One of the questions I get asked frequently is whether I’d recommend Storyline or Captivate 6 to a company who needs to publish their desktop eLearning specifically for learners to consume it on the iPad.
This is an interesting question to answer for so many reasons. First off I think this question is fairly shortsighted because I believe real multi-screen design and deployment of “learning” should go beyond just publishing for iPad consumption.
In other words, I don’t believe that you can call having an iPad-only solution a real mLearning strategy. What about other screens, like the iPhone, Android smartphones and tablets, and other devices like the Kindle Fire for example?
In fact, according to this “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) research, entitled Dispelling Six Myths of Consumerization of IT, which took place in January, 2012, one of the key findings is that personal devices coming into the workplace are broad and diverse and in fact, the most popular consumer device that employees are bringing into the enterprise is not an Apple product, it turns out the single most popular device is the Android phone.
One Size does Not Fit All
And then there’s the fact that I don’t believe we should literally convert the same exact desktop eLearning to HTML for mobile devices, including the iPad. The experiences between a desktop computer with a mouse and a touch-enabled devices are simply too different. Take a traditional software ‘try-it simulation’ in Captivate 6 that is scored, convert it to HTML5 and then use your finger to try and find the right tap-target and you will see what I mean. It’s very likely that you will fail the assessment and not because you don’t know where to tap, but rather because these simulations are created for the very small and narrow mouse arrow and not for the finger tap, which typically requires about a 30-pixel tap-target.
I think the reason why eLearning tools vendors are rushing to market with a “one size fits all” solution for eLearning and mLearning, where the tools are simply converting existing desktop eLearning to HTML5, is because when they asked their customers what they wanted next in their software, for the most part what they heard was “I just want to have my learners access my stuff on the iPad.”
Having said that, I do understand why people are asking others and me this question and I suppose I also see why eLearning tools vendors are promoting the popular iPad as the device of choice for publishing to in their marketing materials.
So for the sake of answering this very specific question, here’s how I see Articulate Storyline and Adobe Captivate 6 addressing this particular need.
Both Storyline and Captivate have an HTML5 story, however neither is a very good story. There are many features in both applications that are not carried over when a user publishes to HTML5. You can see the list of things that won’t work in Storyline HERE and for Captivate 6; you can see it HERE and HERE.
With all due respect to both of these companies, I think they need to do much better in an upcoming version of their software. When I look at apps entirely created in HTML5, such as Boom Town and Sketchpad (try it on iPad Safari) I think to myself, surely there must be a way to overcome most of the limitations currently listed by these two eLearning vendors.
Ok so we all know that for most eLearning tools vendors this is they first foray into the HTML5 world and of course we can expect the next versions to be more thorough when it comes to publishing to HTML5.
But what about right now?
Answer to this FAQ
Here’s how I see it. While both companies have a list of features that are not supported in their HTML5 export, only one company went the extra mile to ensure that their users and their users’ users could fully consume their courses on the iPad. That company is Articulate with Storyline and the Articulate Mobile Player iPad app.
You have to admire a company that after assessing the situation of a platform (i.e. HTML5) says, we are not satisfied with the experience we are providing our users, and sets out to build an innovative way to extend that experience.
If you have never seen this app in action and you own an iPad, take a look at two screencasts I published a while back on how the process works, and try a sample course using the app I mentioned above.
So there you go, that’s how I answer when people ask me about publishing eLearning courses to the iPad.
Share your thoughts.