It’s been two full weeks since I returned from the eLearning Guild’s mLearn Conference in San Jose. I had hoped to have this blog post out within two days, but I suppose we all struggle with things that we “need” to do taking precedence over the things that we “want” to do.

As usual, I’m going to give you my interpretations from the conference rather than a blow by blow. For another perspective, check out Brian Dusablon’s  recap here.

1. “Anything but a course”

This was actually a quote from thought leader and friend Clark Quinn from his keynote. The theoretical talk on the conference floor was that mobile was not about pushing courses onto phones, yet there was a trade show full of folks pushing tools for converting and authoring courses for use on phones and a line of people waiting to hear how it’s done. Mobiles devices have real advantages and the explosion in growth is undeniable, but a course-based strategy just isn’t what your users are ultimately looking for. Your users want their mobile device to help complete the objectives of real and meaningful work. They want to use their mobile device to DO THINGS that align with their personal goals for their job, not the goals of the training department. When we understand and embrace this truth, “anything but a course” will only ring more true.

2. Tablets and phones are different animals

I’ve said it in the past, and I’ll say it again, tablets serve user needs in different ways than smartphones and deserve to be designed differently. Adaptive CSS  and various authoring tools are doing a great job of helping us make sure that content looks good on both but a tablet isn’t a giant phone and a phone isn’t just a little tablet. While they have similar features and sometimes the same operating system, one makes calls and the other doesn’t. One is really good for taking pictures, the other not so much. One can fit a lot of information on a screen, the other you can fit in your pocket. You get the idea. In an age where BYOT (bring your own technology) is happening whether you want it to or not, your users will tell you how, when, and what type of device they want. It’s our job to listen and make sure the things that we design meet their needs. One caveat though, bring your own doesn’t mean any device ever made under the sun. I see a lot of people spending money supporting platforms that were dominant at one time, but don’t seem to have much of a future. You can put constraints on BYOT…

3. BJ Fogg is a very smart man

Stanford-based psychologist, BJ Fogg is a brand new favorite for me and he deserves a look by you, too. He’s doing some really interesting studies and experiments on what he calls building “tiny habits”, and he is showing some amazing results creating systems for behavior change. This is stuff you can use right now. Check out his website and make sure you do some reading on his Behavior Grid.

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