LMS Free Trial
Home > Media Center > e-Learning Articles and Resources

Documentation and e-Learning (Part 6): Get Real! − Delivering Training to Mobile Users

Text Size  - +  Print  Print

By Dave Powell, Documentation Manager, SyberWorks, Inc.

Would you like (or do you need) to deliver current or future courseware and documentation directly to mobile users wherever they are… on their cell-phone screens… without having to make significant changes to your LMS? You can start doing so right now, thanks to the ever-inventive Japanese. Their amazingly simple technique allows you to bring greater reality into both the courseware students receive and the environments where they receive it… and, in fact, will let them receive it anywhere.

This is possible using “QR (Quick Response) Codes.” In Japan, you’ll see these quirky square “bar codes” everywhere… on billboards, magazine pages, advertisements, coupons, store windows, product packages, busses, taxis, and even T-shirts, caps, scarves, and tattoos. They’ve even covered skyscrapers with ’em. When a viewer (wherever they happen to be) points their cell-phone camera at one of these codes (wherever it happens to be) and photographs or “scans” it, their hand-held device immediately launches the web-page URL, displays the text block, calls the telephone number, or displays the Short Message Service (SMS) message that was “encoded” in the QR-Code image.

Many e-Learning Applications

The ways that QR Codes can be used in e-Learning, blended training, and even product documentation are limited only by your imagination. They could, for example:

A simple four-step process is all that’s needed to pull this off in your e-Learning projects:

Here’s more about each of these steps:

Getting QR Code Readers into Users’ Phones

There’s a whole infrastructure out there to support QR Code applications. Both Europe and Asia are way ahead of the U.S. in this area. Several Web sites permit any cell-phone or iPhone user to determine if a QR Code reader is available for their device. And if one is, they can usually download it directly into their phone. (NOTE: Many BlackBerry devices contain their own “Messenger” QR-Code scanner for connecting with friends… and in our tests, this scanner could also launch web content from QR Codes.)

Here are just a few of the sites for doing this search:

Once a reader is activated in the user’s phone, it’s easy to read QR Codes. Depending on the phone and reader software, the user either takes a snapshot of the QR Code or simply scans the phone’s camera across it. The linked content then appears on the phone’s screen.

You can tell your mobile learners about these QR-Code reader sites through emails, ticklers, and your online training portal.

Creating QR Codes

The next step is to create the QR Code images that you’ll use in your e-Learning screens and materials. This too is easy, and the many generators out there include:

To use Kaywa’s, for example:

  1. Go to Kaywa’s code generator page:

    QR-Code Generator

  2. In the Content type area, select URL, Text, Phone Number, or SMS.
  3. In the Content area, enter the URL or other content that the QR Code will launch (http:// is already included… and necessary… for URL content).
  4. Select the Size (M or L is usually fine).
  5. Click Generate!
  6. Right-click the QR Code image that appears, save it, and then import/paste it into any document… Adobe Photoshop image, Microsoft PowerPoint slide, Word document, spreadsheet, class handout, online HTML course page, or whatever.
  7. Users’ cell phones can then go directly to the encoded content by photographing or scanning the image… wherever you placed it.

Snappr.net is an interesting generator. Once you open a free account, you can create QR Codes linked to music files, images, URLs, and polling/voting applications. Also of great interest for e-Learning applications is their:

And again, you can tell your mobile learners how easy it is to photograph/scan these codes, wherever they see them during their training.

See For Yourself

If you’d like to see how this all works, I encourage you to load a QR Code reader into your own cell phone or iPhone (and if you have a BlackBerry, it may already have the software). Then scan these QR Codes one at a time and see where they take you:

QR Codes

A Few Downsides

While QR Codes are easy to set up and use, here are some points to keep in mind:

Related Links

Here are a few interesting QR-Code resources:

And click this link for a list of sites that discuss QR Codes in mobile e-Learning applications. Here are some of the more interesting ones I found:

With QR Codes, students can access your e-Learning portals anywhere—in printed workbooks, online course pages, classrooms, or out in the streets. The codes can be taped to the walls of your training facilities, painted on the exterior of your headquarters, and even printed on the back of that ratty old baseball cap you wear to work every day. And I… standing right behind you on the subway or street corner… could scan your cap’s QR Code and immediately be taken to your e-Learning portal, marketing/blog site, or even your product documentation.

THAT’S very cool!

About the Author:

Dave Powell is Documentation Manager for SyberWorks Inc., a privately-held supplier of e-Learning software and training. For the past 15 years, he has written award-winning marketing collateral and user documentation for hardware/software companies like PictureTel, 3Com, Philips Medical Systems, Polaroid, and SyberWorks. Prior to that, he edited and wrote for publications like Computerworld, Infosecurity News, Networking Management, Digital Design, LightWave, Popular Computing, Harvard Business Review, and Leaders. (During that time, he also served as an author and Editorial Advisor for Sesame Street.)

About SyberWorks

SyberWorks, Inc. is a leader in providing Learning Management Systems and custom e-Learning Solutions for Fortune 1000 corporations, higher education, and other organizations. Located in Waltham, Massachusetts, the company serves the multi-billion-dollar e-Learning market. Since 1995, SyberWorks has developed and delivered unique and economical solutions for creating, managing, measuring, and improving e-Learning programs at companies and organizations in the United States, Canada, Europe, and other countries.

SyberWorks, Inc.
411 Waverley Oaks Road
Building 3, Suite 319
Waltham, MA 02452

Bobby/Watchfire Section 508 Approved level 1

Valid XHTML 1.0!

Home | LMS Product Suite | Industry Solutions | Services | Partnership | Courses | About Us | Free Trials | Media Center | Site Map