The better design, performance and features that mobile apps provide have proven to be much more prominent than mobile websites in the past few years. Just look at all the big banks that made the investment of developing their own banking apps and how the number of their bank payments have increased since then. We can see similar effects occurring with learning tools such as Lynda. While mobile learning websites (also known as an eLearning portals) can be cost-effective, they also seems to make compromises that are detrimental to the user’s learning experience.
Important phone calls or losing the remainder of your phone’s battery life can sometimes interrupt a learning session. In these situations, the functionality of returning to where you left off is not only convenient, but also paramount to one’s learning experience. Losing all of your answers to a quiz can be very discouraging. It may even encourage users to shift their attention elsewhere. Due to the nature of how websites manage user sessions, implementing such a feature would be much easier and more effective on a mobile app.
Additionally, mobile apps also have “offline learning”. A feature that lets you access content without a nearby internet connection. With mobile websites, you always need an internet connection to verify credentials and make page requests. On the other hand, mobile apps can simply access your phone’s storage and download the lessons that you need for offline use.
The combination of bookmarking and offline accessibility allows users to easily continue their session no matter where they are. Consequently, they can never have an excuse for not finishing a lesson and lagging behind on their studies!
Unlike mobile apps, eLearning portals have less access to the phone’s hardware. Therefore, mobile website developers are not able to implement all of the handy features that a mobile app could possess. For example, making use of voice recognition through the microphone input which may be used by language teaching apps when testing pronunciation.
Another reason why mobile apps can trump mobile eLearn portals is the fact that mobile apps can tap into features already built into the phone’s physical hardware and operating system. Features such as push notifications, device vibration, launching other apps, setting calendar events and syncing them across other devices, etc. It is easy for busy employees to forget their daily learning sessions. This means that having push notifications can allow users to continuously learn at a consistent pace. This feature is one that mobile websites don’t really posses.
Lynda.com vs Lynda App
Lynda is a good example demonstrating the differences between a website eLearn portal and mobile app. After using both, the first thing I noticed was the buttery smooth performance of the app compared to the website. The app also has an audio-only feature that lets you play the lecture audio in the background. The lesson is accessed by the phone just like a song or a podcast. This allows the listener to perform other tasks on the phone. It also allows the listener to pause or change the volume through native or third party audio controllers (like headsets).
Apps for learning
Mobile apps are clearly the best option in the mobile market for implementing corporate education. This is due to them having much better hardware optimizations and a larger number of features. No matter how cost-effective an eLearn portal can be, it’s never worth having a slower and less encouraging learning experience. This is especially true when your employees are being equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge that they need to succeed in their position.