Archive for Mobile

What Is the Impact of mLearning on Training?

mLearning is undeniably changing the landscape of current and future education; a determined force driving forward despite leaving many designers in its wake. Adapting your design to reflect the technological and cultural growth of education is a necessity in an industry that does and SHOULD evolve rapidly to reflect the changing times.

The first step to create great mLearning is to fully comprehend its impact on training. Let’s take a brief look at mLearning’s influence on 3 broad stages that cover the lifespan of any training initiative: development, delivery and learner consumption.

Development – How mLearning influences education design:

An mLearning module that tries to function like an eLearning module will undoubtedly result in a poor learning experience. Mobile learning requires an elegant and simple design to operate and account for proportionate selectable areas and easy to navigate interfaces. Learning modules should be succinct and easy to resume as mobile devices are used frequently throughout the day, but for brief periods. mLearning design should also consider size of touch targets; placement of navigation controls (so they align with how we hold mobile devices); touch gestures; simplicity; and the amount of content per screen. An effective mLearning course maximizes efficiency with smaller segments of information for the learner to consume at their own pace and leisure. The content is presented in a concise manner on an interface that loads quickly and is easily navigated with a mobile device.

Delivery – How mLearning changes the way education is distributed:

With an incredible variation among mobile devices, from size to operating system, an understanding of mobile education in terms of its technologies and hardware is essential for development purposes. Many learning departments have focused on tablets as a sort of middle ground for formal instruction in a structured travel setting, while smartphones act as medium to encourage best practice in informal learning in a truly mobile environment. In addition, mobile devices are packed with features and hardware allowing an mLearning product to be highly effective in a contextual setting. It enables quick communication with others, the ability to upload information, use of geo-location for place-specific guidance, as well as creating and sharing content including photos, audio, video, calling and text.

Consumption – How mLearning impacts the context of education:

Perhaps mLearning’s most significant contribution is to the learners themselves. Accessing training on a mobile device allows learners to participate without the restrictions of time and space or the requirement of having to sit in front of a computer for a specified amount of material. mLearning has the potential to dramatically influence when and where people are learning; it is meant to facilitate learning on the go, maximizing flexibility and accessibility. Mobile learners can engage in education virtually anywhere at anytime, and as such, open the door to a learning environment where interactivity thrives and learning challenges can occur while on location and in context.

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The need to adapt content to a variety of electronic devices can easily be traced back to the concerted effort for ‘mobile-compatible websites’… There is even a top-level domain established with the vision of everyone having a “.mobi” version of their website available for folks who were visiting via their handheld devices. Fortunately, CSS advances continued to enable more fluid layouts so sites could adapt to the visiting device without having to shunt them to a different URL.

While there ultimately may evolve no distinction between ‘eLearning’ and ‘mLearning’, both terms will remain until online training content is designed to be responsive to the device – a concept more commonly referred to as ‘Responsive eLearning Design’ or RED – as adapted from the better known ‘RWD’ concept (Responsive Web Design). Ideally, ‘eLearning’ should be the only term we need to cover all forms of online training.

The (forced) move to HTML5 as a primary tool in eLearning development opens a few doors – one of which being the establishment of CSS and the concept of ‘separate content from design’. Now instead of trying to access an eLearning course designed for a desktop screen by pinching, swiping, and scrolling on a mobile phone, the entire structure of the course can adapt and allow for more natural access (and that’s not to say that wasn’t possible with Flash, it’s just a longer-established principle with HTML).

And that’s also not to imply that adaptive/responsive design is the only component of ‘mLearning’ – certainly not. Being a completely different device, different functionality is possible. It’ll take a bit more work between the mobile-OS developers and the W3C, but someday having access to, say, a phone’s GPS or camera through HTML5 will allow a course to adapt its available features as well as its overall design to the device. Until then, creating an ‘App’ version of your courseware is the only option for accessing device-specific features…which is a valid option…but gets into difficulties of distribution and compatibility. Overall, developing a single product which adapts to the device is almost always the most elegant and cost-effective approach.

