5 Must-Have Features for a Top-Notch Mobile Learning Experience

In today’s world, almost everything can be completed through a smartphone. In the US, an average adult spends almost three hours per day on their cell phone, whether that’s reading work emails, entertaining themselves, or messaging loved ones. Thanks to the increase in phone usage, it’s no surprise that trends and habits have shifted and adapted to include smartphones. Education is no exception to this.

A 2020 study revealed that students find mobile learning positive and see it as an opportunity to facilitate collaboration, communication, and teacher assistance. Since the pandemic, mobile eLearning has grown exponentially, and trends show that it will keep growing. In fact, in the second quarter of 2022, Education was the third most popular category on the Apple App Store, and second on Google Play.

The trend is clear: educational needs are evolving and mobile learning has become an almost mandatory complement for learning, both in corporate environments and educational institutions. As a result, it has become imperative for Learning Management System (LMS) providers to design mobile platforms that can truly deliver engaging and successful learning experiences.

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of five features a mobile learning app must have to provide the best mobile learning experience.

1. Push Notifications & Reminders

Mobile eLearning faces the challenge of providing a quality and engaging learning experience, but on a smaller screen. To achieve that, it needs tools to facilitate the interaction between learners and tutors in order to avoid a lack of communication and engagement.

This is why push notifications have become so important. It can be a hassle to manually remind people to complete their training or tell them about a new course, lesson, or test. Push notifications make this process easier via automation.

Push notifications appear on learners’ devices where they’re most likely to see them and react to them. They’re a huge differentiator between having a mobile version of your web-based LMS, and actually using a mobile learning app, as they’re only available in the latter.

To provide a better user experience, your mobile LMS should be able to, at least, send notifications about:

  • New courses or lessons available
  • Individual reminders to complete courses or lessons
  • Deadlines for tasks, modules, and quizzes
  • New responses to private messages or discussion topics

Some of the best LMSs will also give you the possibility of creating your own customized notifications, which are particularly useful for tailoring messaging to different groups that may respond differently to certain types of notifications.

2. Offline Content Availability

Accessibility is important when it comes to eLearning, and this is a huge difference between mobile and desktop users. One of the great—if not the greatest—advantages of having a mobile learning app is that you can provide students with the opportunity of accessing most of the course content while being away from desktops. Another way to increase accessibility is to search for an LMS mobile app that allows users to access the content while having no internet connection.

Offline content availability is especially useful for people who live or work in remote areas or those who happen to prefer completing their learning tasks, including tests and quizzes, on the go. For example, truck drivers can greatly benefit from a mobile app where they can download their training content and complete it while they’re on the road (where the internet connection is often poor). Likewise, schools can provide a better learning experience to their students who live far from campus such as in rural zones where connectivity could be challenging.

READ A MOBILE APP CASE STUDY |How Casper College's Mobile Learning App Improves the Student Experience

3. Microlearning Functionalities

Microlearning is a teaching method that’s perfectly suited to mobile. It provides short bursts of focused educational content that fit into a daily workflow and are accessible on any device, including smartphones and tablets.

Microlearning on mobile devices keeps engagement levels high because it utilizes different short forms of media to keep users engaged. Also, mobile learners tend to prefer this method because it takes less time to complete (if you’re learning on your smartphone, you probably won’t have the time to spend 2-3 hours learning). Also, learners can pause and continue their micro-lessons with ease, and the apps allow them to continually check on their performance and adjust their learning accordingly.

Although microlearning can be designed and added to any type of LMS, it's best to look for a solution that has specific functionalities to support microlearning. It will make the content creation process easier.

MORE ON MICROLEARNING |The Benefits of Microlearning: 8 Minutes to Make an Impact

4. Optimized Design & Performance

Since mobile devices became smart and gained importance in our browsing and content consumption habits, conventional development and design have evolved to adapt to smaller screens and smaller capabilities. This is why, today, all software should be designed mobile-first instead of just mobile-friendly.

An LMS with a mobile-first approach starts off by designing the learning experience for mobile devices and then adapts it to more conventional devices. How can this approach lead to better learning design? Well, when traditional eLearning is adapted to smaller screens without considering the specifications and requirements of mobile devices, design often falls short. For example, the number of objects on a mobile screen (that would work perfectly in a desktop platform) might seem overwhelming to users and the order can also be confusing, creating multiple distractions and poor engagement.

A mobile-first approach guarantees optimal performance in devices such as smartphones and tablets. This is true not only in processing capabilities but also in better-designed content and object diagramming that allows users to have a fluid and distraction-free learning experience.

5. Branding & Customization

While you’re likely to find several LMSs that offer a mobile app, not all allow you to customize it to your branding and design. Having your institution or company logo, brand colors, typographies, and texts in an app matters more than you might think. A branded app that learners can download directly from the app stores will offer a brand-centric and personalized experience that aligns better with your values and engages with your learners.

The Open LMS mobile app is a Moodle™-based, open-source app for our customers that offers downloadable mobile content, a user-friendly interface based on user preferences and region (multilanguage), and an unlimited amount of notifications for teachers, students, or managers. For those interested in adding their own branding and customization, Open LMS offers a Mobile Branding Service that allows you to utilize your own brand in the app, add your own new features, and make it available across different app markets.

At Open LMS, we have experts that can help you implement the best LMS solutions to provide a unique and endearing mobile learning experience. Contact us to learn more about our technology—we’re looking forward to helping you!
Germán Rojas
About the author

Germán Rojas

Director, Global Consulting Services

Germán has more than 8 years of experience in the implementation of eLearning projects in universities in Colombian, Peru, Chile, Mexico, Spain, United States, Japan, Australia, among others. Germán has worked as a designer of innovative educational solutions, and has also worked on various global projects to create educational processes. He is currently Director of Professional Services for Open LMS at Learning Technologies Group (LTG).

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