Most managers and employees never really concern themselves with the underlying language that powers an elearning course. The most important thing is whether it simply works or not. However, the expectations of where courses can be used has changed. Now it’s not simply enough for courses to be available only on a work computer while in the office.
Within the last 5 years, HTML5 has become the defacto publishing format for any mobile courses.
Background on HTML5
HTML5 is the language that powers the mobile web. While being developed and ratified over the last ten years, it never really gained much prominence until we started using mobile devices to access the web.
In 2007 when Apple introduced the iPhone, many decried its lack of support for Flash; which at the time was the way to view any complex interactions on the web. Apple had its own reasons and made a push towards more open web standards as HTML5. Flash was and still is a proprietary standard owned by Adobe.
Steadily, ever since Steve Jobs released the iPhone, with a revolutionary mobile browser that relied on the HTML standard – not supporting Adobe Flash, Flash content has begun to meet its rightful end.
As more and more employees began to use these smartphones and tablets to access their Learning Management System, the question frequently heard was “Why doesn’t this course work?”. As almost all elearning courses were Flash-based at the time, they simply wouldn’t.
Soon elearning development tools like Adobe Captivate and Articulate Storyline began to support this emerging elearning standard.
The Advantages of HTML5 for Elearning
Like Flash, HTML5 supports content that’s animated, moving, dynamic, and it does so in a way that’s easy to create using existing course development tools. This opens the doors for endless possibilities of content.
Furthermore, as course development tools become more advanced and the quality of their HTML5 output improves, it gives developers the same amount of freedom to be creative.
As all modern web browsers are capable of viewing HTML5, there is no need to worry about plugins to update or the security issues that still plague Flash to this day. To put this into perspective, every few weeks or so an update can be expected from Adobe when there is a new version of the Flash plugin. While most people can update the plugin themselves, there may be cases in the corporate world where the IT department has restricted employees from installing or updating software themselves.
Furthermore since no one “owns” HTML5, there are no licensing costs to worry about, which means there are countless tools available to help creators produce the content.
From an employee perspective, this means that they have access to elearning content where and when they need it. As a sizable number of employees carry their own internet-enabled mobile devices, they will always have access to what they need.
Managers do not need to take their employees away from their work to take the training. This saves on productivity lost from having employees leave their duties.
Flashy, not Flash
HTML5 allows content to do everything that the proprietary Adobe Flash was once known for. As the quality of the output from the development tools like Adobe Captivate and Articulate Storyline improve, there will be no noticeable difference between viewing a Flash-based course or an HTML5-based course.
Now, thanks to HTML5 the web is a place to deliver awesome and great online training courses that give employees ease and accessibility, helping keep their knowledge current and giving businesses the technological edge they need to move ahead of the pack. In the age where knowledge is constantly changing and employees are demanding to be kept up to date on the latest innovations in their field, any way you can facilitate that, will be to your advantage.