There are a few things I never leave home without: my wallet, my keys, and my portable devices. Armed with my Lumia 820 (I happen to really like Windows Phone 8, thank you very much), iPad, and an unhealthy addiction to learning and information, I’m never afraid of idle time. Bring it. Naturally, with a couple of hours to kill at the dealership, I immediately hopped into learning mode. What do I feel like exploring today? It’s always the first question into my guided inquiry for constructively beating boredom.
That was the answer. I wanted to take the upgraded version of GLEAN for a spin, and thanks to the mobile compatibility introduced with the Skillport 7.3 upgrade two weeks ago, I could now do that from a portable device. For clarification, Skillport is the name of the learning management system that serves as the backbone of GLEAN.
I first tried accessing GLEAN from my Lumia via Internet Explorer. It didn’t work. However, when I attempted to log in from my iPad via Safari, I was taken to an aesthetically pleasing, albeit minimalistic mobile log in screen. After entering my user name, password, and allowing pop ups, I was in Skillport Mobile. I absolutely had a geek moment in the customer lounge, nerd laughing out loud and excitedly explaining to woman sitting next me that I was learning on the go. She kind of smiled and nodded and went back to watching the X Games.
Search screen in Skillport Mobile. It's a little naked.
The first thing I noticed was how bare it all was. There is a search bar along the top and icons for Search, My Feed, My Plan, and My Progress along the bottom. The rest of the screen is empty real estate to ensure fast operation. With there being no option to browse the catalog from here, I entered in a test search term, marketing. Even on a somewhat sluggish wifi connection, the 4624 results came back quickly. Most importantly, the books, courses, briefs, and videos that the search retrieved are mobile-compatible by default. If you want to see all of the content that fits your search – both mobile and non-mobile ready – just hit the Actions button and then Show All. I went from having 4624 results to 5062.
Much of GLEAN's content has been optimized for mobile; just look at all of those search results.
Accessing content was also simple. For example, I was interested in trying out a course to see how it would behave on my iPad. I expanded Courses from my results list and selected Marketing Essentials: Marketing and Ethics. At the course overview screen, I was greeted with a description and also given the options to view course topics (called Section Hits), add it to My Plan, or play the course. I decided to push play. The class loaded into a sleek player that filled my screen when in landscape mode. Although the course is the exact same version that you’ll get by using GLEAN on a desktop computer, I found that it just looks better and feels more intuitive on my iPad.
Dear Course Player: We like big buttons and we cannot lie.
Watching a video and reading a book were child’s play, because of the unified interface of Skillport Mobile. Books 24×7 content is folded so neatly into the mobile experience that if you’re not a frequent GLEAN user, you might think that Books 24×7 was gone completely. This is because you can view a book or video through Skillport Mobile without having to access Books 24×7 separately. The players for videos and books are not as sleek as the course player, but they are functional and work flawlessly with touch. You can even listen to audio books now without having to download them to a computer first. Just do a search for “audio edition”, find something to listen to, and stream away.
The book viewer is woven seamlessly into the mobile interface.
The three hours I spent waiting for my wife’s van to be serviced flew by. I finished half of Marketing Essentials: Marketing and Ethics. I listened to chapter one of Breaking Out: How to Build Influence in a World of Competing Ideas. I even learned about AirDrop for iOS 7. I was so stoked from geeking out on GLEAN’s newest feature that I forgot to feed myself before going home. My wife couldn’t figure out why I was so happy when I walked in the house, but it didn’t take her long to realize why. A few minutes later, she comes into the kitchen to discover me with my 15 month-old son on my lap holding my iPad.
“OK, son, you gotta check this out. GLEAN is freaking awesome.”
Have you had an opportunity to try GLEAN on an iPad, Android device, or Blackberry? If you need help, download the quick start guides for using Skillport Mobile on a tablet or smartphone. What has been your experience? How do you plan on taking advantage of learning on the go?