Until a few years ago, Adobe Flash remained the undisputed king in the online learning space, especially in e-learning course development. But not any longer, as support for Flash is expected to be completely withdrawn by most browsers by 2020.
What if your organization has already invested quite a lot of time, money, and effort in building a huge repository of e-learning courses using Flash or use components that were created using Flash? Imagine a scenario where your learners are unable to view the Flash components in your e-learning courses. Does that spell trouble for training managers?
There’s no reason to panic, as HTML5 can come to your rescue, provided you take the right steps to convert legacy courses to HTML5.
It used to create high-quality, well-rendered e-learning courses on multiple mobile devices. This is because HTML5 is compatible with most browsers. You don’t have to be an expert on HTML5, but you definitely need to know what it can do for your online training programs.
Why Use HTML5?
Most of us are aware that HTML5 is better suited to deliver mobile learning. But, what else?
- HTML5 is an open web standard, which means it is available to all software developers without any restrictions or a license, as in the case of Adobe Flash. However, in order to develop HTML-based e-learning, it makes sense to invest in licensed authoring tools that produce HTML5 output, instead of coding your entire e-learning course in HTML5.
- Unlike Flash which requires a Flash player, HTML5 does not require any additional plug-ins to display e-learning content across various browsers.
What is the Impact of HTML5-based E-learning on Learners?
Does using HTML5 to develop e-learning courses have an impact on your learners? Yes, and with good reason
1. Makes Device-Independent Learning a Reality
With e-learning courses developed using HTML5, learners are no longer restricted to accessing learning content from their desktops or laptops. Irrespective of the device used to access the e-learning course, the course content is optimized for display. Learners no longer have to deal with blurred images or heavy videos that do not play on their smartphones. So, it does not matter whether you access e-learning on your iPhone or from a tablet, HTML5 ensures the output remains consistent.
E-learning courses developed using HTML5 load faster and consume less bandwidth (and bandwidth does matter when you are accessing e-learning outside the organization). This ensures the battery life of mobile devices is not drained out simply because your learners decided to try mobile learning.
2. Beefs Up the Security of Online Learning Content
Adobe Flash is a plug-in that is used by browsers to play audio and video content in e-learning courses. This plug-in continues to run in the background on learners’ computers, making it vulnerable to security threats. According to CVE Details, a data source of security vulnerability, more than 1050 security vulnerabilities have been reported in the Flash player. Compared to that, HTML5 offers enhanced security for your learning content.
What is the Business Impact of HTML5-based E-learning?
1. Promotes a Learning Culture
When your organization has a catalog of Flash courses that are yet to be converted to HTML5, it does impact the culture of learning. With HTML5, it is possible to create responsive e-learning courses that are accessible on multiple devices. So, learners are no longer restricted by time or place to access e-learning.
Apart from the training programs that learners are required to complete as part of mandatory training requirements, there are other situations when learners look for e-learning resources. They are:
- Desire to learn (They are genuinely interested in learning, but at their own pace)
- Moment of need (When they are looking for performance support or just-in-time training)
When your e-learning courses are made available to learners in these situations, it automatically contributes to building a learning culture.
2. Offers Ways to Futureproof Learning
When you use HTML5 for e-learning, you know there are two different factors to consider, namely:
New E-learning Courses – When designing e-learning courses to serve future training needs, it is possible to use authoring tools to directly publish the course to the HTML5 format.
Existing E-learning Courses – Review the courses used currently. If you have e-learning courses developed in older versions of authoring tools, you might want to update text, or reuse the content, make changes to components such as videos or Flash animations that require a Flash player to play. This will ensure that components and interactivities in these courses continue to work even after support for Flash is withdrawn.
3. Has a Positive Effect on ROI
The best way to improve your return on investment (ROI) from training is to refurbish legacy courses. As compared to Flash-based e-learning, HTML5 has made it possible to make use of interesting strategies and techniques to deliver learning. For example, offering a microlearning module or a performance support solution that can be accessed on-demand, was impossible to think of when restricted to developing e-learning courses in Flash. This has a positive impact on the training ROI.
Be assured that opting for legacy course conversions is definitely going to be worth it, as it boosts employee productivity and offers long term benefits to the organization. What you need to think of is the type of legacy course conversion methodologies that would be required to meet the training needs of your organization. Would you be able to reuse the content and media elements in a new authoring tool to produce HTML5 output, or would you be required to redesign the entire course from scratch?