That aside, it’s not that developing for mobile devices is more expensive or complex; it just requires different design principles to be applied. The biggest impediment to Responsive eLearning Design is the authoring tool – very few offer any sort of adaptive design capabilities and those that do are pretty limited.

More and more of our customers are requesting their custom courseware be mobile-compatible but often that means ‘will work with iPads and other tablets’ instead of a true, globally-mobile solution. With the resolution and capabilities of tablets, the customer then likely does not need the additional effort of responsive design…which allows for greater toolset options and lower costs.
However, where true mobile-compliance is required, and thus a solid ‘RED’ approach to allow optimal product development, we often turn to our custom HTML-based framework.

When eLearning tools were starting out and their features were limited, we created a much more efficient and flexible SCORM-compliant, Flash-based framework for custom projects. With the advent of mobile and a preferred HTML approach, we’ve rewritten this ‘shell code’ for pure HTML output. So where an off-the-shelf authoring tool may be the best solution for some projects, our ‘HTML Shell’ provides the ultimate flexibility when designing for adaptive courseware. The next step on our plate is integrating TinCan (xAPI) features into the framework. Stay tuned!

Footnote: yes, there are technical differences between ‘responsive’ and ‘adaptive’ design approaches – but the essential goal is the same. Regardless of the technology and approach you use, the now age-old concept of ‘write once, run anywhere’ must take into consideration responsive/adaptive design for truly effective eLearning courseware.

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Guest Post: m-Learning with Mobile Devices

Monday, May 20th, 2013

E-learning can provide individuals a classroom experience even in their absence. Many people nowadays attend their classes or lectures from a distance, whether at home or from work, through e-learning. In fact, e-learning  can enhance the entire learning process since one only needs to have access to the  internet in order to, in turn, have access to the learning content usually provided from a classroom. Natural growth has then provided us with m-learning, which improves efficiency and access in terms of portability and flexibility. Technically, with e-learning, one may only have access to learning content through a personal computer fixed at one place. M-learning is a term used to describe the enhancement of e-learning, providing the learning experience via portable platforms. M-learning generally implies devices such as mobile phones and tablets.

Mobile Learning

Mobile devices have transformed the entire learning experience. For instance, one can listen to recordings, such as webinars or distance-learning lesson, on their mobile phone. Learning materials can also be accessed on the internet via tablets, notebooks and handheld computers. As long as one has internet connection to his/her phone, tablet or notebook, accessing information is quite easy and usually fast, and can be done from anywhere at any time. Smart phones and tablets like the iPad, Galaxy Tab, Toshiba Excite, iDeos and more are examples of devices used for m-learning.

Mobile Devices

Smart phones offer mobile learning on a number of fronts, some of which are not present on other common mobile devices. Mobile learning on smart phones can feature short videos that one can watch on the move. They may also include interactive applications, which utilize the common functions like quizzes and assessments. M-learning on iPhones or similar smart phones can offer advice relating to any learning project in just a few minutes. An interesting dichotomy is a “smart phone” is generally a step-up from a “feature phone” in capabilities and features but the m-Learning content is generally a step down in complexity due to the size of the screen.

Many colleges and educators are resorting to the use of smart devices in learning as smart phones and the advent of the ‘App’ provide a number of learning tools to enhance the entire learning process. Some of these applications include Planets, TED, Simplex Spelling HD, Pocket MBA and Mindmeister. The TED app updates the user with information on the latest inventions and advancements in the world of technology. Simplex Spelling HD is on the other hand, is an app that enables both kids and adults to write and spell words well. The Mindmeister is also another interesting app on iPhones that teaches the users how to conduct mind mapping sessions in order to enhance their learning ability and increase their learning speed.

