Do you need to start commissioning eLearning, but your research is proving complicated? eLearning companies will use industry lingo to describe their services, and if you’re not familiar with it, it can feel like a minefield.
You may have read about HTML5, SCORM, Multi-device compatibility, Responsive design and authoring tools, but knowing whether or not you need them is another question.
That’s why we created this handy FAQ guide to eLearning technical aspects – clearing up any uncertainty you may have and making it easier for you to commission your eLearning.
- Why is HTML5 important in eLearning?
A few years ago almost all eLearning (and websites) were built in Flash, which is software to create nice slick animations and transitions amongst other things. With the introduction of Apple products into organisations, and consumers using Apple devices to access content, all web/eLearning developers and software developers had to rethink their strategy. As you may know iPads, iPhones etc. will not allow any Flash assets to run. The older HTML language could not produce such smooth and creative animations etc., and with Flash no longer an option something new and improved was needed. This is where HTML5 came in and why you will hear everyone asking if the eLearning is built or output as ‘HTML5’. Simply put – it means the content can be viewed on multiple devices and can still have the creative design features you’re looking for.
- What is SCORM?
Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) is a collection of standards and specifications for web-based eLearning, either 1.2 or 2004. In basic terms an eLearning product must be SCORM compliant because, this is how an LMS can track when a learner has logged in and what scores they achieved, as well as bookmarking where they are in the course. It’s an essential question to ask your eLearning provider, you don’t want to commission something that won’t track on your LMS!
- Do we need multi-device compatibility – we all use desktops?
Closely linked to the first two topics, it’s vitally important that before you commission an eLearning project, you know what devices your learners’ will be using to access the content. If your sales force only use mobile phones, then you need to know the eLearning will firstly work on them and secondly is suitable to be read/watched on a phone. By this we mean it wouldn’t be the best idea to have a very large video if you are relying on bandwidth and mobile signal. Most organisations have standard kits of desktops/laptops and tablets which are predominately used for accessing learning content. You need to know that the eLearning provider will give you an eLearning module that will work on all of them, not just functionality wise but in look as well. And that leads us to the next one…..
- Does responsive design really matter?
If your organisation just uses standard size laptops and nothing else, then responsive design is not the be all and end all. BUT, do your learners now access content at home, on the road, or on different devices? If your answer is yes to any of these, then responsive design should be considered, or at least an optimised design implemented. There is no point in your eLearning look, feel and design being based on a full size laptop screen size if 60% of your learners will access the module on an iPad. It will look odd, and some pages might even be off the screen or not appear properly.
Responsive design means the content responds to the size of screen and will reduce/increase as appropriate. Word of warning – this usually costs more than opting for a standard size, as more design time is needed. So, most organisations opt for optimised design, which this means they know that most people will access the content, say for example on an iPad, so the design is based on the full screen size of that device. It will work on a desktop and laptop as well, but not fill the entire screen necessarily. The only time responsive design is critical is if your learners are using mobile phones.
- What are authoring tools?
Authoring tools are how you create an eLearning module – similar to using Microsoft Word to create a document. There are many on the market but some industry favourites which you should know about are: Adobe Articulate (also called Storyline), Adobe Captivate, Lectora, Camstasia and Prezi. The reason eLearning providers use authoring tools is because they are fairly intuitive, usually output modules in HTML5 and automatically build in the SCORM standards coding. This means modules can be built rapidly, because not everything needs to be hand-coded. What this means for you is that, as long as you know they are using one of these tools, you can guarantee your eLearning module will track on a LMS and also work on most devices. It’s always best to check though!
Hopefully this overview has been useful and will help you in selecting the perfect provider for your eLearning content!
Kerry Pascall, Head of Digital Learning, Bray Leino Learning
In my series of blogs you can expect some tips on implementing eLearning, what to consider when commissioning eLearning, design tips, software and authoring pro’s and con’s, and general advice on everything eLearning!
Copyright © 2017 Bray Leino Learning