5 features of a responsive design eLearning authoring tool

5 features of a responsive design eLearning authoring tool

Many authoring tools claim to be responsive but what exactly are they referring to? In this post, we outline some of the main features of being responsive to give you an idea of what to expect from a responsive design eLearning authoring tool.

Most importantly, a responsive design eLearning authoring tool is genuinely responsive!

The most vital factor in a responsive authoring tool is that you're able to create truly responsive content. This might seem obvious, but responsiveness is what enables authored content to work on multiple devices. This could be an iPhone or Android smartphone, a tablet, laptop or desktop device. Responsive design is supported ‘behind the scenes’ by HTML5, the code used to design web pages. More on this in tip #2 below...

Smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers. They all have the ability to display eLearning content flawlessly—as long as the content is truly responsive. Responsive courses will automatically detect the screen size and layout of a device. They then respond by fitting the content into the maximum space that the device’s screen size allows.

The result? You won’t have to think about creating lots of different versions of the same course for different devices. Responsiveness will take care of the hard work for you. Equally, there’s no need to worry that the course won’t function as well on a mobile device as it does on the desktop computer used to create it.

So, here are our 5 top reasons to use a responsive design eLearning authoring tool.

1) Responsive authoring is a huge time-saver

Responsive authoring tools help make learning flexible so you’re not limiting employees to take their training only on an office computer. With a course built using responsive design, employees can choose to use their personal devices to complete training on the move. They can even opt to use their downtime or mid-morning coffee breaks to take training.

Ensuring that learning looks consistent on multiple devices means all employees have the same learning experience—no matter what device they choose to learn on. This essentially frees up time-starved employees to complete eLearning when they want to, on the device they want. That could mean accessing mobile learning content while commuting to or from work, or at their computer during a break.

Thanks to responsive design eLearning authoring tools, the power to choose when to learn is in the learner’s hands.

Any device, any time...

Thanks to Gomo's responsive design features, eLearning course content automatically adjusts to display perfectly across any type of mobile device

2) Responsive design is supported by HTML5

Responsive design is made possible because of HTML5, also known as Hypertext Markup Language. HTML is the current standard of website code used for producing pages and consuming content on the internet. HTML5 is essentially responsible for the way a page runs. It allows elements like audio, video, and navigation to work smoothly, without requiring extra plugins like Flash.

The latest browsers support HTML5. And, without even realizing it, we rely on it every time we use the web. The good news is learning designers don’t need to stress about working with complicated HTML5 code to create flexible multi-device eLearning content. A truly responsive authoring tool should already be HTML5-compliant.

With the right authoring tool, there’s no need to worry whether your eLearning course content supports HTML5. The authoring tool does it all for you!

More from the blog: You might also be interested in

'Converting Flash to HTML5: Make the Switch Successfully'.

3) Responsive design has a customizable course layout

Making your content responsive is great, but an authoring tool wouldn’t be an authoring tool if it didn’t allow for some eLearning content customization. Learning designers will benefit from an authoring tool that lets them build their own course layout to really take advantage of the multi-device possibilities.

Column layout can work well with responsive design. Anything from two to four columns is usually a good format to aim for. You should also be able to adjust the widths of the columns to customize your eLearning so it displays the different components in the most effective way.

And if you’d rather take a simpler approach to course layout, then a responsive authoring tool that has ready-made templates and themes is a great idea. Simply add your course content into the pre-designed layout.

4) Responsive design helps users choose navigation styles

By using a responsive HTML5-ready authoring tool, you can take advantage of using different navigation methods. There are generally two styles to pick from:

  • Continuous scroll displays content vertically. It loads more as the user navigates down the page with either their mouse or touch-screen. It's how you navigate long website pages or scroll through a social media feed.
  • Alternatively, courses can run in a horizontal slide-based format. These use 'click-to-continue' navigation.

A responsive authoring tool gives you the power of choice. Choose the navigation style that best suits your learners.

Responsive authoring tools produce even more effective eLearning when you set controls for how much a learner can view before moving further in their training. This might involve presenting the learner with a question about a previous module. Or prompting them to press an interactive button to receive further information before moving on.

These types of controls ensure that your learners are actively engaging with the eLearning content. They also stop learners from speeding through courses without actually taking anything in.

5) Responsive design allows you to preview a course before sending it live

A good responsive authoring tool allows you to preview your courses on multiple devices—before sending them to learners. This helps you gauge what the eLearning looks like displayed on different screen sizes and orientations.

Collaboration is essential for producing effective eLearning, as well as reviewing it. It’s important to be able to get feedback from colleagues about what’s successful and where there’s room for improvement. This feedback can then be applied to improve the look of the course or the content within it, all from within the authoring tool course editor.

A collaborative eLearning authoring tool should be cloud-based to allow for quick and seamless online interactions. Cloud-based authoring tools mean no complicated or large file downloads. So course collaborators—whether they’re based in different departments like L&D, H&R, and compliance, for example, or whether they sit in different geographical locations—can collaborate ‘in the cloud’. All that’s needed is the eLearning authoring tool, a web browser, and an internet connection.

A final word on responsive design eLearning authoring tools

We’ve explored a handful of the features of a responsive design eLearning authoring tool. From the all-important responsiveness, customization, navigation options, and course sharing, to preview possibilities. If you’re on the lookout for a responsive authoring tool, be sure to keep these essential authoring tool features top of mind to allow you to create the best possible eLearning content for multiple devices.

This post, originally published in May 2017, has been updated.

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