Auto-sensing device and browser – now more important than ever!

Posted by Brian McNamara

The variety of widely-used web browsers, a field once dominated by Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE), is becoming more complex and diverse.

A recent review of web traffic stats from StatCounter indicates that IE still sees a significant market share worldwide, but that web traffic from other browsers such as Firefox, Chrome and Safari have gained significantly in the past three years. Indeed, in several countries and regions, traffic from Firefox and Chrome browsers now exceeds that from IE.

Worldwide browser states

IE still commands the largest share of web traffic in the US,  though it has declined from about 66% to 42% since 2008:

US Browser Stats

In Europe, three browsers split the lion’s share of browser traffic – Chrome, Firefox and IE each account for about 30% of traffic, with Chrome seeing steady increases apparently at IE’s expense:

Browser stats - Europe

If we drill down a bit further to the ‘country’ level, we can see IE and Chrome nearly equal in the UK, with a similar trend in Chrome’s growth at IE’s expense.

Browser stats -  UK

But we see a different story in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, where Firefox has led IE in market share for more than three years, with IE now accounting for only about 25% of browser usage.

Browser Stats - Germany

The growth in Chrome’s usage is even more pronounced in South America, now accounting for more than 52%, more than double that of either Firefox or IE.

Browser stats - South America

So what does all this have to do with online assessment? As more and more organizations deliver online assessments to increasingly diverse and globally dispersed audiences, they must consider the impact that different browser technologies could have on the experience of the employee, student or candidate who is taking the assessment.

Fortunately, Questionmark has taken the guesswork out of the authoring and delivery process with “auto sensing” delivery – in which the Questionmark delivery system senses the participant’s device, screen resolution and browser, and then delivers the assessment in a format best suited for the participant’s environment:

Auto Sensing - Auto Sizing
Plus, Questionmark’s assessment management system supports delivery to the latest versions of many major browsers, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera. This means that you can author an assessment once, deliver it to multiple types of devices and browsers, and obtain centralized, trustable results for analysis and sharing with stakeholders.


Conference Close-up: Using mobile devices for sales training and testing

Posted by Joan Phaup

The idea of using mobile devices for learning and assessment sparks many lively conversations these days – and we’re looking forward to discussing this subject during the Questionmark Users Conference March 20 – 23 in New Orleans.

Among those who can talk about this in detail is Barry Jass from Covidien Vascular Therapies, where Apple iPads and iPhones are used for sales training, product knowledge tests and observational assessments.

I enjoyed asking Barry about the case study he’ll be presenting at the conference.

Barry Jass

Barry Jass

Can you tell me about your job role?

I am the sales training manager in charge of elearning and curriculum development for our peripheral vascular division. I develop curriculum for the various products we have to keep our sales force up to the date on — new features, new indications, new product design and usage.

What do you think are the biggest challenges of training itinerant sales people?

I think the greatest challenge is that most people in sales don’t have much time. They are busy with their customers! For example, our sales force works directly with doctors; they’re serving as consultants for the use of our devices, so they don’t have much time for extended learning. They need the learning, but it’s hard for them to find the time to dedicate to it.

What will you cover during your presentation?

I’m going to talk about the concepts involved in training somebody through a mobile device. I think that’s a big issue for curriculum designers who’ve grown up thinking the computer was the greatest thing in training. Now we have tablets and smartphones!  Very different rules are necessary to make learning effective on a small device like a phone. It is more than simply taking already existing learning modules and making them available on a person’s phone.  I want to talk about how you plan learning and assessments that work on mobile devices. If there are people in the audience who are already using mobile assessments, I’ll want them to share their ideas throughout the session.

I’ll talk about the principles, but I’ll also give participants the chance to make an assessment or survey right there on the spot that can be used immediately. I’d like people to bring their phones and tablets with them so they can try this out using Questionmark OnDemand. I think that if you’re going to use the smartphone or tablet to view something, you should also be able to create it using the same tool.

Do you have any quick pointers for people pondering a move to mobile assessments?

My favorite quote is by Blaise Pascal: “The present letter is a very long one, simply because I had no leisure to make it shorter.” One of the hardest things to do is to make something short! We tend to create modules that are 45 minutes or an hour long, but for mobile learning these modules should be no more than five minutes. You also have to think about short assessments – say 3 questions instead of 10! That’s a big challenge, and it takes a lot more planning and development than a learning that would take place through your computer.

What do want people to take away from your session?

I hope they will learn that m-learning is here to stay. It’s not going back to the bigger screen: it’s going to a smaller screen. I think we have to embrace that and make those changes now or we’ll be left behind as instructional designers and curriculum writers.

I hope I can show participants how easy it is to use new technologies to create mobile learning and assessments.  I hope to give them some clear principles to work with as well as the chance to put them into action.

What are you most looking forward to about the conference?

Getting together with other people and hearing what they’re doing. I want to know the latest and greatest that’s out there because I always want to be on the cutting edge.


Want to get together with your colleagues and be on the cutting edge, too?  Register for the conference soon!

Delivering Assessments to Android Devices

Mobile devices make it easy to deliver surveys, knowledge checks, quizzes and other assessments anywhere, anytime. Auto-sensing and auto-sizing makes it possible to deliver Questionmark assessments to a variety of different devices regardless of their various screen sizes and technology platforms. And results from assessments delivered to many different environments can be processed together.

Users of Android devices can have one-touch access to Questionmark Perception assessments. Here’s how:

After downloading the Questionmark Android App from the Android Market, the participant can configure it while connected to the Internet.

