Lessons Learned from 6 Million Completions on Custom Mobile Learning Format

Just over three years ago the OpenSketch team began working with Precyse University™ and HealthStream® to launch a new, mobile-ready lesson format. This collaboration began in an effort to accommodate several strategic clients who wanted the ease of viewing courses on mobile tablets. At the time, a big transformation was beginning to happen in healthcare - the transition to the new ICD-10 coding classification.

This change requires about 80% of hospital staff, including physicians, to be educated on documenting with more detail and coding with more specificity to meet this new requirement. The hectic, high paced nature of healthcare providers today meant that on-the-go education was necessary to accommodate their schedules, and proved to be a great advantage and tool.

 iPad ICD-10 course in Spark Lesson Format.

We evaluated all of the major eLearning platforms for building online lessons and found a lack of maturity in the solutions. Additionally, there were challenges with the workflow that prevented us from building hundreds of courses in a short amount of time. Also, they provided an inconsistent experience from mobile to desktop for the end learners.

Based on this testing, we decided to create our own lesson delivery format that would take advantage of the latest web standards while providing functionality for none standard browsers. We tested the format rigorously across many different formats and devices. We used Agile techniques to add functionality, accessibility, and features as clients suggested them. We are currently on version 3.2 of our Spark Lesson Format and we continue to get great feedback and results!

The change to ICD-10 has created a large base of users required to complete training in a short period of time (millions of learners and more than 6 million completions) and thus provided a great field lab to prove out our Alpha and Beta testing of this format. It has provided us with some lessons learned to share with the eLearning community:

  1. Mobile learning moves us away from Adobe Flash, opens up the possibility of ditching overly complex, high specialized, expensive software and utilizes the real power of the web.
  2. Don’t forget the pop-up blocker instructions! Pop-ups continue to be the bane of the eLearning developer. It is important to account for them on mobile devices. We built a JavaScript pop-up check with links to instructions for the most common devices.
  3. Accessibility is important but there are great standards and guidelines for the web available from the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). Know the device mix and what will be promoted for education. In ICD-10 we had a lot of iPads, not phones, being utilized, so we optimized for this. We found some surprising devices clients were using too, such as Kindle Fire - knowing the mix can help you develop, optimize, and test appropriately.
  4. No more hovering – the hover over has been a tool that many instructional designers have loved and is certainly possible in HTML5, just not on mobile. This was not one of my favorite instructional tools anyway, so I was OK with ditching it. There are plenty of cool, interactive opportunities with mobile that can provide even more educational value for knowledge checks and learner engagement.

Overall, the journey to mobile has been great! This blog post has focused on mobile learning that is launched from the LMS within the mobile browser. We, at Open Sketch, are also mobile app developers and, in a future blog posts, I will share tips about about the use of apps in the enterprise for training. Look for that soon and please comment or ask any questions. We have received a lot of great feedback about our approach from our learners and the organizations so we are excited to share!

By John N Just, Ed.D – Senior Director, Custom Solutions & Technical Innovation at Open Sketch
Email: jjust@open-sketch.com
Follow John on Twitter: @johnjust
For a discussion about how Open Sketch can help you with your next elearning initiative click here: http://open-sketch.com