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Is mobile learning expensive?

July 7, 2011 Deepali Tharkude From the Delivery Head's desk...

The cost of mobile learning depends obviously on the cost of its development.

There are essentially two ways to develop mobile learning courseware – you can either author it in HTML5 or develop it using the native apps of each device OS. Let’s consider each of these…

Development using Native apps

  1. This would be a great choice because it means that there is hardly any restriction on what you can do in terms of course engagement – interactivities, videos, audio, practice exercises, games…the works!
  2. However, a course developed using say the iOS native apps, will not play on a BlackBerry or an Android. So, the same course will have to be developed separately for each OS/device you need it to run on – one version using the iOS native apps, another using BlackBerry’s, a third using Android’s and so on. That could be expensive!
  3. You could of course choose to develop for just one operating system and keep the cost under control.  But in most cases, you won’t know which mobile devices your employees are using. So, your course is at risk of not reaching the learners at all.
  4. Also, with the number of tablets and phones out there in the market, it would be very difficult to decide which specific operating system to develop the mlearning course for.

So, the development of a mobile learning course using native apps would give you complete freedom in design but it may be restrictive in its reach.

Development using HTML 5

  1. HTML5 is completely device or rather browser and operating system-independent. It is supported by all the browsers and operating systems running on the more popular mobile devices today – Apple’s iOS, BlackBerry OS and Google’s Android.
  2. However, it is still not entirely supported by IE9, but reports say IE 10 will make that leap.
  3. So, a course developed using HTML5 will play on just about any browser which means a one-time development for multiple devices. And if you are not sure about the devices your learners use, this would be more cost-effective than using native apps.
  4. HTML5 obviously won’t allow you as much freedom in design as native apps would. But you can get most simple interactivities, animations, videos, audio and some basic games done using HTML5.

In summary, a course developed in HTML5 may not support complex design, but it could be just as effective and reach a wider target audience.

And so, in both development methods – HTML5 or native apps- there are several factors that will determine the final cost and you can weigh these to select the method you want to go with.

So now that you know that you can create effective mobile learning courses cost effectively, don’t let cost stop you from moving to mobile learning!

android, blackberry, html5, iOS, just in time learning,


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