LS2011 Day 2: More on Mobile

The first session I attended after Nancy Duarte’s keynote day 2 of the LS2011 was The Next Generation of Mobile Learning with Brenda Enders.

Brenda presented a case study for a solution that was provided to a leading rehabilitation services provider. The solution was designed for a widely dispersed workforce who was not considered technically savvy. It was designed to develop the necessary knowledge and skills required, and delivered the training in short time increments so it could be quickly learned and reviewed quickly for optimal on-the-job application. 

The solution was a “Day in the Life” design running through the tasks employees would perform on the device during their workday. The solution had 2 hours of content in total broken into specific modules with a consistent design of an introduction, demonstration video (5 mins), practice simulation (10 mins), and conclusions with appropriate job aids provided.  This allowed employees to quickly rehearse using their new software through real-world scenarios deployed directly on their mobile device.

It was built using Lectora to SCORM wrap the content for deployment through the company’s LMS. Screenshots and graphic assets were edited in Adobe Premier for the demonstration videos. Brenda shared some great tips on some of the key elements for the success of her solution:

  • A video streaming server is recommended to ensure good video performance
  • Screenshots and graphics assets were broken down into very distinct components (even multiple finger graphics were created for each type of touch on the screen) so they could be reconstructed into different scenarios for demonstrations and simulations; the upfront time and effort to develop at this level of detail ensured that the solution would be more flexible and less expensive to update over time
  • The employees were provided a handbook on how to use the device which would help with adoption and coach users through initial orientation to the device

The second session I attended was Chris Adams presenting another case study Mobile Performance Support for Maintenance Procedures. Chris’s team was tasked with developing a mobile solution to support and track completion of Coast Guardmen executing maintenance procedures. It converted a paper-based process that had systemic integration to reporting or management systems to a mobile solution with links to a management system.e

The conversion of a paper-based process to a point-of-execution electronic format that will report to a management system has obvious benefits from performance support and administration perspectives. However, the two most interesting components of this case study were:

  • Device selection: involving the end-user in device selection can yield unexpected results. In this case, an obvious choice, a “rugged” tablet design was selected, but the second option, a durable HP laptop was selected for the simple reason that it had a built-in carrying handle because it enabled the device to be hung in small quarters when not in use. Both devices were windows-based platforms, which isn’t really considered “mobile” (nor is a laptop truly considered a “mobile” device).
  • Connectivity: A major consideration for design is the reliability of connectivity. While in port, WiFi is available. But while out of port, devices did not have connections to a central reporting or content server. Thus, the solution needed to include a synching function. When the ship pulls back into port, it reconnects with the content and reporting server, and run a content comparison when synching. It would update the content on the ships server, and flag any procedures completed by Coast Guardsmen while out of port that had changed. The supervisors could easily identify these procedures and make the determination whether the updates were significant and would need to be reperformed or not.

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