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Learning on the go: switching to responsive design

to improve the effectiveness of mobile learning

How mobile-responsive design can improve your mobile learning experience

Have you ever gone onto a website on your phone or tablet, through your standard browser, and the screen doesn’t load properly? Perhaps you have to scroll across to read the text, the font is too small to read, or the menu doesn’t work properly. When websites aren’t properly optimised for mobile and lack in mobile-responsive design, the results frustrate visitors who will often duck out of that website and search for what they need elsewhere.

The exact same scenario can be applicable to your LMS. Implementing a mobile learning strategy is all well and good, but without the technology to match it, your learners simply won’t engage with your content or campaigns.

Before we dive into logistics and benefits, let’s go through a quick definition of responsive design:

Defining responsive design

Responsive design is a method of designing and creating a website or piece of software that will adapt to the type and size of the device is it being viewed upon. Responsive design will also adapt to screens being turned from landscape to portrait mode.

What will we see when design is responsive?

There are a number of adjustments that will happen automatically when a website or piece of software (like an LMS) is designed responsively. These may include:

  • Reduction in the width of the text
  • Images and text moving into a single column (also known as stacking)
  • Reduction in the size of images
  • Re-arranging of content on the page
  • Shrinking of logos and headings at the top of the page into a single menu
  • Changes in button text

There is a wide range of design features that may change according to the device they are being viewed on. With the use of mobile devices so high in our everyday lives, responsive design is not something we notice when it is there, but rather we notice its absence when it hasn’t been considered.

Why is responsive design important?

Ultimately, this all comes down to usability. Responsive design makes your LMS easier to navigate on mobile devices and therefore more likely to be used in a wider variety of situations.Usability and good User Experience (UX) are shown to improve learning engagement and will encourage your learners to prioritise your LMS as a source of workplace education.

Usability and the anytime, anywhere philosophy

When we think of mobile (in any sense, in or out of technology), the phrase ‘on-the-go’ may come to mind. We associate ‘mobile’ not just with devices but with the idea of movement, so it only makes sense for a mobile learning strategy to allow for this freedom.

Flexibility is one of the biggest perks of integrating mobile into your learning strategy. Therefore, it is vital that you use an LMS that is mobile-responsive. Anytime, anywhere access only works when that access is to something valuable and usable on any device.

Point-of-need and on-demand learning

Two of the most important strategies facing Learning & Development in 2019, point-of-need and on-demand learning allow your learners to essentially train themselves up on essential skills as and when they need them.

Providing easy access to these types of learning through your LMS can help to create a culture of continuous and self-directed learning within your organisation. In many cases, point-of-need learning can be essential for remote and field-based workers who not only won’t spend much time at HQ or in an office but are also likely to need important information in a wide variety of locations.

Mobile learning is the perfect solution to these issues, and mobile-responsive design is essential to allow your workforce to access the learning they need.

Mobile-responsive design and learner engagement

Whether you want your learning strategy to be mobile-led or a blend of mobile, desktop, and classroom-based learning, a mobile-responsive design is key to learning engagement.

Although web-based LMSs will differ in design to mobile apps, it is still worth considering the difference in design between, for example, the Facebook desktop website and its app. Apps are optimised exclusively for mobile devices. Mobile-responsive design meets somewhere in the middle.

We live in an increasingly impatient world. Regardless of the device, they are using to access their training, learners should be able to follow the same basic journey from their dashboard/homepage to their courses.

Cross-device learning

This brings us on to the wonder of cross-device learning. Another vital component of any mobile learning strategy, cross-device learning allows your employees to begin their training on one device (say, for example, a desktop computer in the office) and continue it on another (for example on a tablet on their way to a meeting).

This is the sort of functionality modern learners have come to expect through their interactions with services such as Netflix. A huge part of the on-the-go mentality of both mobile learning, and the modern workforce is the flexibility for your learners to pick up where they left off. The experience should be as seamless as possible across devices to keep learners engaged and ensure your learning is effective.


In an increasingly impatient and mobile-driven world, usability is everything. An LMS with mobile-responsive design grants your learners the flexibility they need to work their eLearning into their own working schedules, access learning on the go, and make the most of a flexible mobile learning strategy.

Whether you’re pushing your learning towards a mobile-led or mobile-inclusive strategy, the mobile-responsive design of your LMS is an essential step to keep engagement up and ensure a strong learning ROI.

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Written by Claire Moloney

Claire is an enthusiastic and meticulous content writer whose passion is to support growth and continual learning for everyone.


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