The ADL posted on the Top Ten Interesting Mobile Statistics from July 2011. In their research they discovered these two statistics that I wish to highlight:

  • Consumer time on mobile apps surpasses time on Web. (Flurry)
  • 2.1bn HTML5 browsers will be on mobile devices by 2016. (ABI Research)

What does this mean for eLearning? It means our audience is untethered from the typical desktop or laptop and that most users want information and learning at their fingertips. This means that when developing eLearning content and assessments, we need to look to the future and pay attention to the technology we are using to publish this content and assessment.

I’m already a big proponent of SCORM – Shareble Content Object Reference Model – standards for producing reusable content. There are also quite a few easy to use software applications out there that make creating this content relatively easy for the lay user, such as Articulate Presenter, Captivate, Lectora Publisher, and even UDUTU. However, many of these applications produce SCORM in Flash output, and therein lays the conflict.  In 2010, Adobe announced the death of Flash for the mobile platform. In my opinion, this was largely in part because of the on-going tiff between Apple and Adobe. Apple refused to support Flash on its ever-popular iOS platform, thus rendering any iPad and iPhone users in a Flash-less mobile user experience.  Instead, Apple began promoting HTML5.

Well, where does that leave those of us who love SCORM as well as have trained our user-base in being somewhat self-sufficient in Articulate and UDUTU and Captivate? Here’s your answer:

  • SCORM by design does not require Flash
  • SCORM generally makes use of HTML, XML, and JavaScript

The death of Flash for the mobile platform will NOT mean the death of SCORM. Rather, companies will seek out new ways to produce their SCORM packages using HTML5. Already, companies like DominKnow (makers of Claro) and Lectora (Online) have adopted their SCORM packager to be HTML5 compliant. Additionally, Articulate is in beta development on Storyline – an iOS compatible software for producing HTML5 compliant content (and most likely, SCORM, too). This is great news because now the content we produce will work across desktop and mobile devices – reaching our users where they are and how they want to learn.

Additional Resources:

  • For a nice outline of Flash versus HTML5 (although a wee-bit dated) see: Strengths and Weaknesses of HTML5 and Flash by Heather Thomas on the Lectora Online website.
  • For a basic HTML5 Mac software tool, try Hype (this is not a SCORM packager, just a way to build HTML5 objects).
  • For kicks, test out the Google Swiffy extension for Adobe Flash Professional CS4 to convert Flash to HTML5 (or use their converter right on the linked page if you own the content).
And for now, if you have an iPad and wish to view Flash content, try downloading and using iSwiFTER free for your iPad from the iTunes store.