise for L&D to pilot and test mobile roll-outs. Hopefully html 5 will make this much simpler, but as ever it would be wise to build in time for testing as, to paraphrase Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, “No plan of operations extends with any certainty beyond the first contact with the end users”.

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