Increasing Popularity

The use of iPhones and similar smart phones is increasingly growing in popularity as technological advancements keep expanding. Many organizations are adopting this technology to incorporate the use of short videos and documents meant to guide and educate employees. A mobile learning experience with an iPhone can be accompanied by audio, video, and interactive components – just like e-learning provides on the desktop. Additionally, smart phone models continue to improve in feature set, connectivity options and speed, and responsiveness.

Different people and cultures have unique and different ways of learning, and mobile learning has now ventured out as a new learning option. Mobile/micro-learning stands out for its incredible flexibility in accessing information ‘any time, anywhere’. However, a major reason why m-learning is growing in terms of popularity is its ability to work well with device technologies. For instance, a mobile phone comes with features like cameras and GPS that are useful to an organization; and at the same time are capable of integrating with other learning programs. With situations whereby we have some remote areas, especially in the developing countries with limited access to electricity and the internet, mobile learning becomes a highly essential tool.

About the Author

Diana Wicks holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the London School of Economics. She also holds a Master’s in Business Administration from the same institution. While she isn’t contributing to online education resources such as DegreeJungle, Wicks works as a writer at Demand Studios.

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Having now developed a few projects with Captivate 6 and delivered that ‘bespoke’ courseware in both desktop and mobile-compatible formats, here are a few notes and findings on Captivate’s mobile support…

CP6 HTML Tracker

First, the ‘HTML Tracker’ is very helpful! Opening that option (Window > HTML5 Tracker) provides a nice overview of any unsupported items in your entire project. Clicking an entry even takes you to the related slide in the Filmstrip pane. If you open the tracker and don’t see any results, don’t immediately assume everything is copasetic…if a Master or Question Pool slide is selected, the tracker may not show any results despite there potentially being incompatibilities; be sure a ‘content’ slide is selected when the tracker is launched.

There are a few HTML5 notes in this ‘Top Issues’ document from Adobe, such as HTML5 content not launching if there are apostrophe’s in variable values, but these seem pretty tame compared to many of the other issues reported and questioned in the forums.

Some of those reports are issues with playback on a variety of LMS products – including Moodle and SuccessFactors. The latter issue is addressed in the above ‘Top Issues’ document (though not HTML5-specific). Other issues seem to be related to requirements that playback via IE 9 requires the browser to be in ‘standards’ mode, not ‘quirks’ mode, which makes sense for the HTML5 standard and compatibility itself…but how many folks are trying to launch HTML5 project files using IE9? In those situations, wouldn’t it be better to have the SWF version available as well?

When you publish the project, note the newer “Advanced Options” at the bottom-right. Forcing re-publishing can help when you’ve made some significant changes but your previews or published files don’t seem to be true to those changes…

And the ‘Scalable HTML content’ is great, assuming your project design considers it, for ensuring the published project takes advantage of all the tablet screen space. We’ve found this particularly helpful on the iPad browser (though somewhat ‘tiny’ on mobile phones).

Adobe has an additional document with several pointers for publishing to HTML5, including supported and unsupported features. Here are a few highlights;

· HTML5 output is supported only on iPads with OS version 5.1 or later.
  (we sure hope to see Android and Windows 8 added soon)
· HTML5 output is supported only on the following browsers:
 – Internet Explorer 9 or later
 – Safari 5.1 or later
 – Google Chrome 17 or later
   (we sure hope to see Firefox, at least, added to that list)
· Unsupported objects in HTML5 output
 – Text and SWF animations (only the first frame is visible)
 — Exception – typing text is supported
 – Caption, image, slidelet rollovers
 — Exception – button hover states are supported
 – Mouse click animations (only one default click effect is supported)
 – Question pools, Likert, random, matching, and FIB question slides
   (though the ‘subscription only’ update supports some of those now)
 – Slide transitions
 – Slide background if a SWF file is used
 – Audio attached to invisible objects
 – Mouse right-click and double-click

And one significant advantage of Captivate, the possibility and availability of third-party widgets, is also still in flux as providers decide whether to update their widgets to the new CP6 API…and seek assurances of some stability so they don’t have to undertake such drastic updates for every new version of Captivate. So look carefully to see if your favorite widgets have been updated to work in HTML5 output as well as SWF output.

