After having explored the iPad for a couple of weeks, it is time to dive into the actual development of Mobile Learning solutions! Let us start off with some generic foundations on the design of iPad applications: Apple's Human Interface Guidelines (HIG) defines three application styles, which I have summarized below. These application styles help us to clarify some of our design decisions and to see how different approaches can be suitable for different types of information and functionality. Please note that application styles do not dictate the implemention method (native, web based or hybrid).
1. Productivity Applications
People use Productivity Applications to accomplish tasks, which are based on the organization and manipulation of detailed information. Mail is a good example of a productivity application. Productivity Applications often organize user data hierarchically. In this way, people can find information by making progressively more specific choices until they arrive at the desired level of detail.
In our learning world I could think of administrative LMS interfaces being implemented as Productivity Applications. Moreover, the hierarchical organization of data could be beneficial for structuring complex knowledge based Performance Support Systems.
2. Utility Applications
Utility Applications perform a simple task that requires a minimum of user input. People open them to see a quick summary of information or to perform a simple task on a limited number of objects. Utility Applications tend to present data in a flattened list. The Weather application is a good example because it displays a narrowly focused amount of information in an easy-to-scan summary.
Less complex Performance Support solutions providing instant "knowledge at our fingertips" could be well represented by Utility Applications.
3. Immersive Applications
Immersive Applications offer a full-screen, visually rich environment that is focused on the content and the user’s experience with that content. People often use Immersive Applications to have fun, whether playing a game, viewing media-rich content, or performing a simple task. Immersive Applications tend to hide much of the device’s user interface, replacing it with a custom user interface that strengthens the user’s sense of entering the world of the application. Users expect seeking and discovery to be part of the experience of an immersive application, so the use of nonstandard controls is often appropriate.
Mobile Learning courseware would heavily leverage this application type. In contrary to Apple's generic Immersive Applications, I do envision us defining standard controls for Learning to increase the consistency and usability of our courseware at least in a specific domain (e.g. corporation or organization). The Masie LearningLab aims at collaboratively defining industry standards and best practices for iPad based Mobile Learning.
Let us leverage these generic design standards to define specific WorkPad, LearnPad, PerformPad solutions. What ideas do you have for iPad Learning solutions based on these three application types?