The online learning industry is working hard to keep up with the pace of rapid changes taking place in the tech world. The dominance of iPad and HTML5 never seems to be slowing down and the online learning industry without many alternatives forced to adapt to HTML5 to develop future proof e-learning courses.
Thanks to the amazing e-learning products such as Storyline for facilitating a smooth transition into HTML5 online courses from traditional flash based e-learning.
Storyline is capable of producing e-learning courses in Flash, HTML5 as well as iOS format from a single source. The great attraction factor here is the ability to produce courses in HTML5 and iOS format because they enable mLearning. However the iOS format output is almost useless at this point for the industry because of its tracking limitations. The iOS output supports tracking only through Tin Can API and major LMSs in the market not yet implemented this technology.
So the industry left with only one choice which is to go with HTML5 e-learning. Fortunately the Google Chrome and Mobile safari browsers for iPad have great support for HTML5.
Where Storyline Fits in the Game
While the storyline has got a potential to produce great iPad style courses, I have noticed that most training authors including e-learning vendors going with Storyline ‘defaults’ as is. Most of them produce e-learning courses which looks and functions like traditional articulate style courses which were created to work on the PCs and not showing any interest in producing courses for making the most of iPad’s ability.
Most storyline courses as of today are created with the purpose of eLearning on iPad rather than eLearning for iPad. May be the industry is not yet matured or playing safe with the new technology; whatever the reason we can bring in a better transition here with the help of modern e-learning authoring tools such as Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate, Lector Inspire and so on.
To explain my theory better, I have created a sample course with Storyline to compare the PC vs iPad style trainings.
Majority of storyline courses produced today looks something similar to this one.
This design is just a slightly polished version of the previous articulate courses and good for PCs. As far iPads (and other tablets) it’s not a learner friendly design.
Content Area - The content has got less focus here. The iPad is meant for rich content and the focus should on the content. The menu and the player controls take up a decent space in this interface.
Menu/Controls – It is really hard to tap the menu titles from iPad. Often you will notice that the slider and other controls in the HTML5 interface will not function smoothly.
An e-learning design meant for iPad
Refer the screens from the sample course I have created with storyline below. The interface of this course fully customized for iPad.
Refer the complete course here (try take this course from iPad)
As you can see, I have built a custom menu friendly for iPad. All unwanted interface controls kept hidden and only the content gets most attention.
I have also tried to demonstrate some key features of the storyline tool.
- Youtube video as webobject
- Embedded videos
- Rich interactive pages with audio
- Slide transitions
- Custom menu
You will get a better experience of this course when taking it from iPad instead from PC.
If you want to try this course through storyline app for iOS then access this course from this link (you must have articulate storyline app installed for this)
Even though Storyline developers have done a great job in producing the HTML5 output, it is obviously not flawless. If you try navigating the pages little fast or tap on the interactions rapidly you will notice that the course will behave weirdly (e.g. audio of one page/interaction will play in with another page/interaction).
Also the touch response will be little slow in general.
The product makers claim that these flaws are due to the inherent limitations of HTML5 itself. However I am not completely sure about it. An unstable course would only make the matters worse especially with corporate customers and their learners.
So beyond storyline I am also planning to evaluate the HTML5 courses developed with Adobe Captivate and Lectora Inspire as well and perform a detailed comparison about their HTML5 stability. So make sure you subscribe to my future posts by using the option from the sidebar.
You can also check out my post about the details review of Articulate Storyline Product here
Feel free to share your feedback about this sample course or ask any questions about it!
[Update 1 - 5/3/2013] The next post on this series -Adobe Captivate 6 vs Articulate Storyline – Side by Side Comparison
[Update 2 - 6/13/2013] If you are interested to play with the storyline source file used in this demo you can download it from here (we are moving into the open source world after all )