Device & HTML5 Complexity
In a perfect world, mobile learning technology would be available to all without limitations. Unfortunately, that’s much easier said than done. As we have covered in this series, there are many things in the way of reaching this goal. We are now approaching the end of our series on mLearning and have one last note about the challenges we see many people face when it comes to creating mobile content. People struggle against the devices themselves.
We have a vision of enabling seamless learning experience for learners – create the education, do the instructional design, build the content, and let the learners decide what device(s) they want to use. Of course this vision requires one course that can be launched and tracked across devices.
Size and Shape
Creating material that looks the same on different devices gets tricky. It gets even more complicated when you change which device you are using mid-course. When you consider different versions of the iPad, a variety of Android devices, the Kindle Fire, and even the 40″ Google TV, there are a lot of different screen sizes and device specifications to accommodate!
From a purely technological perspective, creating mLearning that works uniformly on each device is difficult to do. Building a framework flexible enough to adapt to different devices is a huge coding task. The response until now? People have turned to authoring tool solutions that rely on devices templates. The problem with this solution is the device templates. People have to create mLearning specific to each device they use, duplicating the content and wasting both time and money. Moreover, having the ability to change a device mid-course and pick up where you left off is out of the question.
Another factor that plays into this is the browser. The mobile market relies on it. In the past, once you had something working on a Flash device, you could support any Flash device. This is no longer the case. Why? Because each browser can set the rules, so to speak, for how and on which media format it will render.
Here is a little experiment. Open a Chrome or Safari browser. Next, use your file manager tool (e.g. Finder or Explorer) select and drag an .mp3 file into the new browser window. If you have done it correctly, it works fine. Your address bar would look something like this: file:///Users/JaneDoe/Music/Adele/Daydreamer.mp3
Now, open Firefox and do the same thing. It won’t work. Why? Because Firefox does not natively support .mp3 audio. It must to be converted to an .ogg file. Moreover, it gets even worse for video!
Under the covers, it’s great that HTML5 has an audio and a video tag, but as developers are finding out, how these tags are implemented and what file formats they require are inconsistent, causing developers a lot of grief.
How do you overcome this?
The honest answer to overcoming this obstacle is this: You must build your own platform-independent foundation that gives you the ability to build content that works on both to Flash or HTML5. Then you need to build an HTML5-based framework that is device-independent and can handle orientation changes when it’s put up against different screen sizes and device specifications. Once that is done, build the intelligence so that it senses which media format should run on the device you are using and/or which browser to use on that device. Then build a means to render the content using either Flash or HTML5 based on the current device.
We know that sounds complicated. But we want to share with you that we’ve done it. You can license CourseAvenue Studio with our OneCourse solution for mobile learning because we have done what we’ve just described.
CourseAvenue’s OneCourse solution creates one course that works on multiple devices.
About CourseAvenueVisit us at www.CourseAvenue.com
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