Quick tip: when creating your slides, leave some ‘breathing room’ on either side of the timeline; don’t have your assets bumped up against the start or end points. Give Captivate at least a half-second to start into the assets after the slide starts, and another half to ‘unload’ things at the end (this especially applies to audio and video).

Finally, as noted a few months ago, be sure to apply the ‘available’ patch to 6.0.1. Note there is also a newer patch, but it’s only available to ASA subscribers or those who are working with a Creative Cloud versions of Captivate or eLearning Suite 6. (update: Captivate/eLearning Suite ‘subscriptions’ really aren’t a part of the Creative Cloud offerings – there’s no integration between the two yet. The subscription model is really more just a matter of payment, though it does then allow these newer updates.)

Should you run into any difficulty with your Captivate projects, certainly drop us a line! Captivate is a solid product but sometimes getting the perfect performance and results takes an expert touch…

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HTML5, Support, Browsers, and Mobile

Monday, December 17th, 2012

Today’s news, just in time for the new year, is the HTML5 specification has been finalized.

“W3C published today the complete definition of the HTML5 and Canvas 2D specifications. Though not yet W3C standards, these specifications are now feature complete, meaning businesses and developers have a stable target for implementation and planning.”

Per that quote, this is a great step forward, but does not mean HTML5 content is ready for broad consumption. With the specification finalized (if it is truly ‘finalized’, revisions are inevitable), now it’s up to the browser and tool developers to fully support the spec. Per the press release,

“However, the same survey shows that ‘browser fragmentation’ remains an important developer concern, as it increases the cost and complexity of using a technology.”

To address this concern, the next challenge for the W3C is “devoted to interoperability and testing”, which simply means they will continue to encourage and test browser and tool releases against the spec, likely refining test environments and whatever other consultation and encouragement they can provide. However, note that the whole ‘HTML5 world’ also requires support of new iterations of the JavaScript and CSS specifications, which are actually separate standards.

Regardless, some tool providers are enthused! Sencha provides a development framework for HTML5 applications and is now sponsoring an ‘HTML5 is Ready’ contest for developers who re-create default native apps (i.e. Calendars, Weather, Stocks) as web applications using the HTML5 and Sencha framework.

In the eLearning world, this puts more pressure on authoring tool providers like Adobe (Captivate) and Articulate (Storyline) to more-quickly improve their HTML5 publishing. That’s a good thing too.

But the real pressure needs to be put on the browser developers (Firefox, Microsoft, Apple, Opera, etc.) to full integrate these features into their upcoming releases. All these browsers have issues with proper HTML5 rendering, especially with Video.

A quick test of the latest Firefox (v.17) using the ‘HTML5 Test’ website shows no support for subtitling and still no support for MP4/h.264, which is certainly the most popular video format/codec today. The total score is “388 out of 500”.

Microsoft’s IE 9, running under Windows 7, scores a measly 138 out of 500. At least it supports h.264…

Now those are ‘desktop’ browsers, so who really cares how HTML5-supporty they are? What matters is mobile browsers…and that’s true enough…but the point is to illustrate just how far browsers, and related tools, still have to go to bring HTML5 to the masses.

For example, Facebook recently changed over their Android App to completely ‘native’ code instead of trying to wrap their HTML5 code, resulting in the declaration that “Facebook’s HTML5 app nightmare is over.” Whether that’s true, we’ll see! Facebook itself is certainly not abandoning HTML5 entirely,

“Facebook’s mobile site will still run on HTML5. It will also continue pushing for better HTML5 standards from mobile browser vendors in hopes it can one day do more with the protocol.”

