How does responsive design impact learning culture?
Lately I have been spending a lot of time on Webflow, a responsive site builder, redesigning our company website. As the number of devices, platforms and screen sizes grows it’s becoming more important to be able to provide an optimal viewing experience in terms of reading and navigation’ whatever the screen size. Responsive design allows you to build sites which can adapt their layout according to screen size, platform and orientation by using fluid grids, flexible images and media queries and means that you don’t need to develop different sites for every gadget.
If you google responsive web design you will get plenty of results talking about how it is not just about adjustable screen sizes and images that automatically resize but that it also represents a whole new way of thinking about design. If you want to get into the nitty gritty, Smashing Magazine has a great blog post on it (Responsive Web Design: What it is and How to Use it).
Whilst this is certainly true, it also represents a much deeper shift in the culture of learning. When a client asks us to create a responsive site for them, for example, a job aid or a resources hub, they are not simply asking for a well-designed product that will look nice wherever it is accessed, they are asking us to help them embed learning more thoroughly into workflow and into the everyday life of the organisation.
You no longer have to wait for a training course or have to be at your desk to learn, you can do it via your phone or tablet on-the-go. You can undertake your learning on the job, on the train, whilst waiting for your kids to finish at a club, even when in the bath if you so wish (though we’d recommend a waterproof cover for your device!). Although there are limitations in content, responsive design allows you the flexibility to undertake your learning when and how you want to on a number of different devices, by having appropriately formatted content and resources at your fingertips. Thus making it easier and more cost-effective for learning to be continuous, flexible and up-to-date.
It’s really interesting to see how the ability to design responsive learning influences learning culture within an organisation; particularly what learning looks like, what its purpose is and how and when it is delivered. We’re firm believers in learning and resources being accessible when and where they’re needed. Responsive design is one great way of doing this.
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