Despite the significant advances in multi-device learning design over the last few years, there are still plenty of question marks around when and how web or native apps should be used for learning. Both can provide your learners with high-quality, media-rich content with a good user experience, so there’s not really a right or wrong. Choosing between the two boils down to what content types your app will contain, how your learners will access it and what sort of functionality is needed.
HTML5/ web-based apps
HTML5 apps can be published once and accessed via the web on multiple devices. Because the content is accessed via the web, it doesn’t use device memory to store the app, but your learners will need an internet connection to access it at all times. This makes HTML5 apps better suited to office-based compliance training, for example, rather than courses for field-based staff with lots of video. You might not be able to take advantage of your smartphone’s camera or GPS within an HTML5 course, but this isn’t a huge requirement for e-learning courses.
A native app is downloaded to a device and accessed offline, meaning you will only need an internet connection to download and update its content. Because the app has the full capability of the device it lives on, the user experience is often enhanced, making native apps more suited to media-rich courses which take advantage of touch functions and use lots of audio and video. These can be distributed in a number of ways, from in-house distribution to making the apps publicly available through the Apple App Store or Google Play.
The web or native app debate has been rattling on in technology for a number of years now, not just in the world of e- and m-learning. The good news is that with gomo, you don’t have to commit yourself to one form or the other – you can do both.
Published gomo projects, which exist as HTML5 web apps, can be turned into native apps by packaging them using a HTML-to-app conversion framework such as Adobe PhoneGap. The PhoneGap framework lets you create apps for iOS and Android devices, using the free Xcode or Eclipse development environments respectively.
This gives you the best of both worlds – easy-to-output, multi-device HTML5 content, which can be dropped into the relevant framework and published as a native app whenever you need it. It’s important to have the flexibility to create both web or native apps for learning, as you never know how the technology landscape may change in the future.
To find out more about gomo’s capability and see how easily you can build courses for both web and native output, sign up to a webinar with our Managing Director Mike Alcock, who will introduce you to gomo and showcase gomo 2.1’s features that will make creating multi-device e-learning content easier than ever.