What is Responsive E-Learning and Why Does it Matter?

responsive e-learning

Responsiveness in web designing has now been a tech buzzword for a few years. But by following your e-learning how is it important? And more importantly, what does it mean?

To learn the application of responsive e-learning we must first go through ‘responsive’ in its actual web design context and only then consider why it matters and how it applies to e-learning?

What is responsive design?

Designing some content in a regular size paper is easy since all dimensions are fixed. But, if we are told to design the same content in different size papers it becomes a little tricky.

With the mobile device explosion in the early 2000s, web designers faced the same challenges.  Without responsive design techniques, they had to copy an original site and make multiple versions of it for users browsing on mobile devices.

The growing demand for mobile-ready content using both the websites was time-consuming and expensive and it became obvious that the device-specific approach simply couldn’t keep up with every new device as more and more devices appeared and eventually conquered the market.

Web developers defined how a website will reposition, resize, hide, or swap content for different screen sizes and resolutions. And this responsiveness is achieved through fluid grids, flexible images, and media queries. This solved the challenges that were faced earlier with different screens.

With this, the world knew how responsive designing addresses some of the challenges of delivering web content around multiple devices. But how does it address the challenges of delivering e-learning courses to multiple devices?

To better understand the responsive e-learning we must first understand the challenges that are faced for developing e-learning for multiple devices.


E-learning courses that are present today follow a slide-based layout, unlike web pages which provide vertical, scrolling layout. In responsive web designing, position of web content doesn’t matter.

But that’s not the matter with slide-based e-learning content. If objects change position or disappeared to fit into smaller screen size the learner wouldn’t understand the content. The position of elements must not change for slide-based e-learning to work on different devices.

How to develop e-learning content that fluidly adapts to a learner’s desktop, tablet, laptop, mobile devices? This question has put most of the developers in difficulties.

Some organizations have chosen to go for scrolling over the slide-based layout for responsive e-learning. They have created micro websites instead of creating interactive e-learning.

Slide-based e-learning is the most preferred choice for much of the e-learning content.  Because it is developed using web design tool and strategies so it does not have positioning requirements as slide-based content.

The tools that made responsive e-learning possible were web development tools and not e-learning authoring tools, as they were actually the downside of this approach.

It means that web-based e-learning content required more time, coding skills, and web development tools than normally developers have until recent mobile-friendly interfaces were introduced.

So this leads to solutions for e-learning authors to overcome the challenges of building responsive e-learning.


By making sure that the technology does all the heavy lifting for course authors. Two game-changing tools were introduced that turned out to gradual evolution of the responsive system.

  • Creating responsive e-learning through a web-based authoring tool

Rise is a new application to develop responsive e-learning content in the web browser itself. It produces the same responsive content, taking advantage of the technologies used by responsive building tools.

It is designed for e-learning which makes it different from those tools. In total it includes eight lesson types which are all easy to build. It is convenient to pre-built labeled graphics, timeline, video, sorting activity, quiz, and processes by uploading media files, adding text, and inserting images.

To create a unique scrolling lesson, a custom lesson can be build by stacking related interactive learning blocks, media, and text.

All such lessons in ‘Rise’ were designed with a mobile-centric approach and they are also responsive. No tweaking or coding is required for the orientation. It works and looks perfectly fine across all devices.

The best part of this is that the learners are not limited to any specific devices. The Rise will automatically adapt to any device that the learners use and provide them with the best user experience.

  • A unique club of responsiveness and mobile technology

We have seen that ‘Rise’ is an ideal tool for creating responsive e-learning in just no time. Many times organizations also intend to create a slide-based e-learning course which is highly interactive and can function smoothly on every device. With Studio 360 and Storyline 360 it is possible to create such a course.

The device used by the learners is detected by the responsive player which fluidly adapts to various orientations and screen sizes. It maximizes the screen real estate for content on small-screen devices.

The most important aspect is that the slide-based e-learning content is preserved just as it was designed. The object positioning is fixed that relives the course author to bear the burden of adapting to the learner’s device.

The principles of responsive design to e-learning are brought by the Articulate through ‘Rise’. Without sacrificing the quality the course developers now have the freedom to deliver e-learning content which not device-specific.

Importance of Responsiveness for e-learning

The use of a mobile device has increased and is in the process of collectively increasing in the upcoming time. All most all devices in the present market are internet-enabled hence it is not a realistic perception to assume that learners will access the course only from desktop computers.

We are gradually turning and evolving into a mobile society with constant up-gradation and learning.

The tablet and mobile markets have attained maturity. There is also a vast assortment to choose from different un-tethered devices. Hence, it is not unanticipated for us to expect and demand from related organizations to remove barriers confining our e-learning experience.

Irrespective of any device that we use we expect the courses to work intuitively and also look beautiful. Thanks to responsive e-learning tools organizations today can finally deliver the best to our expectations.

Deepika Sharma

Writer and WordPress blogger at SKT Themes. Handling content partnerships, doing outreach, and making sure sktthemes.in is up to date.