Adobe Flash is inarguably the most powerful tool to create e-learning courses. This highly flexible software can be used to develop stunning courses with wonderful animations, interactivities of very high quality – including drag and drop, simulations, role plays, and so on – it facilitates the harness of creative powers of the online course developer.
Despite all its power, the days of Flash are numbered. Recently, Adobe announced that it plans to cease enhancing and distributing its Flash player by 2020. The downfall of Flash is not sudden; it began 7 years ago with the announcement of one man who played a key role in transforming the ICT landscape – Steve Jobs.
In 2010, Jobs declared that Apple’s mobile operating system iOS would not play Flash-based content. This announcement had tremendous ramifications for the web-based learning world and marked the beginning of the end for Flash. The demand for mobile learning was growing by leaps and bounds, and Apple was (and continues to be) a key player in the mobile device market. Soon, other manufacturers of smartphones and tablets followed suit and closed their doors to Flash, prompting Adobe to stop the development of the mobile version of the software. A new technology was needed to fill the void, and soon it arrived in the form of radical web paradigm — HTML5.
What is HTML5?
How Does HTML5 Facilitate Development of Good E-Learning Courses?
1. Facilitates Development of Responsive Online Courses
We live in a multi-device world. Desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones are all an integral part of our lives. The CSS component of HTML5 allows you to develop a device-agnostic web-based course that can be accessed seamlessly on all devices, irrespective of the size of their screens. The possibility has opened the door for flexible, convenient training, where the learner can go through the courses whenever and wherever he wishes. Consider the following scenario.
A busy employee accesses a part of a web-based course on the desktop computer at his workplace. He goes through another part of the course while waiting at the bus station and travelling in a bus on his iPad. After he reaches home, he completes the remainder of the course on his laptop.
Companies too can benefit from responsive online learning because they can overcome the following drawbacks of developing multiple versions of the same course.
Increased Time and Expenditure
It is very expensive to develop multiple versions of the same course for different devices. Training managers find this very hard, as L&D budgets are shrinking and the pressures to make the best use of the training dollar are ever-increasing. Moreover, developing multiple courses takes considerable time, and this is not acceptable when shorter turnaround times result in improved profitability.
There is huge diversity in the size of the screens of mobile devices. Creating multiple versions of the same course, each for a specific screen size, requires considerable effort. Things get further complicated if you implement the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy in your organization. With HTML5, you can develop a single online course for all devices and thereby eliminate the problem.
Often, companies find it hard to maintain multiple versions of a course. This is because when the course needs to be updated, the content must be altered in all versions of the course. This can be time-consuming. You can effectively overcome this problem with responsive learning.
2. Enables Access to Learning Content Without Plug-ins
HTML5 helps overcome one of the major limitations of Flash-based courses – the need for plug-ins to access the e-learning content. A plug-in is a piece of software that supports a larger computer application such as Flash. If you don’t have the Flash plug-in or it’s not of the latest version, you cannot access the online learning content. You have no such issues with HTML5.
3. Provides Good Support For Scaled Vector Graphics (SVGs)
We all know that proper use of visual elements plays a key role in the development of a good online course. You can use HTML5 to develop e-learning courses containing SVGs. These graphics, unlike other types of images, are based on mathematical formulae that require very little information to be stored in the source file. This is because it is not necessary to store data for each individual pixel. Furthermore, these images are rendered effectively on screens of all sizes, providing optimal viewing experiences to learners.
4. Allows companies to unleash the power of mobile apps
In the last few years, mobile apps have become the dominant means of accessing content on smartphones and tablets. This is compelling companies to deliver their mobile learning content through these applications. You can use HTML5 to develop mobile apps that are platform independent. These apps enable learners to access mobile learning resources on any smartphone or tablet.
Flash is fast dying, and HTML5 is the best option to fill the void created by the “exit” of this once widely used e-learning authoring tool. Convert your Flash-based online learning materials into HTML5 format and give them a new lease of life.
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