Designing for informal learning: The case of a mobile eReader


instructional design, mobile learning, mobile development, design


This case describes the redesign of a mobile eReader application. The purpose of the redesign was to convert an existing eReader from a means of only reading books into a tool for informal learning. The case reports how the design team’s definition of informal learning evolved throughout the product development process, and how design decisions were influenced by this changing definition. Over the period of time covered in the case, the eReader evolved from a tool used for reading eBooks, into one meant for personal study, and then into a product that supported serendipitous discovery of inspiring material (built under a philosophy that informal learning meant that people were able to discover interesting and uplifting material without exerting effort to find it). The end point of the eReader’s evolution was as a subscription service for the company’s eBooks and digital audiobooks, to allow customers to continually use them for educational purposes. This case is structured around the four iterations of the eReader design process. Each iteration reports how design decisions were made and what kind of results were achieved.

Original Publication Citation

McDonald, J. K. (2019). Designing for informal learning: The case of a mobile eReader. International Journal of Designs for Learning, 10(1), 91-102.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


International Journal of Designs for Learning




David O. McKay School of Education


Instructional Psychology and Technology

University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor