Saturday, June 26, 2010

What I Would Like to Say About HTML5 and Flash

There has been plenty of buzz about HTML5 and it being a "Flash killer." I think HTML5 has great potential and will be a welcomed improvement to the web, but it is still in its infancy and does not show any signs of being able to compete with Flash anytime time soon. I think some of the confusion comes from the fact that it currently has the ability of embedding video and audio, which makes it a viable alternative regarding those commonly used features. However, if you have looked at animation and interactivity in HTML5 it does not compete with Flash at all. Here are some examples and another, which support my argument. FYI: My intent is not to demean these examples. They are good considering what the creators had to work with, a working DRAFT of HTML5 and are a sign of better things in the years to come. So, will HTML5 compete with Flash in the future, maybe but keep in mind it has a very steep climb and Flash will not be standing still waiting. I do think HTML5's edge will be that Flash is not on all mobile devices including the iPhone and its larger version, the iPad. I also think the appearance of the iPad has greatly increased the buzz on HTML5 and may boost its demand.

Something that has also been confusing is its availability. Yes, a working draft is available today and browsers are starting to support it. However, the W3C candidate recommendation stage is expected in 2012 and will reach W3C recommendation in 2022, possibly later. No, that is not a typo, it does say 2022. See more on the estimated timeline here and also here. We will see advances and improvements over the next few years, but they will still be working drafts.

It will be very interesting in how e-learning authoring tools adopt and adapt to HTML5. I am sure many are  exploring that now. As far as web development, Dreamweaver is already offering an extension so you can start exploring it now. The video below provides information on Dreamweaver and HTML5 along with an opinion on the "HTML5 and Flash" issue.

Bottom line, don't put all your hopes in something that has yet delivered. Learn about it, keep an eye on it, even play around with the working drafts if you have the time and patience. Right now Flash is the best and most powerful tool in an e-learning developer's toolbox and HTML5's current draft can't touch it. Will that change? Maybe, maybe not, but if it does it will be quite a while before HTML5 is a true competitor for Flash. Until HTML5 offers the same level of quality as Flash I will stick with Flash and still recommend it for any e-learning developer's toolbox.

Again, here is the link to Dreamweaver's HTML5 pack. And if you have any examples of HTML5 that prove me wrong or an opinion, please add it to the comments section.

Yours truly,

A Flash user open to using HTML5 when and if it becomes a viable alternative.

Monday, June 14, 2010

What's New in Captivate 5? Twitter, That's What!

During #LrnChat it was mentioned that Captivate 5 will include integration with Twitter. I think this is good news and a good start for incorporating social media in asynchronous courses. Yes, I do think using social media tools directly for informal learning is a better option in many, if not most situations, but if a "blended" solution is needed then incorporating Twitter into Captivate is now an option. Here is Adobe's description from their new features page:

In-context learner collaboration via Twitter

Leverage the Twitter widget from Adobe to create courses that let learners collaborate with one another as well as the author by just logging into their Twitter account. They can ask questions, get answers, and access pre-existing discussions.  -

Another new feature that catches my eye is hosting, tracking and reporting integration through

Hosting and collaboration via

Host published or in-progress eLearning projects on, an Adobe CS Live online service, and share them with learners and reviewers, who can access them from virtually anywhere. -

Tracking and reporting

Satisfy basic evaluation needs at no extra cost by tracking and reporting key performance metrics, such as average score and pass or fail rates, without having to invest in a Learning Management System. -

Keep in mind it is not nearly as robust as what you will get from loading the course to your LMS, but it may work for those without an LMS and limited reporting needs.

You can read about other top new features along with some video previews here.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Looking for THE SCORM Resource?

Yesterday I attended a SCORM webinar provided by Advance Distributed Learning (ADL). If you do not know the ADL, they are a part of the U.S. Department of Defense and are the producers of SCORM. At the conclusion of the webinar they gave a tour of some of the available resources on their site. These include SCORM documentation, past webinar slides, and content examples, including the files from a Flash example. which you will find listed as "Plug-In Technologies Content Example." They also provide a test suite. FYI: All of the above are free to download.

If you are working with SCORM on any level, is a great "go-to" resource. For additional SCORM resources, I have collected more at

Do you have any great SCORM resources? Please share in the comments section, thanks.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Development Tools I Would Learn If I Were You - June's Big Question

June's Big Question over at the Learning Circuits blog is regarding tools one should "...learn today in order to be a valuable eLearning professional in 2015."

