Vertical video, the near future of mobile learning?

Vertical video, the near future of mobile learning?

Videos filmed with a phone held vertically ending up on You Tube, framed by two unsightly black bars: the Vertical Video Syndrome, VVS!

For several years, the authors of these inappropriate horizontal format videos have been considered at best thoughtless, at worst ignorant. However, the vertical videos are doing the heyday of Snapchat and Twitter, and may well announce the future of mobile learning!

Vertical Video Syndrome: a humorous phrase coined in the early 2010s to designate vertically shot videos, usually inadvertently and/or awkwardly, posted on sharing sites. The result is actually much aesthetic, like old movies framed by huge black bands. In 2012, a famous VVS clip has attracted millions of views.

Three years later, things have changed. VVS mockery was overlooking the rapid development of smartphones and broadband internet, amplified by an explosion of global mobile traffic by 69% in 2014. The videos shot on mobile no longer necessarily end up on You Tube, but remain mobile and are shared, where VVS are tailored for. With seductive economic stakes for mobile applications, and clear prospects for mobile learning…

Vertical video applied to mobile learning?

Vertical video is now a reality on smartphones thanks to several sharing applications, including the famous Snapchat. While most smartphones have rotating screens, the simple fact of having to turn the screen in horizontal mode often worries users: on Snapchat, vertical videos have nine times more complete views than their horizontal contestant.

Already heavily used by most successful companies, mobile learning integrates the best technologies applied to the smartphone format, in order to deliver as quickly and effectively as possible a clear and concise training to learners, anywhere and any time. In this context, vertical video has a great potential utility for mobile learning, fond of pictures, diagrams and instructional videos!

VVS, prerogative of Sunday smartphone users, unable to correctly film their weekend adventures? This is the past! In the ultra-pragmatic perspective of mobile learning, vertical video holds a key place in the corporate training strategy!

10 author’ s golden rules for a 5-star Quiz

10 author’ s golden rules for a 5-star Quiz

Hi Best Selling Authors (or soon to be)!

The quiz is a very popular learning technique. It allows both a rapid, consistent and objective assessment and an efficient yet entertaining memorizing method. In the US, it was institutionalized in 1926 when the national examination for admission to the University, the Scholastic Aptitude Test or SAT, took this form. In France, it was introduced in 1960 firstly in the medical schools.

Despite its widespread use in education, there are still debates on a quiz benefits not only for the assessment of factual information but also for valuing knowledge of a higher cognitive level. However, this criticism is most often attributed to a quiz construction defect rather than its intrinsic capabilities.

Yet, writing a good quiz is not trivial: it is important to dwell on its objectives, the knowledge to cover, the questions and answers consistency… What rules then apply to obtain an effective quiz?

To make sure you get the best quiz questions and response options possible, allow us to share with you some essential writing tips, illustrated with true or false type examples.


  1. Relate all questions to the application/module topic!
  2. The wording of the question uses a simple and clear language, so that the learner is not likely to misinterpret the question. In particular, avoid the double negation.
    No: “The 1 January 2000 is not the date the 3rd millennium began. ”
    Yes: “The 1 January 2001 was the first day of the third millennium. “
  3. The wording of the question does not involve any value judgment nor approximation. The answer can only be objective.
    No: “Michael Jackson was a better dancer than singer. ”
    Yes, “Michael Jackson has sold over a billion albums. “
  4. Each question must be sufficient in itself, independent, without causal connection. A statement does not refer to another question or give an index that can be used later.
    No: “Of this billion, what is the most represented album? ”
    Yes: “What Michael Jackson Album totaled the most sales? “
  5. Avoid acronyms, abbreviations and slang, unless they are obvious to the evaluated population.
    No: “Under the procedure, upon LMS failure, the Federal Governor must be notified immediately.”
    Yes: “Under the procedure, upon Winston-Louisville Airport failure, the Federal Governor must be notified immediately.”
  6. The statement must ask 1 question, so that the choice of the answer relates to a single criterion.
    No: “Presbyopia is an eye disorder disturbing distance vision and cannot be corrected. ”
    Yes: “Presbyopia is an eye disorder that interferes with distance vision. “And” Presbyopia is an eye disorder that can not be corrected.”


