Tuesday, November 2, 2010

HTML5 and Flash: Two Ways to Create Interactivity in Mobile Learning

Most e-learning developers assume the availability of the free Flash plug-in on the learner's browser. This works fine on desktops and laptops. When you get mobile, the world changes rapidly. Some mobile devices may support Flash, others don't. The Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod are examples where your Flash elements simply won't work.

Apple proposes that you use HTML5 instead, to build rich interfaces. In another post on HTML5, I talk about its impact on web interactivity. Now, the problem with HTML5 is that not all browsers support consistently all its features. The situation is likely to remain unchanged for several months. Besides, a lot of e-learning content is already developed and optimized for Flash. How do you walk away from that investment?

Here is a solution. Develop HTML5 versions of your most commonly used interactive elements, and then code your server-side course pages to first check the browser capability and decide whether to display the Flash version, the HTML5 version or simply an image file in place of the interactive element.

You can use this technique effectively in conjunction with interactivities created using the brand-new release of Raptivity HTML5 upgrade, where each interactivity is rendered in Flash as well as HTML5. Course developed interactivity only once, Raptivity takes care of building the two versions. Check it out.