To start using the app, participants:

  • Click on the Questionmark icon, which can be found in the application menu or added to the home screen as a shortcut
  • Either run the app as a demo (to open examples of different types of assessments) or configure it to point to a Perception server

Participants need to configure the app just once. There are two ways to do this:

  • By entering a customer number, provided by Questionmark Customer Care
  • By entering the full URL for their Perception log-in

After configuring the application and launching it again, the participant will see a new “My Assessments” button that provides direct access to any assessments that have been scheduled for them.

You can read more about the Questionmark App for Android here – and if you’re interested in using mobile devices to deliver course evaluation surveys, be sure to check out these tips.

Three Angles on Mobile Delivery

Posted by Julie Delazyn

All of us at Questionmark take a keen interest in the use of iPads, smart phones and other mobile devices for delivering assessments.

And with good reason, since around 400 million smartphones and tablets will be shipped in 2011 —  close to the number of PCs shipped. And the number of mobile cellular subscriptions grew to 5 billion in 2010.

If you’re interested in how your organization might be able to use mobile assessments, you might want to check out some tips our Chairman, John Kleeman, has posted recently on the SAP blog:

Mobile delivery will be among the many topics we’ll be talking about at the Questionmark Users Conference in Los Angeles this week.   Check out the conference program and follow us on Twitter. We’ll be tweeting from the Conference, and we’re happy to hear from you.  Join the conversation using #qm11.

Conference Close-up: Silke Fleischer on Design Strategies for Mobile Devices

Posted by Joan Phaup

Mobile assessment is high on the list of topics we’ll be discussing at the Questionmark Users Conference March 15 -18. Silke Fleischer, a co-founder of ATIV Software, will show attendees how to create materials that work well on mobile devices and manage their limitations during her talk on Getting the Most from a Small Screen: Design strategies for mobile devices.

Silke Fleischer

Silke has been a featured speaker at several national and international conferences of organizations such as the eLearning Guild and ASTD, and we’re very pleased she’ll be joining us in Los Angeles. I spoke with her recently about her work and her plans for presenting at the conference:

Q:   Could you tell me about your work at ATIV software?
A: We develop mobile applications for events and eLearning. Our core EventPilot application is a support system for conferences, events and meetings, and we are working on a mobile course app that helps training departments reduce printing costs for instructor-led training. We also do custom mobile development. In case you are wondering about how we got our company name, it stands for innovATIVe, creATIVe, alternATIVe!

Q: What trends are you seeing in mobile learning and assessment?
A: There are more than 700,000 smartphones sold per day, and learning is very convenient on them. More and more standard eLearning content is now being made available and optimized for mobile devices, especially with the technology getting better and screen resolutions larger. That’s not to say that classroom training is going away! You have to have the face-to-face interaction. I think we will see a marriage between mobile and the classroom.

One interesting trend is the use of mobile delivery within Instructor-Led Training (ILT) to cut printing and reduce budgets for handouts and course materials. Our upcoming course app, for instance, allows learners to log in and download all course-related PowerPoint presentations on an iPad and take notes directly on the device to a particular slide. When the course is over, they can take their assessment using Questionmark’s iPad App and also send themselves an email with notes and marked items for easy reference about what they have learned. Also, you can update content on the fly and integrate social aspects such as your training blog or company messaging system. This approach can save thousands of dollars in printing costs for large organizations over the year.

Q: What are the key elements that need to be considered in designing and implementing mobile assessment?
A: Mobile devices are unlike desktop computers or laptops. The smaller screen, for example, limits some types of training and assessments. You also have to consider software and hardware. On the software side, you might have to find new ways of creating interactive content if there is no Flash player available  When it comes to hardware, even though devices are very fast these days, their performance is still dependent on the processors and on memory limitations, so you will want to invest in good programmers. Wifi and cell reception requirements should be analyzed, and you can also look at native versus hybrid versus web apps. The amazing new capabilities outweigh the limitations. Today’s mobile devices make new training paradigms possible and enable instructional designers to use motion sensing and location-based services, cameras and advanced touch screens.

Q: What will you be sharing during your presentation at the Questionmark Users Conference?
A: Since mobile devices have such a small screens we will be talking about design and development approaches. I’ll be offering some basic guidelines to help attendees get started with small screen design and content presentation. An important aspect of this will be the fact that the screens aren’t only used for displaying content, but also for navigation with your fingers. I’ll be sharing some workarounds that will help people overcome the challenges presented by small screens.

Q: What are you looking forward to at the conference?
A: I’m eager to learn about other trends in learning and assessments, which I think will help me get inspired with new ideas for 2011. And of course it will be great to network with others  and share ideas. I’m really excited about going to the conference!

We’re looking forward to the conference, too, and hope you will check out the program and register soon!

New Questionmark App for Android™ phones available from Android Market


Posted by Jim Farrell

As Android phones and other mobile devices become the constant companions of learners the world over, mobile delivery offers an affordable way to administer quick knowledge checks, surveys and other assessments to people on the move or at work.

So we are pleased to announce that a new Questionmark App that enables streamlined assessment delivery to Android phones is now available for free download from the Android Market.

The app is completely configurable, so your participants can access assessments scheduled for them in your Questionmark Perception v5 repository. The app — currently available in English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Korean — is designed to detect the language setting of each learner’s device.

If you don’t have Questionmark Perception v5 yet, you can still try this new app: Simply install it and choose the “demo” option, and the app will let you try out several assessments available from Questionmark’s demonstration site.

Click here for more info about Questionmark apps for Android and other mobile devices.