What is #responsivelearning and why should I care?

April 4, 2014 Monica Kraft

Responsive design promises to help companies future-proof their content and deliver more mobile experiences faster and better, but responsive learning is lagging behind.

Have you heard of Responsive Web Design (RWD)? This is a relatively new design paradigm for creating websites that adapt to a device's screen size—dynamically. It is not just about scaling content to fit or adding massive vertical and horizontal scroll bars. It is a way of building a website that lets the designer define the layout rules so that content on the page flexes correctly for the context in which it is being viewed. Characteristics of RWD include flexible layouts and media, accessibility, and device-appropriate content. This is possible because of HTML5 and CSS3, so it requires a modern browser to render. Our mobile devices are equipped with modern browsers. If you would like to see some great examples, google "best responsive websites." I happen to like SkinnyTies.com, Disney.com, and BostonGlobe.com.

RWD promises to help companies future-proof their content and deliver more mobile learning experiences faster and better. What is taking us so long to adopt this approach for learning content? This is a compelling question, especially considering that the majority of learning content we produce today can be consumed via a browser. We are beginning to see some responsive learning outputs; however, these have been created by web experts (expensive, custom engagement), so maintenance will be tough and costly. (There goes our agile development!) We have to make this easier because our collective goal is to create cool and mobile learning experiences for the masses, not just the chosen few. And we want every Instructional Designer on our team to have this capability.

Recently, Xyleme hosted a webinar with Training Industry called: Effective Responsive Design—Breaking Down the Barriers for Learning Content. We discovered that the biggest barriers companies face to producing effective responsive learning content are Skills, Tools, and Templates.

Xyleme Resonsive Design Poll

Here at Xyleme, we would argue that if you have the right tools and publishing templates, you don't actually need the skills of a seasoned web developer to produce responsive learning outputs. Xyleme's Director of Product Management, Ramon Guiu, offered a couple of examples during the webinar. Take a look:

Single-sourcing your learning content lends itself well to responsive learning output because you are already producing smart, granular, reusable content. Rapid Authoring Tools are great, however, none of them let you produce learning content that works on every device. You have to choose—desktop, tablet, OR smartphone. And what about all the other devices entering the learning space? Right. Time to rethink your strategy and consider single-source authoring and publishing with Xyleme. Creating responsive learning output is as easy as Author then Publish. Tailor the responsive template to meet your branding needs, without web development skills.


Download the full webinar by clicking here.


About the Author

Monica Kraft

Monica Kraft is the Director of Product Marketing for Xyleme, Inc. Xyleme provides content management for learning and development. In this role, Monica is responsible for PR, event planning, customer relationship development, sales enablement, content development for Xyleme.com and driving digital marketing/solution education, and input into the branding strategy and overall marketing plan and budget.

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