  1. Response options that do not begin with the same word (if so, raise the word in the question).
    No: A-“Martin Cooper made the first mobile phone call from handheld subscriber equipment in 1973”, B-“Martin Cooper made the first mobile phone call from handheld subscriber equipment in 1983”
    Yes: A-“1973”, B-“1983”
  2. There is only 1 accurate answer. Other(s) may be believable, even funny, but is/are false.
    No: A-“Napoleon passed away in 1821”, B-“Napoleon passed away aged 51”
    Yes: A-“Napoleon passed away in 1821”, B-“Napoleon passed away in 1830”
  3. The grammatical structure and the level of details are harmonized.
    No: A-“The Alchemist was written by Paulo Coelho in Portuguese in 1988”, B-“The Hobbit”
    Yes: A-“The Alchemist, in 1988”, B-“The Hobbit, in 1937”
  4. Possible answers do not overlap, and do not include each other.
    No: A-“Jo Mama’s world famous spaghetti”, B-“Jo Mama’s delicious bolognese pasta”
    Yes: A-“Jo Mama’s world famous spaghetti”, B-“Jo Mama’s great scalloped potatoes”


The pedagogical value of a question is greatly increased by the quality of comments associated with it. Add a web page reference for further enlightenments makes a comment even more beneficial.

Without respect to some good practices, an experienced player might understand a quiz vulnerability and therefore pass it without even knowing the answers:

  •  General statements (all, none, always ..) are mostly false, while broad assertions tend to be true
  • The grammatical form of wrong answers is different from the grammatical form of correct ones, thereby differentiating them.
  • Some words or expressions of the question are included in the correct answer.
  • Etc

Ready? Steady? Ask!  Feel free to enrich this suggested pool of good practices, share yours with us!

And good luck for writing your best content ever!

Up, app… and away!

Up, app… and away!

Mobile learning has become one of the fastest-growing industries in education technology, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon!

“With the cheaper rates at which mobile broadband data becomes available, 3/4 of eLearners will soon be mobile learners”, explains Vincent from Teach on Mars.

With this dramatic surge in both interest and accessibility, mobile learning represents our children’s future in learning experience. Recent studies have shown that 51 percent of high school students carry a smartphone with them to school every day — so do 28 percent of middle school students and 8 percent of elementary school students!* And parents like the concept:

  • 85 percent of parents completely or somewhat agree that mobiles and apps can make learning fun
  • 77 percent agree that they promote curiosity
  • 74 percent agree that they help their child know local and global current events
  • 63 percent agree that they teach problem-solving

Companies such as Teach on Mars have grasped the immediacy and urgency of this phenomenon and developed state-of-the-art applications to cater for the growing demand for newer, faster and more enjoyable learning apps, turning the learning process into a fun activity!

Jumping on the band wagon of progress, trendy Teach on Mars are working towards a wide selection of user-friendly, comprehensive and effective mobile learning applications, tailored to the needs of businesses, associations and academies, with their multi-cultural, fun and highly educational mobile learning tools.

Try it out and see for yourself – learning IS fun!

Learning tips: every day a little helps!

Learning tips: every day a little helps!

Are you using the learning techniques scientifically proven as being the most effective?

Absolutely! By regularly logging onto your favourite “Teach on Mars” apps which are based on thorough, efficient learning methods developed, tested and approved by cognitive and educational psychologists.

Ever highlight? Reread? Self-test? Summarize? Procrastinate? Check out the top 5 below… to get on the right study track!

