ShareKnowledge Blog

What role does HTML5 really play in SharePoint e learning?

Amber Rasmussen October, 2014
SharePoint e learning and HTML5

The e learning environment is ever changing and the latest buzz word is HTML5. In fact, it’s been projected that HTML5 will play a major role in the future of the e learning industry. This stems from growing statistics demonstrating that people want to learn whenever and wherever they choose. This includes mobile phones and tablets which generally don't support Flash, a standard e learning authoring tool .

Some say HTML5 is a "Flash Killer" while others say it's a flash in the pan. In the following blog, we’ll break it down and explain what HTML5 is, why it’s important and how it effects your SharePoint e learning objectives.

Mobile learning is changing the SharePoint e learning game

There isn't any doubt that the e learning industry is evolving. Curriculum is becoming more interactive and, at the same time, an increasing number of learners are using mobile devices to access e learning courses. In fact, mobile learning is predicted to be the most disruptive game changer this year!

Consider the following:

  • There is a wider adoption of mobile learning in workplaces to improve productivity. A study by Cisco showed that 66 percent of global workers expect IT to allow usage of any device to access corporate networks.
  • A 2013 survey of mobile learners showed that 99 percent believed the mobile format and presentation enhanced their learning. Even better, 100 percent said they would complete more training in the mobile format.

So, as you can see, how learners receive information changes the way e learning professionals design, create, and deliver SharePoint e learning courses. This massive usage of mobile devices is the primary reason for the shift to HTML5 e learning authoring tools. 

Nowadays, HTML5 is being used by e learning professionals from all over the globe, thanks to its versatility and variety of features. But what is HTML5?

HTML5 is an evolution of features not language

HTML5 is a programming language that allows you to author e learning to work on the Web and mobile. However, don’t be mistaken. HTML5 is not anything brand new but rather an evolution of features, not language. The language is still the same but HTML5 introduces new features such as rich media, Web applications, forms and semantics. A good example of HTML5 is Angry Birds, one of the biggest mobile game apps of the last couple of years.

Before HTML5, Flash was the reigning king of interactive content. While Flash is still an option, many mobile devices don’t support Flash content. As the mobile learning trend gains more and more momentum, many e learning developers are looking for non-Flash ways to deliver interactive content and video on mobile devices.

Learning offline is going to be big. Bigger than BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and bigger than bite-size learning. Learning offline increases productivity and gives employees more control of their own learning. So, convenience and accessibility is a huge bonus when using HTML5 for SharePoint e learning.

How does HTML5 effect SharePoint e learning?

Trainers that have been developing SharePoint e learning courses naturally have questions about how HTML5 affects their learning and development programs.

One of the major kinks with HTML5 is that it is not supported by Internet Explorer 8. Some companies still use it due to their internal IT policy. IE9 has very limited support of HTML5. IE10 and IE11 are good enough.

Most of the time it’s up to browsers to support HTML5 content rendering, not SharePoint. If you implemented new features in HTML5 on your site, it may mean that people with legacy browsers cannot use it. So either you need to provide a workaround, or you should make sure every visitor of your content is using IE9/Firefox/Safari/Chrome/Opera, etc.

As mentioned earlier, there is a growing need in an organization to have cross browser and device support. The popularity of smart phones and tablets has boomed in recent years, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that Microsoft is aligning SharePoint with this market. The user interface is now provisioned using HTML5 and is well suited for mobile devices, and this is enhanced further by device channels allowing further customization for specific devices.

Now what about all those SharePoint e learning courses already using Flash? It depends on the requirements, but if that content is still largely to be 'consumed' on desktops, then why change anything?

Another key concern would be how your LMS works into the equation. For ShareKnowledge users, they can be assured that ShareKnowledge is compatible with HTML5. ShareKnowledge does not limit authoring tools in technology usage. The LMS only needs SCORM to bridge between the course and LMS.

Mobile e learning is here to stay. Learners want to be able to learn when they want, where they want and HTML5 breathes new life into standard HTML coding that allows for rich media experiences. And, with the right browser installed, most SharePoint e learning programs can continue on without any interruptions.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Let us know by leaving a comment below on your experience with SharePoint e learning and HTML5.

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