9 Mobile Learning Design Principles To Follow

(STL.News) When it comes to learning, mobile phones have truly unlocked a world of opportunity.  Organizations now have employees’ attention throughout their downtime and, in some cases, during their off time as well.

However, the more knowledge the learner has to process at the same time, the more difficult it is for them to retain it.  As a result, learning must be designed to decrease cognitive load rather than add to it.  While this is truly the case for all learning, it is especially true for mobile learning.  Mobile learning must be designed with a research-based concept of how learners acquire and retain information in mind, and it must be kept in mind that not all learners will have large screen displays.  They could be on their smartphones.  The curriculum should be created with the littlest device in mind.

If we can adopt a few simple design principles, we can also improve their connection with their respective jobs and workplaces.

Here are nine design principles to follow to create effective m Learning solutions.


The first and most important principle of mobile learning is the availability of learning content and modules on multiple mobile devices that are compatible with and accessible to a diverse range of audiences and geographical locations.  There are many courses available to individuals living in a specific country or nation, but a mobile learning course ought to be available to anyone who wants to use it and get the most value from it, irrespective of their geographical location or the type of mobile device they use.  It’s an added benefit if these modules have been made available with varying transcripts in multiple languages to assist learners in much better understanding.


Mobile learning courses must be able to meet the needs of a diverse range of learners with varying preferences, schedules, abilities, and levels of connectivity.  Through thoughtful navigation design, learners should be able to jump between learning modules.  Content delivered in bite-size chunks (micro-learning) has pedagogical benefits for all learners because it allows them to tailor their learning to their specific circumstances.

Reduce Scrolling

On an average-sized mobile device, content should only last for three scroll lengths to prevent excessive scrolling.  If necessary, divide the content into multiple screens that only take up a portion of the screen and have a clear “next” button so that learners do not have to scroll too far.

To avoid distracting learners and wasting space in the initial scrolling zone, all secondary content, including additional navigational controls, links that aren’t pertinent to the information being displayed, copyright mentions, and other statutory information, should remain at the bottom of the screen.  Every screen should direct the learner to additional content where the learner can catch up or delve deeper into topics.

Include Interactions

The two communication processes are at the heart of mobile eLearning.  So, incorporate engaging interactions such as automated chats, mobile learning apps, discussion forums, and other such elements.  Including these engaging elements increases active participation.  The trend these days in interactive elements is clickable hotspots over images and the drag-and-drop option.

Furthermore, social media networks, URLs, and other interactivity tools are sufficient to guarantee increased interactivity.  The greater the interactivity, the greater the engagement outcome.  Remember to select interactions that are compliant with all mobile screen sizes.

Personalization Principle

Instead of a formal tone, use a conversational tone.  Use the first or second person if possible.  That is not to say that the tone should be overly friendly.  Consider using an avatar to guide learners through the course.  In mobile learning, a visual avatar may take up valuable space, so consider using an audio agent or a tiny icon.  This mascot or agent will appear and initiate a conversation with the learner according to their specific requirements.

Design Around Workplace Constraints

Video is undoubtedly one of the most engaging ways to convey detailed information about a subject.  However, in many modern workplaces, bandwidth is frequently a problem.  Designing with a mobile-first mindset is about more than just the user interface; it is also about successfully managing bandwidth to enhance the learner experience across all platforms.  Learners will seek greener pastures if your video does not play or your course is hard to see and navigate.

Redundancy Principle

All redundant information must be removed.  If you combine text and narration, make sure the narration doesn’t simply read out all the text on the screen.  There is no point in doing this.  Avoid using text if the content can be described with an infographic.  Excessive information conveying the same message causes cognitive overload in learners.  It also causes boredom.

Design For A Low Error Rate

Selection errors on smartphones are significantly higher than on desktops because fingers can be shaky, people are frequently distracted while using them, and some people just have huge hands.  Consider how to reduce tap or touch errors when designing your mobile learning courses or apps, such as blanketing selection areas in as much white space as you can.  When a user taps an area of the screen, it should invoke appropriate action.

Prototype First

There are numerous benefits to prototyping your mobile learning product before finalizing the design.  Designers can quickly determine what works and what does not by prototyping.  You can test your mobile learning product by carrying it around, using it in various situations, and providing feedback access to your target audience group.


Mobile learning’s power continues to expand and challenge us in new ways.  With so much going on, it can be difficult to know where to begin, but the above-stated design principles can help you get started and focus on what matters: providing learning to your employees in a manner that drives constructive behavior change and eventually results in measurable business impacts.  Remember that your employees want to interact with you, your learning and training content, and one another in the quickest, simplest, most efficient way possible, while also taking into account their individual needs.