mLearning on Multiple Devices: A Practical Guide #mLearnCon

Session 502 at #mLearnCon lead by Richard Clark (@rdclark) was focused on ‘mLearning on Multiple Devices: A Practical Guide’. From the mLearnCon website the session guide reads:

“Unlike e-Learning on the desktop, where a couple of platforms predominate (Windows and Mac OS X), mobile platforms come in many different forms with differing programming requirements and user interfaces. Unless a developer is going to go for a simplistic “lowest common denominator” approach, he or she will have to find a way to create, test, and maintain the same application on multiple platforms.”

Image from Judy Breck

On revisiting my notes for this session they are a little jumbled and scrappy, but here’s the best of what I can transcribe in what appears to be doctor-like handwriting:

Key Questions to think about before diving in to mLearning:

  1. Comfort level with technology
    • You?
    • The learners?
    • You will need to provide some kind of introduction and/or a concierge service to coach users
  2. Approach
    • Direct instruction, performance support, gateway to existing, intro docs then link out to videos
  3. On-line vs. off-line (+ sync issues)

  4. Range of devices
    • You may find you have to knock plans back to the lowest device you know you’ll encounter
  5. Fidelity to device convention

Richard mentioned checking out Instapaper online / offline reading app for iPhone and iPad

Development Options 1:

  • Front-end / Back-end
    • common data, built-in viewer
    • common data, custom viewer
  • Cross Platform
    • lowest common denominator
    • no common denominator

If you develop on Mac and test with iPhone / iPad simulators you’re probably 90% towards working on all devices.

If you are going to go with cross platform be sure not to favor the logic of one OS over another.

Development Options 2:

  • html5 + javascript
  • html + graphics + javascript.


  • Appcelerator: great analytics embedded in the framework, lots of data on use / access of your users
    • logic in javascript + user interface in html
  • Rhomobile logic in Ruby, programmatic UI in Ruby


  • Unit testing using javascript, with program for bug tracking,
  • Simulator-based testing – with user interface testing product eggPlant (from Testplant)
    • Automated test protocol which saves lots of time and frustration
  • Remote device testing – perfecto mobile

  • Manual testing vs. VNC-based tools