Monday, January 25, 2010

Content Types - Level 4: Reference

Level 4: Reference Materials & Static Content
NOTE: This is part 5 of 7 in a continuing series; please see earlier posts for more background information.

Level 4 formats include content typically considered “reference” or supplemental material; it is not specifically learning-oriented, though it often accompanies ILT events or online learning courseware.  Reference material is also used to support traditional performance support – allowing a user to identify the appropriate action for a particular set of conditions.  Reference and performance-related material can empower an employee to perform tasks with a minimum amount of external intervention or training, and when deployed via a mobile device, in “drip-feed” format, has the potential to significantly increase information retention. 

[NOTE: All Level 4 through Level 6 mlearning content types require additional integration and infrastructure to handle the various forms of digital content being managed; review the Advanced CellCast Network Diagram for more information.]

Level 4 Content Types

The CellCast Solution supports the delivery of reference material in a variety of formats, including PDF, Text, and HTML.  Typical reference material may already exist in this mode, and therefore the CellCast Solution provides a perfect platform to repurpose that material in a mobile format.  Given the mode of delivery and the requirement to use PDF readers, web browsers and text readers, Level 4 content is more suited to a smartphone/netbook than a basic mobile handset. Typical Use Cases include:

Additional Considerations

Level 4 content types represent a cost effective means of distributing mlearning content, as the form factor is more simple (typically a one page document or search-based delivery) and the effort required to create and deploy the content to a mobile device is minimal. This is an ideal format for organizations creating large volumes of content for their employees to access remotely.

In addition to the cost benefits, the low file sizes can reduce the costs to access and download content files, maintain system performance efficiencies, and ensure a positive user experience.

Summary – Level 4

All Level 4 (and above) mlearning content requires a smartphone device or netbook computer and this fact alone adds costs for most organizations, although an accelerated ROI for these existing smartphone and netbook device purchases can easily be realized by doing more with these devices than just accessing email!  Much of the Level 4 content is actually easy to prepare (or convert) from existing source materials (e.g., text files, PDF documents, images) and doesn’t require much time or effort.  Administrator training to learn to prepare and convert these materials averages 4 to 8 hours.  Coordination and delivery for all Level 4 (and above) assignments requires additional setup time, widget customization, platform integration and other data-related (e.g., access, encryption, security) services.

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