There is a lot of buzz out there about Flash. Adobe loves it, Apple hates it, and people who are designing online learning are stuck trying to figure out which to use.
For years Adobe Flash has been used for delivering web-aps because of its ability to include animations and interactions that are difficult to include in a traditional webpage. However, despite its common use, Adobe Flash is not an open standard. In other words, you can only view Flash objects using a player created by Adobe. If someone is unable to use Adobe's player, they are out of luck. This problem became most apparent with the release of the iPhone and iPad which do not support the Flash player. People who had developed online learning programs in Flash quickly found that they could not be accessed by anyone with an Apple iOS device.
Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), along with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and Java Script, are the languages that webpages are programmed in. HTML 5 is the latest version of the language, and has added some capabilities that used to only be available with a plug-in like the Flash player. Animations, transitions, and many other effects are now possible right in the web browser. This means that any compatible web-browser - including on the iPhone or iPad - will be able to display the content. Perhaps the only disadvantage is that since HTML 5 is a relatively new standard, there aren't nearly as many tools to easily export learning content into HTML5 as there are to Flash.
|There is a great HTML5-based educational app called 20 Things I Learned about Browsers and the Web. In addition to explaining many of the features of HTML5, it is a great example of what an HTML5 app can look like.|
|Google has developed a tool - called Google Swiffy - which will convert existing Flash (.SWF files) into HTML 5. It's not always perfect, but it works well for most Flash content.|