Classroom in Your Hand


When our digital contents are ready, how can the students access the contents? Is it sufficient to just upload them in YouTube and provide the link to students through Whatsapp or Telegram? 

This where the Learning Management System (LMS) plays its role as the platform to place our learning content as what we have designed in the DESIGN stage and what we have built in the BUILD stage. 

The LMS, in my case we use Moodle, must become the main learning centre for the students. So the structure must resemble an interactive book or magazine where it contains chapters, sections, and subsections.

Uploading of the digital contents in the mobile device through the LMS.

1. The Skeleton

What would be the best structure of arranging our contents in the learning platform?

The main objectives are:

  1. Easy for students to navigate.
  2. Simple, but visually elegant. Avoid clutter.

In the book, Design For How People Learn by Julie Dirksen, the author emphasises the importance of understanding how the brain works when designing learning for students.

Memory is the foundation for learning, where successful learning involves encoding and retrieval; memory in and memory out. While remember (memory in) is the first step, what most important is one must be able to retrieve, manipulate, combine, connect, and innovate with the information stored in the brain before it comes out as a useful action as part of the learning process (memory out).

We can imagine our brain like an active wardrobe that arranges information in our brain into multiple categories. Personal things-to-do, office works, tasks for part-time job, appointments, etc.

Our brain works like an active wardrobe, storing information based on categories.

Although in the book, these brain knowledges will relate to the design of the learning content, I would like to connect this to the structure of the content management in the LMS platform.

A wardrobe has many drawers and shelves which store your clothes according to the category: clothes for work, sleeping dress, socks, …

Make it like a

Think the chapters/topics in your learning module like the drawers in the wardrobe, which store relevant digital contents in that corresponding drawer. Below is the example of the structure of my module in our LMS (Moodle).

Play Video

Example of my module structure (wardrobe style) in the learning platform.

As seen, the contents are stored inside a ‘drawer’ in a specific category. So every time the students open the LMS, the students only needs to find the intended drawer, without being blasted with so many ‘unnecessary’ information, which create clutter, cause eye fatigue and could end up with lost of motivation (to learn or to open the LMS). 

The skeleton of the content management in the learning platform.

Avoid blasting students with clutter contents which can overwhelm them and could also cause lost of motivation.

2. The Page

The PAGE is where we have to arrange the digital contents that we have developed in the BUILD stage. This is the main stage for the students to interact with the content.

In the page, it should contains:

  1. Text paragraph
  2. Relevant images
  3. Videos (provide embedded link)
  4. Animation (GIF)
  5. Multi-touch animations
  6. Link to other resources
  7. Quizzes (with automatic grading)
  8. Submission of tasks (time setting, uploading documents, etc).

Layout of possible arrangement of digital contents in the page.

In the PAGE, application of Elements of Design (Contrast, Alignment, Repetition, Proximity) is important to ensure readability and professional look.

Play Video

Example of my contents in the PAGE of our LMS.

Some advices:

  1. Put attention to spacing between elements and paragraphs.
  2. No need to put the text paragraph into justify.
  3. Be consistent with the layout. Use same size font for heading, sub-heading, etc and use same icons throughout the module.
  4. Make sure the size of the video content is in full width, not in the form of thumbnail.

3. Why mobile device?

When it comes to online learning, we imagine that the students will sit on a table with a laptop opens. But what we fail to imagine is that, in most situations, students need to find a specific convenient place to open the laptop (especially place where electric plug is available) and … not every student has a laptop.

BUT (almost) all students have smartphone .

Thus, make sure the LMS works well in the smartphones (or other mobile devices: iPad or Tablet).

The advantage of using mobile device:

  1. Portability and Convenience:
    Mobile devices are highly portable, allowing students to access learning materials anytime, anywhere. This flexibility is especially useful for students are on the go or prefer studying in different environments. They can straight away open the module in their hand.

  2. Accessibility:
    Mobile devices are generally more accessible than laptops. Not everyone has a laptop, but many students have smartphones or tablets. This accessibility can be crucial for students who might not have consistent access to a computer.

  3. Quick Access:
    Mobile devices offer instant access to information with just a tap. Students can quickly check announcements, review content, or participate in discussions without the need to boot up a laptop, making it more convenient for brief study sessions. In my classroom, students have to refer the material in the LMS, so all students conveniently use their mobile phones, iPad or tablets.

  4. Multitasking:
    Students can easily switch between apps on a mobile device, allowing them to seamlessly integrate their learning with other activities. For instance, they can take notes, watch instructional videos, and participate in discussions without having to switch between different windows on a laptop. If they need to take picture to be uploaded as part of the assignment, they can do so right away with their smartphone.

  5. Collaboration and Communication:
    Many mobile devices come equipped with built-in cameras and microphones, enabling students to participate in virtual meetings, discussions, or collaborative projects. This can enhance communication and engagement with classmates and instructors.

  6. Offline Access:
    Some LMS platforms offer mobile apps that allow students to download course materials for offline viewing. This is beneficial in situations where internet access is limited, such as during travel or in areas with poor connectivity.

  7. Interactive Learning:
    Touchscreen capabilities on mobile devices can facilitate interactive learning experiences, such as drawing diagrams, solving problems using touch gestures, or participating in interactive simulations.

    In my subject, sketching on a graph and mathematical calculation are use extensively. Students use the Apple Pencil, or stylus for these tasks on their iPad or tablet. The result can be straightaway uploaded to the LMS if necessary.

  8. Push Notifications:
    Mobile devices often support push notifications, alerting students to new announcements, assignment deadlines, or forum discussions. This can help keep students informed and engaged in a timely manner.

Students use their Apple Pencil or stylus to scribble on their iPads or tablets for graphing and mathematical calculation.