This is just one example of how HTML5 is not the mobile panacea so many seem to expect – at least, not yet. Everything now largely depends on the tool makers to get their products current…which means not only HTML5 support alone, but JavaScript and CSS support as well.

A final concern for this post is just how robust and demanding these fully-compliant browsers and tools will be. It’ll be nice to not have to go find and install a plugin (i.e. Flash) when the media is encountered the first time, because support for that media will be built-into the browser (audio, video, animation, etc.). But we wonder just how large these browsers are going to be with all that additional code…and how much of the system’s resources are they going to demand? Apple’s assertions that Flash was too resource-intensive for their mobile devices may have had its truths, but are browsers with all this additional codebase going to be any less demanding?

And when a plugin crashes (i.e. Flash) modern browsers can isolate that crash so the whole browser doesn’t come crashing down with it. Will that also happen with these fully-compliant HTML5 browsers? Or when a crash inevitably happens, is the whole application going to come tumbling down?

We’ll see what happens in 2013!

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Adobe has confirmed the mobile Flash Player will be pulled from the Google Play store on August 15th. This means Android devices without the Flash Player will no longer have access to it. If you want Flash for your Android-based mobile device browsers, get it now!

In a press release, Adobe says,
“Devices that do not have Flash Player already installed are increasingly likely to be incompatible with Flash Player and will no longer be able to install it from the Google Play Store after August 15th.”

As Android ‘Jelly Bean’ (4.1) continues its rollout, the Flash web player is losing its compatibility. That doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t work at all, but functionality will no longer be supported. Again from Adobe,
“If a device is upgraded from Android 4.0 to Android 4.1, the current version of Flash Player may exhibit unpredictable behavior, as it is not certified for use with Android 4.1.  Future updates to Flash Player will not work.  We recommend uninstalling Flash Player on devices which have been upgraded to Android 4.1.”

Once you have that software, it might be worth making a backup of the .apk file, because if you need to restore your device after August 15th, Flash Player will be hard to find! If you retain the installer file and have a ‘Jelly Bean Device’, there are hackish solutions if you REALLY want Flash on these newer devices – check out these Flash sideload options (via Droiddog).

And that doesn’t necessarily mean supported Flash solutions for mobile are completely gone. OEMs do have the option of working directly with Adobe to have a device-specific, certified Flash player pre-installed for their particular device. In the past, Blackberry was reported to have been one such vendor…though with their recent troubles, who knows if that’s still a pursued strategy. Here’s a list of current ‘certified’ devices. It’ll be interesting to see if that list grows, or is even maintained.

Also, Adobe appears committed to AIR for mobile (see: Build a Mobile App in Five Minutes), which is essentially a ‘wrapping’ process for creating a mobile app. Instead of relying on the device to have the Flash web player installed, the mobile player can be bundled with the application itself. Adobe AIR projects can be built using Flash or Flex (now an open source framework), and HTML/JS code can be integrated within those projects as well.

And, of course, Adobe’s continued support of HTML5 authoring continues to grow (see Dreamweaver/PhoneGap, Captivate, Flash, Flex, Edge, etc).

So while Flash for mobile browsers will be cut-off soon, Flash remains a viable tool for authoring and delivering mobile content, including ‘mLearning’, via AIR. As the Tin Can extension to SCORM becomes more fully rounded and supported, there remains a lot of potential for Flash-based mLearning applications. Our Inquisiq R3 LMS will be integrating Tin Can support sometime by Q1 2013.

(edit: Adobe and NBC used AIR to create the iOS and Android apps for this years Olympics. Pretty cool!)

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Flash Stage 3D/Molehill in Action

Monday, May 14th, 2012

While it may be focusing on alternative tools for mobile delivery, Adobe continues to demonstrate its commitment to the Flash platform – most recently with the continued refinement Flash ‘Stage 3D’API (which we’vediscussedbefore). Also as we’ve discussed, it is possible to develop with Flash and publish to an AIR-based ‘App’ which will work on both iOS and Android devices…and this remains true with the Stage 3D feature.

