Build Custom HTML5 eLearning interactivities or buy?

Question: I was wondering if you could give me a little advice with regards to what programming languages I should be learning to build my own “elearning template”. I’ve been studying javascript a lot because I feel it’s used extensively in all types of settings. Libraries liek Jquery, html5 (canvas), SCORM etc.

Answer:  Thank you for sending your question. This boils down to the age old question – when should I build something vs. buy something already built. There are excellent tools and templates already available for producing eLearning content to target mobile devices. Most of these tools generate the HTML and other code for you or already have programming completed and all you have to do is modify the code and graphics as desired. These tools include Articulate Storyline, Raptivity, Captivate, Claro, and more.   Additionally, companies like have already created and sell HTML5-based games and other interactivities. These can often plug into tools like Storyline and Captivate, which already handle the SCORM packaging for you.  Rather that writing SCORM code by hand, you can download various SCORM API plugins for Adobe products (like Dreamweaver, Flash, etc.), or use the aforementioned eLearning development products simply for their player interfaces and SCORM generation. So you can mix and match approaches for a “semi-homemade” approach.   If you wish to build your own eLearning from scratch, all of the methods you mentioned (specifically Jquery and Canvas) are great places to start. Learning to program from scratch will help you work with and modify any code that is produced for you using any off-the-shelf tools. Often times these tools are limited,  but with al little programming knowledge, one can overcome these challenges and make something really special. I’d also recommend PopcornJS if you intend to include videos in your content.

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