What Truly Makes an LMS Mobile-First

  • What Truly Makes an LMS Mobile-First_Blog

In today’s day and age, an LMS must be more than a training platform accessible from the comfort of your home or the desktop at your workstation. In today’s day and age, your LMS must also be a mobile-first LMS.

A mobile-first LMS is built keeping on-the-go training in mind. Designed to integrate with multiple devices which an individual has in their possession at all times. The intention is delivering information to learners when they need it, wherever they need it, conveniently. Between work and personal life, learners seldom find the time to actively participate in training and development initiatives that are meant for self-betterment.

The desire to learn and improve oneself has always existed. The technology to train oneself has been here for a while – the LMS. Finding the time for it, between work and personal life, has been the biggest barrier… so far.

With mobile usage estimated to reach 5 billion users by 2020 globally, and the US currently having 223 million users who spend 86 hours a month on a mobile, it is only logical to take a technologically advanced training platform like the LMS and make it accessible on the learner’s mobile devices.

Where individuals once relied on social media, video-hosting applications, and other content consuming platforms, accessible via mobile phones to spend time as they waited for a bus or travelled by a cab, they can now train themselves during these small pockets of free time, using an LMS that is built to perform on their mobile devices. But for this to become a reality, the LMS in question must truly be mobile-first. And it takes very specific requirements and features for any LMS to be a mobile-first LMS.

Built for mobiles first and then PCs: Traditionally, enterprise-wide applications and software are built for the desktop system first. Over time, certain features are selected and implemented into native apps that run as a scaled down version of this software on a mobile device. This means the software starts its journey as a complete version of itself on the PC, and as it makes its transformation onto a mobile device, it loses many of its features to suit a smaller screen and lesser computing power. What the user is then left with is an application which is a mere shadow of its former self, severely limited in its abilities and usage. The mobile app in this case is an afterthought.

A mobile-first system is built the other way around. It starts as a mobile application built with all the features required to achieve its primary function first. Additional features, which don’t directly affect its capabilities of performing its primary function, are added as it moves towards becoming a PC-based software. An LMS built for the mobile device first follows this same build process, effectively making the mobile version of the LMS equally capable as the PC version.

Compatible over multiple devices: As the build process takes a backward direction, starting with a mobile device first, the LMS makes its way upwards through other devices which lie in between a mobile phone and a PC. Multimedia devices, tablets, and laptops are all devices which learners carry while on the move as well. The ability to access and use the LMS to its fullest over these devices is equally important. As the LMS is built moving upwards through each of the devices, the LMS gains the ability to integrate and work over multiple platforms. This further aids the users in selecting a device of their liking when on the move and the need to train arises.

Lean but completely capable: A mobile-first LMS must be lean and totally capable. Since it is designed and built for learners who are on-the-go, it needs to open and function just as easily as a PC version. A heavy LMS with too many features, which a learner may not necessarily use while on the move, will make operating the LMS on a mobile device much harder. Increased time in opening training content, accessing content which is online, and navigating through a heavy system which requires increased bandwidth is not a mobile first LMS feature. Instead, the UI & UX must be clean and crisp with only the important features, allowing the learner to quickly access content even with limited data bandwidth.

Works as a native app and not in an app shell: For an LMS to function seamlessly on a mobile device, it must be accessible via a native app downloadable through an iOS or Android application store. This allows the LMS features and designs to revolve around the operating system it is built for, making complete use of various features the OS offers. It allows the LMS to consume significantly less bandwidth and training courses can be downloaded to work in offline mode.

LMSes which operate through an app shell may look like an app, but they operate via a web browser where the template of the LMS is stored as a cache data, and only the training content is loaded when the LMS is accessed. This may sound fine, but an LMS that uses an app shell is not mobile-optimized to work under minimal bandwidth and in offline mode. Since the LMS is an interactive system with multiple windows and functions, an app shell LMS which is not built around a specific OS, suffers from a UI & UX which cannot handle complicated navigation, making the LMS a slow and clunky system.

Courses can be administered while on the move: Nothing makes an LMS truly mobile-first like the ability to administer courses while on the move. Although, currently it is possible only through tablet devices in landscape mode, it is still a remarkable breakthrough from a time when the only way to administer courses to learners was through a desktop.

This defines and summarizes why an LMS should be mobile-first. When the most critical function of the LMS which is administering courses is possible through a mobile device, you know the LMS is a truly powerful system.

While mobile technology pushes its boundaries with new breakthroughs, a mobile-first LMS will be the first system to embrace these changes. Contact us to find out how Abara is a mobile-first LMS in its true sense. We’d love to showcase it to you.

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