Now, how well a Flash-based Stage 3D app will run on a mobile device, which tend to be less-powerful (CPU/RAM) than desktops and laptops, well, that’s on our R&D list to determine.

On the way there, however, we’ve developed a fun ‘proof of concept’ piece demonstrating how to work a forklift in a virtual warehouse. Check out this pretty cool, Flash 3D-based, demonstration!

While it’ll work with older, lower-end machines, you must at least have a recent version of Flash Player 11 installed with your preferred browser. And to really get the full 3D effect, you should have a relatively recent video card (the demo will alert you if your video card is not supported). But even with an older machine, you can still play the game and get a good sense of where eLearning can go.

Plans are to take this a bit further, making it perhaps more of a game with various goals, scores, rewards, and perhaps a bit of humor and gore…But for now, it’s a pretty fun piece to demonstration how new technologies are making immersive training applications possible with a reduced cost and timeline.

Check out that 3D training demo and let us know what you think. Did it work well for you on your desktop? We’re working on a conversion to a mobile app…

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eLearning vs mLearning

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Terminology for computer-assisted training has gone through several revisions and variations on the terms are still widely varied. Historically, there have been two components to the terminology:

eLearning Terminology Cloud

  • Variations on the adjective: computer, web, internet, technology, distributed
  • Variations on the subject: training, learning, education, instruction

Combine those two parts together into whatever term you prefer to describe such computer-assisted instructional courseware! However, the most sustained recent trend has been “eLearning” and is one we think is apt and, at least, desirable in brevity.

As mobile devices become more capable, especially as mobile devices like tablets (iPad != all tablets) become more accepted and widely used, the initial challenge was seen as converting existing eLearning applications to work on those mobile devices, resulting in ‘mobile learning’, or “mLearning”.

However, there are substantial differences with those devices, including their connectivity, their size, and how they are used in general. After some false-starts, it is now understood mobile users do not expect to sit through a half-hour lesson on their device…especially as, being mobile, they may not have a reliable internet connection for that long.

So mLearning is starting to diverge from eLearning not only in specific meaning, but in approach and design as well. Mobile devices are packed with features and mLearning offers opportunities to provide offline ‘App’-like content that can access the range hardware, like GPS features and camera options. In sum, mLearning can be considered much more effective in a contextual setting.

For example, students on a field trip could use a guide App to snap pictures of a flower to learn more about it and how such vegetation thrives in the surrounding geographic region.
Whereas an eLearning piece may be better suited for pre-trip introductory and preparatory information, and for post-trip knowledge review and interactive assessments…perhaps even referencing the data the student collected on the trip!

mLearning can certainly be a converted eLearning piece – there’s nothing in these terms that requires specific functionality…but in your training initiatives, consider the advantages of each platform – the workstation vs. the mobile device – and understand how educational material is best suited for the strengths and uses of each platform.

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Inquisiq LMS: Mobile Compatibility!

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Due to rise in popularity or mobile access and devices, and subsequent requests from our customers, we have made Inquisiq R3 compatible with mobile devices!
This feature has been in the works for some time and is now ready for public release. Just goes to show- you ask, and we listen!

Inquisiq R3 SaaS accounts will be updated to the latest version this Sunday, April 8th – between 12:00 am and 4:00 am EST. The system will be unavailable for approximately 30 minutes during this upgrade process.

New Features for version 2.12.0405 include:

  • Added functionality to make Inquisiq R3 mobile compatible. This feature includes the addition of an interface specifically designed for mobile users, as well as enhancements to the Inquisiq R3 SCORM API to support iOS version 4 – current, and Android version 2.1 – current.
  • Added the ability to view logs for email notifications and report subscriptions. Additionally, any email notifications that have failed to send can be triggered to be re-sent.

