How Moving from Flash to HTML5 Will Affect Your eLearning Design

Let’s say you’ve made the decision to retire your Flash-based content and replace it with HTML5 content. What this means for you and what you should consider when doing so are detailed in other blog posts. Here we’re going to explore how some of the new capabilities in HTML5 will affect your eLearning design.

HTML5 Is Mobile and Responsive

Content developed in Flash was designed to be experienced on a desktop or laptop monitor, which meant that your canvas area would be a landscape-oriented space such as 800×600. However, HTML5 is more robust and is capable of displaying content on more devices including tablets and smartphones that run iOS and Android. You can view content on these devices in both landscape and portrait orientations on a variety of different screen sizes. HTML5 uses Responsive Design to rearrange and display the content of a webpage dynamically based on the size and orientation of the screen. This means that if you rotate a mobile device 90 degrees to the side, your content can be shown in an optimal format. However, this functionality can only happen if you develop your content so that it is responsive enabled.

Impact on eLearning

Many leading eLearning authoring tools such as Lectora and Storyline can produce and publish responsive content. Developing eLearning with this functionality often requires an additional layer of production as you consider how the content will be laid out in different screen sizes and orientations. However, the benefit of this extra work is a far better user experience and the delivery on the promise of anytime, anywhere learning via mobile devices.

Text Is Searchable

In Flash-based content, the text is not searchable. In HTML5, the text is searchable – even within certain types of graphics. The SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) format includes an element that can be searched and indexed.

Impact on eLearning

You can incorporate a text search function within your eLearning course to enhance and support the learning experience. This is particularly relevant for course material that is text heavy or includes a lot of technical terms. Learners are able to identify all instances of a key term, whether it appears in a paragraph, diagram, or illustration.

Enhanced Multimedia Support

Flash has been an excellent tool to play videos online. HTML5 can also play audio and video files (including HD), but this format can do a lot more. For example, WebRTC technology allows connecting to other people and controlling videoconference functionality directly within the web browser and without using any third-party plug-ins or applications. The Camera API allows content from the camera to be used, manipulated, and stored. The element allows subtitles and chapters to be incorporated into videos.

Impact on eLearning

Video can be incorporated into your learning experiences in more dynamic and simplified ways. For example, you can now easily incorporate a live video conference to bring in an expert, provide mentor support/coaching, or conduct office hours. You can more easily comply with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements to close caption videos. You can allow students to capture a frame of a video, annotate it, and save it. The possibilities are virtually endless.

There are many more areas in which authoring in HTML5 will affect your eLearning design including storing data offline, displaying 3D graphics, using various input/output devices, and communicating with the server in new and innovative ways. As these new feature sets become more fully developed in the future, HTML5 will continue to significantly influence what is possible in eLearning.