ELearning solutions represent evolution relative to legacy methods of employee training and instruction. However, these IT products are themselves changing and growing more effective. Several generations of eLearning options have entered the market over the past few decades, ranging from basic early efforts to today's flexible online platforms. This development has occurred naturally due to the introduction of processes and tools that weren't available in the past. Cloud computing, mobile devices and more have made their impact on the world of employee learning and IT-based training. Leaders who catch up with this process may be surprised by how much has changed in only a few years.
The transition to HTML5
While it was once the backbone of the Internet, Flash technology is now in decline. Revealed as a system full of security holes and requiring extra installation to run, it has taken a back seat to HTML5. The main advantage of the latter method its the fact that it will run across device types without the sort of plugin needed for Flash. A recent Association for Talent Development blog post by contributor Thomas Toth delved into the ways this change-over is affecting eLearning. Toth noted that programmers are coming back into vogue, as their skill sets are being called upon to work in HTML5.
Toth actually struck a note of caution in his pronouncement that HTML5 is back. He explained that during the years when Flash was on top, leaders worked with authoring tools that would help make content for their teams. Those methods have now become as antiquated as Flash itself. Toth suggested that there will be a serious shift, and those who relied too heavily on authoring tools are going to have to make a quick switch into the new format. However, this is not some impulsive change - the rise of HTML5 has been a long time coming, and there are solid reasons to make the move.
Mobility is key to eLearning today, and Toth noted that portable devices are among the first wave of hardware not to have Flash capabilities. The decision to omit Flash is one of the many legacies of Steve Jobs' tenure with Apple. Toth pointed out that Apple has led the way into the new era. The huge popularity of the iPhone and iPad has allowed Apple to set the tone on tech usage. Securing these devices as an mLearning platform is so important that Flash appears to be completely unworkable as a way forward.
The meaning of mobile
As mLearning becomes a permanent part of offerings in the HTML-enabled eLearning era, leaders will have to think hard about how this technology works. A recent Meetings and Conventions blog post by Chris Ballman explained ways in which courses on phones and tablets should be modified relative to their PC counterparts. Namely, he explained that the mLearning versions of courses should be based on less impressive graphics - ones that won't looked muddled on small screens. Furthermore, each lesson should take less time to complete.
Since HTML5 coding is valid on both desktop and mobile devices, leaders who embrace the technology will be able to devote their time to thinking about content differences rather than tech challenges.