Over the last couple of years, we’ve witnessed a sharp decline in the proportion of Flash-based eLearning that we create for our clients and partners. And with a team of over 100 dedicated to custom eLearning development, we sure do quite a bit of eLearning development. In the last 6 months, Flash-based courses have been just 25-30% of all eLearning that we created. The rest has been HTML5, which incidentally was almost nil two years ago. This change has been brought about by the iPad,which does not support Flash. And of course now many other tablets also don’t support Flash.
Is everyone now deploying eLearning on tablets?
The proportion of HTML5 development happening would make one believe so. However, we find not everyone is actually deploying eLearning on tablets just yet. Many a HTML5 project that we do is a result of sponsors just playing safe and future proofing their solutions. Reasons vary, of course – some are not sure which way their company’s BYOD policy on tablets will swing, while some others are not sure when their senior management,who use tablets frequently now, will ask for their eLearning to be made available on their shiny new devices as well.But whether it’s for actual, immediate use on tablets or justfor future proofing, tablets are certainly proving to be game changers in the eLearning domain.
Here are some thoughts on why tablets are a game changer.
Fastest growing segment
Tablets have been the fastest growing segment EVER in the mobile devices category. And with tablets becoming smaller (7 & 8 inches) andcheaper,this trend is likely to continue.
Interestingly unlike the fax machine or printer, tablet is a technology, which started with consumers and is now going into the enterprise. In April 2012, Morgan Stanley found the majority of CIOs were buying corporate tablets. In October 2011, Apple’s CEO famously claimed that 92% of Fortune 500 companies were testing or deploying the iPad. So the enterprise is not left out of this invasion by tablets, which means there is significant potential for eLearning to be delivered on them.
Changes the way we interact with computers
By removing the keyboard and mouse interfaces, tablets make interaction with computers intuitive and easy. Even kids can play with tablets – and in-fact now expectpractically every surface to respond to touch. This also opens up the world of computers to people who’ve not been trained on PCs and Macs and are afraid of operating them. Tablets present a great opportunity to bring digital learning solutions to this segment of the workforce.
New forms of computing emerging
The tablet computers segment is growing fast and is now certain to overtake PC sales soon. Naturally a lot of computing, especially at the home, is shifting to tablets. Even at work, some segments of the workforce can do all their tasks on a tablet. For more ‘serious’ ‘heavy duty’ work needs, tablets are merging with desktops and laptops to present completely new form factors. Two of them are shown here. One is a hybrid, which can be used as a laptop or a tablet, trying to give you the best of both. Following the Windows convertibles, we think Apple is now planning to bring out their own hybrid/convertible soon. The other is a desktop with a detachable tablet, which can be used by more than one person – possibly to play multi-player games. The boundaries of how we define tablets are fast expanding and that’s significant for designers and developers of eLearning as well.
Allows embedding of work and learning
Tablets are unique and so is Tablet Learning. Tablets sit somewhere in the middle and leverage some key benefits of both desktops/laptops and mobile phones/smartphones to provide a unique combination of ‘serious work’ and ‘mobility’ in a single device. With the upcoming hybrids and convertibles this is all the more true. This allows us to merge learning with work and that’s truly amazing.
This video from Emirates airlines is a great example of the same.
We have talked about this application in one of our earlier posts here.
AT&T had put up a series of videos titled “tablets at work” showing how tablets can be used for work. Here are the links – one, two, three, and four. I think they are quite interesting to just understand the possibilities.
In summary, tablets are growing in the enterprise, creating new computing paradigms, and offering a unique blend of serious work and mobility. And they could well be the default devices in our organizations in the future. They are indeed a game changer.