So you know my perspective, since my start in e-learning I have always been both a designer and developer. Although my degree is in instructional design I have worked in corporate training departments where I am responsible for both. This is not unusual in corporate environments, especially among small to mid-size companies. In my instructional design graduate program, UMBC, I took several courses that focused on development, but they really only scratched the surface. They provided just enough to make us dangerous with HTML, Flash, Photoshop and Authorware. Most of which gave me a good baseline for further developing my e-learning development skills. No, I do not use Authorware now, but it is hard to predict what will be an essential tool 10 years down the road. Five years is tough to predict too, but I will attempt it anyway.

A pertinent point is that you can learn any number of development tools, but when you get to a new position your employer may have tools already available that they prefer you use or they may have you determine what tools to use. I have experienced both situations. One thing you can count on, if they already have an LMS you are stuck with it unless they already had plans to change the LMS and you are the sucker, I mean expert, who is to select and implement a new one.

So back to the big question, I would recommend the following types of tools, and examples where appropriate, that you  should "...learn today in order to be a valuable eLearning professional in 2015."

Social/informal learning: Microblogging (e.g. Yammer or Twitter), blogs, social bookmarking (e.g. Delicious), virtual worlds (e.g. Second Life).

Games: We are already seeing more and more games in e-learning and I think that will increase even more in the next five years. For me, I use Flash to develop games, but whether it is Flash or other game development tools get to know how to use them.

Learning Management System (LMS): I would get familiar with the features of an LMS, how they function,  how companies' use them and where they are going. I believe they will still be very present in corporate training in 2015, but will integrate more informal learning tools along with mobile learning, virtual worlds and alternative reality games (ARG).

SCORM: Learn at least the basics of SCORM including how to make basic edits to a SCORM manifest. Because the LMS will still be present in corporate training, like it or not, SCORM will still be very needed in 2015.

Graphics editing: There is a good chance you will need to create and/or edit graphics for your courses (e.g. Photoshop or Fireworks). If you are lucky enough to have a graphic artist on staff, it is still good to know the basics and be able to "speak their language."

e-Learning web-based training (WBT) development tool: This will most likely be your "go to" tool for developing asynchronous online courses and/or assessments (OutStart Trainer, Articulate, ToolBook, etc., etc., etc.,). Keep in mind some may be DHTML output, others create Flash SWFs. By 2015, I am sure many will create HTML5 files too.

Flash: Yes, Flash is still very much alive and well in e-learning and because it is so embedded in our industry and there is nothing at this time that can provide the rich interactive elements that it provides, I do not see it being "dead" in our field anytime soon. The fact is HTML5 is not there yet and if it ever does get there it will probably be more than 5 years before it is at the level of quality and ease of development that Flash currently provides. However, see my comments under HTML/HTML5.

HTML/HTML5: Learning HTML will come in very handy, especially if your WBT tool creates DHTML files, which you may need to edit at times. As far as HTML5, it is not officially released yet nor is at a point where it can be used to create the level of interactive content you should expect in e-learning courses. However, years from now it may be much more practical and creating HTML5 content will probably be best done via Adobe Dreamweaver. So, learn Dreamweaver now and as HTML5 emerges keep up to date with how to use Dreamweaver to create HTML5 content.

Here are few resources for learning more about e-learning tools and how to developing your skills in using them:

  • eLearningLearning, which aggregates many useful e-learning blogs including many discussions on development tools.

  • Social bookmarks is always a great way to find useful resources. Here are some of my bookmarks  - development_toolscloud, gamesflash_tutorial, SCORM, HTMLHTML5.

  • Learning Tools Zone (C4LPT) has a very expansive list of learning tools.

  • Once you determine the tools you want to use, search out the application's development center and blogs that focus on the tool. For example, the  Captivate blog or their development center, Articulate's Rapid eLearning Blog and Word of Mouth Blog, etc.

  • Try the tools that interest you. Many tools have trial periods or are free. Give them a try along with any tutorials available.

  • The best resource is talk to people in the field who are developing e-learning. Ask them about the tools they use, how they use each, their recommendations on getting started with the tools and what they think with be valuable to you in 2015.