For more complete details please check our support site for the release notes (coming soon).

*Please note that this upgrade will only effect Inquisiq R3 SaaS accounts. If you would like to upgrade your Inquisiq Installed solution (whether you host it or we host it for you), please contact our technical support to make arrangements.

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As has been apparent for a couple years now, ‘mobile devices’ are finally entering a level of media maturity. Apple deserves a large part of the credit when it comes to pushing innovation into the wild. The iPhone pushed Google to commit to Android and forced Microsoft and other players to either improve their products or get out of the game. Apple did the same with the iPad, finally delivering a ‘handy’ portable device with the power of a desktop, and once again pushed the competition to either join in or cede the market.

While the preferred use of these mobile devices varies, they certainly have a growing role in eLearning…or more aptly termed, by default, to mLearning. However, with the variation among mobile devices, from size to operating system, there are a lot more factors to account for in mLearning development.

There are essentially two ways to deliver content to mobile devices – HTML or ‘Apps’. Apps have a few more barriers, from complexity to distribution…thus HTML (via a browser) is generally a preferred delivery method for learning courseware, especially with the current state and requirements of SCORM (though the TinCan project may change that).

For good or bad, HTML5 has all the ‘buzz’…but it has a way to go to deliver on the hype and promise. As of last year, the defined HTML5 specification is due to be delivered by the end of 2014, so a mere two years away. “Only” two years? Does that mean that HTML5 tools and deliverables are at a standstill until then?

Not a chance.

Despite the W3C delivering a spec by 2014, that will be just the first official version. But a ‘final’ specification may not be out until 2022! The web just won’t wait that long…

ABI Research predicts “2.1 Billion HTML5 Browsers on Mobile Devices by 2016”. Says Mark Beccue, “We expect HTML5 features in categories such as graphics, multimedia, user interactions, data storage, and others to be widely adopted sooner rather than later. A significant number of HTML5 features will be adopted in the mass market in the next three to five years.”

So despite the two to five year wait for a more refined spec and greater adoption, we’re seeing tools and requirements for HTML5 being pushed broadly now. There will remain some pain and mitigation to those expectations however, while the various web browser vendors work to implement the capabilities. Per our previous article, “Thoughts on Flash, HTML5, and video”, video is just one contentious aspect of browser growth and capabilities.

Tools like RapidIntake’s Unison, Trivantis’ Lectora, and the fabled Articulate Storyline promise to deliver to both the desktop and mobile devices, and do so via ‘HTML5’. How is that possible when the spec isn’t near completion and browser support is inconsistent? Well, because those tools probably don’t really publish content in ‘pure’ HTML5. However, good old HTML4 plus a little javascript, frameworks like JQuery, and fun ‘AJAX’ implementations, can well compensate where HTML5 cannot yet deliver. Such approaches still pale in comparison to the richness of a custom Flash experience but progress is being made! And certainly such approaches and tools can offer a solid eLearning, or mLearning, experience.

So the HTML5 specification continues to plod forward, tools continue to advance via whatever method they can to improve the development and delivery experience, and browsers continue to debate and integrate the features they feel most refined and useful.

As Learning Developers, our challenge has grown to not only design solid, effective courseware, but also to now design and develop a functional approach to deliver the courseware to a variety of devices. For some projects, Flash remains the best solution. However, for others – especially those that need to include Apple’s iOS devices – either a hybrid Flash/HTML solution needs to be designed, or a pure HTML (and, note, that’s not ‘pure HTML5’) solution will be the solution. In many cases, the project’s design and delivery needs to be highly customized, pulling and presenting the base information and learning content in completely different ways depending on the targeted device.

Fortunately the solutions are all possible now, regardless of the maturity of the entire ecosystem (technosystem?); and the challenges those design and delivery requirements bring sure keep the projects fun! Drop us a line if your eLearning courseware needs to target multiple devices; we’re happy to help you design a flexible solution.

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