The death knell has sounded for Flash and by 2020 we should be all set to bid goodbye to this wonderful software that played a pivotal role in bringing interactivity and creativity to online learning. So, what happens to those Flash-based courses that continue to remain valuable assets in your training kit? Added to this is the fact that an increasing number of learners prefer to access e-learning courses on mobile devices of their choice. The only option is to embrace HTML5 technology to make e-learning courses responsive so that they work on multiple operating systems and multiple devices, irrespective of screen sizes and resolutions.
As training managers involved in the design and development of e-learning courses, you can have e-learning developers use an authoring tool that produces HTML5 output or write HTML5 code to develop the responsive course. Each method has its own advantages; however, there are a couple of factors where authoring tools score over the use of HTML5 code, especially in organizations where e-learning is widely used. Read on to know more.
1. Minimizes Technical Overhead
If e-learning is widely used in your organization, there is every chance that you already have an in-house team to work on rolling out training programs to various departments. With an authoring tool, it is easier to develop e-learning courses compared to coding in HTML5.
Authoring tools offer WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) interfaces that make e-learning development a breeze. Haven’t we all heard of SMEs working on designing eLearning courses? That’s become a reality, thanks to authoring tools that allow just about anyone to start using the tool to create e-learning slides.
Authoring tools such as Articulate Storyline, Lectora Inspire, and the iSpring Suite with their easy learning curves minimize the technical overhead that programming purely in HTML5 brings. Imagine the number of resources you would have to employ to write HTML5 code.
2. Cuts Down on Course Development Time and Cost
Most organizations need training programs for tomorrow, developed and delivered today. If you were to rely only on HTML5 programmers who can code, to rollout e-learning courses, you need to understand that the time taken for eLearning course development will certainly increase.
Even if you were to outsource, the timelines for development would be more compared to using an authoring tool. One of the biggest advantages offered by an authoring tool is that, it just takes a few clicks and you are all set to use the readymade templates, scenarios, and interactive elements offered by the tool.
Using an authoring tool can save your training dollars, as the time taken for course development is shortened. On the other hand, if you were to use HTML5 code, you would need people with a specific skill set to work on course development and that would naturally mean a higher expense.
3. Eases the Process of Updating Courses
You need changes made to a course that has already been rolled out? For example, updating a course to reflect a small change in the process or policy is not a complex task. With an authoring tool that’s easy to use, you can make the changes yourself or get team members or SMEs to update the responsive e-course, instead of relying on a programmer.
4. Ups the Interactivity Quotient
Both authoring tools and HTML5 code can no doubt bring the ‘WOW’ factor to an e-learning course. In fact, programming offers the scope to build highly interactive courses. But with an authoring tool, it’s easier to add interactivities with the readymade templates and image libraries that are available, not to forget the reduced cost as compared to programming in HTML5.
So, when you are looking at e-learning that is truly rapid, yet does not compromise on interactivity and learner engagement, an authoring tool is definitely indispensable.
5. Meets the Demand for SCORM-compliant Courses
Your e-learning course is expected to conform with the SCORM (Shareable Content Object Reference Model) standards so that learners’ progress can be tracked, irrespective of the mobile device that they are accessing the course from.
Authoring tools come with a built-in option to publish SCORM-compliant courses to the LMS. If you were to use only HTML5 code, it does take additional effort to write the code to make the course SCORM-compliant.
6. Makes Accessible E-learning Development Effortless
It is not easy to design accessible e-learning courses (those that adhere to Section 508 and WCAG guidelines) that give learners an engaging learning experience, regardless of their disabilities. Most authoring tools provide a way to define features such as alternative text for visual elements and synchronized captioning for learners with visual and auditory disabilities respectively.
It would require additional effort to program these functionalities using HTML5 code.
7. Provides Data Security
In case of an authoring tool, the authoring tool provider continuously monitors the security and implements fixes in case of security vulnerabilities. So, the onus of security also lies on the authoring tool service provider.
Authoring tools definitely score over plain HTML5 code when it comes to eLearning adoption on a large scale. But if there is a one-odd responsive course that involves a lot of complex customizations, perhaps you can turn to HTML5 programmers to work on e-learning course development.
With big names in authoring tool service providers such as Articulate, Lectora, and Adobe improvising their versions of tools, truly responsive e-learning is no longer a myth. And for organizations that have a treasure trove of Flash-based courses that need to be converted to HTML5 to make them responsive, authoring tools simplify the task to a great extent.