Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Mobile Learning Design- the Post-It Method

One of the biggest challenges in the development of mobile education content is dealing with the screen size of the learning platform. A mistake many developers make is their attempt to reverse engineer or repurpose existing e-learning courses for a mobile platform without really understanding their learner's device limitations.

Sometimes the most complex solutions require simple solutions for the best results. In the case of developing storyboards for m-learning content the answer probably on your desk already- Post-It Notes.

Once you determine what device your audience will be using, it is easy to choose what 'software' to use.

For PDA users, the larger 3 x 5 post it is almost a perfect match to the screen.

For small screen mobile phones such as the Motorola V710, the smaller 1 x 3 Post-It will work.

With the variety of Post-It notes available, almost every device screen size imaginable could be represented.

At this point, you will take the information from your content Model of Performance and start placing it on your chosen Post-It notes. You'll notice that the limited size of the Post-It notes will force you to consider what content is vital and what is filler.

Group your content into categories, especially if your content could be sent as separate files or courses. Remember that the memory and download speed on mobile devices is greatly limited.

At this point you now should start creating the flow for your course. I personally prefer to use the Post-It tabs as a way to identify different types of interactions, similar to the icons one would use in Visio.

That advantage of the Post-It method is that changes can be made to your story board on the fly. This visual method of design could always be reproduced with many commercial software programs such as Visio, however, I found it somewhat easier to jot notes and move Post-It notes around a board or wall much easier in this early design stage.

The drawback to the Post it method can be a complete loss of an entire rainforest for those who are too verbose in their content writing.

If your office looks like the image below, you may want to consider hiring a contractor for your instructional design jobs.

This article was originally published at www.mlearningworld.com .
This article was also referenced in the publication, Paper Prototyping in a Design Framework for Professional Mobile Learning by David Parsons, Hokyoung Ryu, Rameh Lal, and Stephen Ford for the Institute of Informatmathematicalematical Sciences, Massey University, Albany, Auckland, New Zealand.

Other references to this article can be found at www.mlearnopedia.com .

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