A Re-Introduction To H5P: What You Need To Know About The Most Exciting LMS Integrator Yet

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what is h5p

Corrections made on November 8.

WIRIS

The news about the imminent “merge” between Moodle and H5P was a very welcome news, celebrated across the board. It may still be possible that many are living under the open source rock and are not fully aware of what H5P means, or why they should be excited.

Many are aware of but may not realize that it is not just a free, lightweight, HTML5-based replacement for PowerPoint, or a cool tool that puts quizzes in the middle of YouTube videos. It is, of course, all of that, but much more.

So here is the most up-to-date introduction (or re-acquaintance) with the open source instructional design tool that is revolutionizing learning experiences everywhere.

H5P is an open source technology for interactive content. It stands for ‘HTML5 Package’

A simple name that no longer really does justice to what it has become, it does point to the core web technologies that fuel it, which happen to be the same ones that make every website work: HTML, CSS and JavaScript. All license-free languages, of course. HTML5 is the latest version of the Hypertext Markup Language we interact it every day, which makes it even easier to add special elements, including multimedia and metadata into the website.


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It provides dozens of interactive content types and growing. It’s the only slideshow tool you need!

43 types to date officially listed, all accessible from the same app and covering a broad variety of activities. Games, Multimedia, Questions and Social Media are the main categories. Each one has their own development roadmap and stage of evolution. (Admittedly, some types are more polished than others.)

H5P defies the learning curve of the most tech-averse

And what better way of introducing and showcasing what H5P can do that through H5P!

H5P is OER. A reportedly 100 million users have access H5P content in over 40,000 websites

Big if true. In just over 3 years H5P is well on its way to the record Moodle achieved in 1.5 decades.

The success of H5P can also be seen as a testament of the popularity for Open Educational Resources (OER) and the importance of free access to educational and other technologies for society at large.

H5P now comes baked into Moodle

This announcement has been in the making for a while and is only expected to keep the user growth at the exponential rate it has been since the beginning. At first, it would only allow displaying content. For editing and management you will still need the H5P plugin. Rest assure more powerful authoring capabilities will be ready come Moodle 3.9 and beyond.

H5P is available for Canvas LMS, Blackboard, Brightspace; and just about anywhere that’s LTI compatible

Through plugins, addons and the like, H5P provides official support to the integration with these LMS and CMS:

  • Moodle
  • Blackboard (all versions)
  • Instructure Canvas
  • D2L Brightspace
  • WordPress
  • Drupal

These allow you to create, upload, edit and duplicate H5P content. In the case of Moodle, you can also access H5P content through the mobile apps.

To date, only Moodle has announced built-in integration with H5P. Replying to LMSPulse, H5P Core Team lead Svein-Tore Griff let us know no similar partnership is “officially” in the works.

Being open source, H5P can be enhanced customized anyway you want to. A vibrant H5P developer community is already doing it

You have the freedom to delve into the code of anyone of H5P’s interactive types, or the content files themselves, to tweak and explore to your heart’s content (And as long as JavaScript allows.)

Do you want to change the little bar at the bottom of every H5P window too? Gareth Barnard’s got you. The prolific and generous Kiwi Moodler from partner HRDNZ shows you how to take advantage of his free and brand new “Foundation” theme, Mozilla Firefox’s developer tools and the tiniest bit of CSS code customization. “It’s really that easy!

Fun fact: Barnard and HRDNZ played host to this years’ “H5P MiniConf” withing MoodleMoot New Zealand 2019 last October.

Some H5P types even offer xAPI for easy Learning Analytics in a standard format

When you check out the page of any of H5P interactivity types, you may see a “xAPI Coverage” tab detailing the statements the type in question is able to generate.

Interested to see how it works? Open your browser console on a page with an xAPI compatible H5P type. This post by HRDNZ’s Catherine Duncan shows you the play-by-play.

To be clear, these types H5P do the job of logging events corresponding to students’ actions in the xAPI format. That it all. Other tools from the LMS or appropriate system are required to capture these events, store them and use them into the production of data and insight.

More than a dozen types already support xAPI statements, including Interactive Video, Course Presentation and Drag and Drop.

Host H5P on your system or check out H5P.com, an official SaaS solution

H5P is a private initiative by Joubel, a design and development company in Norway

H5P looks and feel like a public project, but it has been private since its inception. The Norwegian Research Council and Innovation Norway continue to provide funding.

Not to say H5P does not benefit from external support. The best way to do so would be becoming a client of H5P.com. Other than that, direct support could be arranged. In addition to the Norwegian Digital Learning Arena (NDLA), H5P development has been funded by the Mozilla Foundation, Victoria University, Innovation Norway, Eurekos, carriere & more just to name a few.

Coming up, even more types and a focus on accessibility

Thanks to H5P.com, the team has been able to focus on improving accessibility across the board. It is one of the core priorities for the coming year. Features that will help anyone understand and navigate the content better include Breadcrumbs, full-screen authoring and language switching. H5P is also available in dozens of languages, and is compatible with the latest editions of the Moodle apps.

Regarding types and the general roadmap, the latest 2 major updates brought impressive new types:

  • Virtual Tour (360). (See example above.) Using one or several panoramic images it has never been easier to transport students to riveting new virtual places.
  • Dictation and Audio recorder
  • Memory card game
  • Find the words. (“Alphabet soup” word game)
  • Advanced Fill in the Blanks. It offers options for feedback and highlighting, among other goodies. Check it out:

You can check out almost all of the progress the team is doing at the H5P official GitHub site or in the official Roadmap page. By ‘almost’ it simply means that they like to save a few surprises for users, in particular those who attend H5P Con. Griff commented:

«We’ll be working on very secret projects the next few months leading up to the H5P Conference 2020. We hope to be able to launch one or two new dimensions to H5P and a two digit number of new content types at the conference. We hope to enthuse the H5P community and shake up the world of interactive content. We’ve got a lot of coding to do the next few months!»

Check out the team behind H5P at Madison’s H5P Conference 2020 next May

Keynotes, workshop and special unveilings are in the works for the second edition of H5P Con. Heading the speakers roster is Griff himself.

It is organized with the help of the University of Wisconsin and its Collaborative Language Program, which will also play host.

Early bird rates start at $275 USD. (Until January 31.) More registration info here.

Resources & References

Corrections made on November 8. A previous version claimed H5P was a “public project” from the Norwegian country. In reality, the technology as well as its trademarks are owned by Joubel.


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