  1. Every (day a) little helps! Hardly known outside the psych lab, the spaced practice aims at spreading out study sessions, rather than engaging in one single marathon session. Cramming before an exam might help you pass the test, but you won’t remember what you learned! Studying in intervals over time works best. The longer your intervals are, the longer you will remember the information!
  2. Practice makes perfect! Studies have found that a practice test can double free recall! The act of calling information to mind strengthens that knowledge and aids in future retrieval. No need for formal exams to profit from practice testing: flash cards, challenges and various mobile “low stakes” assessments will do the trick perfectly. Performing (an activity) or exercising (a skill) regularly improves and maintains proficiency.
  3. Bend the rules, random practice! Alternate rather than segregate practice of different skills. This method, along with spaced practice, boosts test scores by improving the ability to pair each problem with its solution.
  4. Elaborative interrogation, or asking yourself “why” (rather than “what”) as you read and writing down your answers. It is quick and easy (32 min for elaborative learning vs. 28 min for standard reading); Anyone can do it though this method may be best for proficient learners, as it does require enough prior knowledge to generate relevant Q&A.
  5. Self-explain! Take the edge off and … Analysis has shown that explaining a text to yourself in detail instead of passively reading through it improves problem solving skills during learning, rather than after it. Like elaborative interrogation, self-explaining is very simple!

Highlighting and underlining are on the winner’s platform of ineffective learning strategies! Closely followed by “low utility” rereading and summarizing, which are said to bring no value beyond just reading the text. To broaden your learning, ditch your highlighter, keep calm (acquiring valuable new habits takes time) and get a new “Teach on Mars” app!


The Age of Bite-sized Learning is … now!

The Age of Bite-sized Learning is … now!

Step by step, bit by bit, Stone by stone (yeah), brick by brick (oh, yeah), Step by step, day by day, mile by mile (ooh, ooh, ooh)”

Remember warbling that song?

Was Annie LENNOX thinking Mobile Learning when she wrote these famous lyrics for the late Whitney HOUSTON, back in the 1990s? Well today, she is totally in the air (although the song may not be anymore…)

The training industry revolution is on its way! The hegemony of Generations Y and Z, on tracks, in the working place is digitalizing training practices. These generations eat, sleep, dream numerical? According to a recent study, soon will they also learn, everywhere and 24/7 thanks to their addictive smartphone, thus revolutionizing the training industry and with it the related contents structure.

First, using a portable device for learning is pretty different from reading (and yawning and leaning), in front of an old-school e-learning course screen. E-Learning is usually organized around a particular 1-shot learning topic. Mobile devices contents must be in sync with mobile devices common usage, that is, sprinkled into an employee’s working day.

Second, recurring, bite-size pieces of information are more manageable and easier to remember, says…. I, in a previous article published on our Blog 🙂 (Memocard: get smarter while having fun).

The pursuit of a fun-tastic learning experience is Teach on Mars daily involvement! Gamify, fight against forgetting curves, offer personalized training program, and much more…! It all comes with a chunked content!

“A diamond is a chunk of coal that did well under pressure” (Henry Kissinger), so how to turn a content into a learning diamond chunk?

Have a look at these hints!

  1. Storyboard your content: It’s an easy way to plan out your chunks of information before you start designing. It gives you a visual of what will be on each screen, showing you the overall organization and result of your chunking.
  2. Content chunking accommodates working memory: working memory is the active part of your memory system. You are processing coming in information at the same time as you store it. ”Keep this in mind as you’re chunking content—if you present too much information at once, your learners won’t remember it”
  3. Build on your learners’ knowledge: Content chunking induces prioritizing learning information. Think about learners’ increasing knowledge helps organizing chunks of content logically. Plus, learners won’t get lost from a course that skips around or jumps ahead!
  4. Play up on bullets: Bullet points are simple and organized. They make content chunking easy—for you, the author, and for your learners, encouraging them to focus on the content.
  5. Chunk it right: It’s like stopping to read a story in the middle of a chapter, it makes it tougher to summarize it! Make sure to chunk a content in-between two different topics and jog learners’ memory!

What is your chunking experience? What about sharing your best practices with us?

Fancy another song on content chunking?