H5P.com offers a paid software as a service (SaaS) eLearning tool for creating and storing interactive web-based activities for enhancing online courses.
Table of Contents
- Best Use Cases
- User Permissions
- Technical Support
- Content Types
- Content Types Exclusive to H5P.com
- Open Educational Resource (OER) Hub
- Mobile-Friendly / Responsive
- Compatibility Across Platforms
- Customization / Branding
- Security Settings
- H5P Example in a Canvas Course
H5P is an open-source project founded by Norwegian company H5P Group. The goal of the project is to make it easier for content creators to create, maintain and reuse rich interactive content. The open source software is available free of charge as add-on software within other open source platforms including WordPress, Drupal, and Moodle. However, H5P Group also manages a paid H5P software as a service that includes content hosting and storage through H5P.com.
H5P makes it simple for creators to simply add in their questions and answers into a streamlined user interface and end up with an engaging quiz or interactive activity that automatically resizes on various devices and is easily shared on most web pages by using embed codes. To date, H5P.com has over 30 content types including multiple choice questions, crossword puzzles, flashcards with audio, branching scenarios, and interactive video with built-in quizzing.
The lowest H5P.com plan includes 3 authors at $57 monthly or discounted to $570 annually. Add-on drill-down data reports, starting at $0.04 per learner for 1 – 250 learners.
Rates are lower with more authors. Heavily-discounted enterprise rates for academic institutions or school districts with large numbers of authors.
They offer a 30-day free trial with all features.
Best Use Cases
Paired with a Compatible LMS
The best and most common use of this paid software is paired with a compatible learning management system (LMS). The learning tools interoperability (LTI) integration allows H5P to be used on assignment pages and automatically passes total scores to the LMS gradebook. The following LMS have a compatible LTI:
H5P content is great for using as knowledge checks or formative assessments (quizzes throughout the course).
The optional drill-down data reporting feature is required to view information including start and end times, individual question scores, and number of attempts. This report will also include H5P content that is displayed in other areas of an LMS course, such as pages.
Paired with a Website or Blog
Although this use does not have any data reports, using H5P content brings a new level of engagement to a website or blog. H5P content can be embedded on most web pages that allow the use of iframe codes. Please note that embedded content may not resize correctly if a web page has strict layouts for the size of areas on a page.
Hosting with H5P.com means you don’t have to worry about software updates, backups, content upgrades or scaling. They currently have servers in the USA, EU, and Australia. A hosting service that is physically closer to you is recommended for faster website load times and data transfer.
Storage and transfer vary based on the number of authors on a plan. The lowest plan for 3 authors starts with 57 GB of storage and 570 GB of transfer per month.
There are four user roles: Learner, Author, Super User, and Administrator.
- The Learner role only has view permissions for content. If the optional drill-down data reports are included in your plan, you can see the individual learners names along with the data of each content they have interacted with.
- The Author role is a content creator, typically a professor or an instructional designer. They are limited to creating, sharing, and deleting their own content.
- The Super User role is in between the Author and Administrator, typically a group supervisor or department head. This role can change the content owner and manage content in organizational folders.
- The Administrator has the highest level of permissions, typically this is someone in the Information Services or Technology department. This role will have access to plans and billing, permanent deletion of users and content and organizational folders, custom style settings, organizational display and security settings, and integration with LMS.
H5P.com has 24/5 email support, meaning 24 hours during the weekdays. The service level agreement (SLA) will list a support contact email based on your organization’s local time zone.
Since H5P is an open source project, they depend heavily on the greater H5P community to volunteer with documentation and translations. Some content types have more detailed documentation than others.
H5P is constantly evolving and they do take feature requests.
While there are over 50+ content types on H5P.org, there are only 30+ content types on H5P.com. The difference is due to some content types being created outside of the core team, which they are not able to provide support for. Here is a list of the excluded content types on H5P.com.
Content Types Exclusive to H5P.com
To encourage organizations to purchase hosting from H5P.com, they have included some exclusive content types that are not available in the free plugin versions. Here are the live engagement content types:
- Word Cloud – a live poll where users type in or select a response. The result is a visual word cloud with more responses resulting in larger font size and fewer responses in smaller font size or a list of responses per word.
- Emoji Cloud – a live poll where users select an emoji as a response. The result is a visual emoji cloud or a list of responses per emoji.
- Multipoll – a poll for feedback or debates. It supports other H5P content types such as images, videos, texts and other live polling types. Background music is also available and customization of the content color theme.
- The Chase – live timed competitions using other H5P content types. Results show users in 1st, 2nd and 3rd place with a podium image. Background music is also available and customization of the content color theme.
Open Educational Resource (OER) Hub
Mobile-Friendly / Responsive
Content created with H5P is built to be responsive on any device. However, since the content is placed on a web page using the HTML iframe tag, there are times when content does not display properly, particularly with web sites that do not allow users to edit the HTML code or CSS.
Compatibility Across Platforms
H5P’s user interface is consistent across all versions of the free plugin and the paid H5P.com hosting. So moving content between platforms involves basic downloading and uploading of the H5P file. Since the content is published through the use of embed codes (iframe tag), the content can be created once and placed in numerous courses within a LMS or even in other LMS or websites.
Although H5P content has some accessibility features built into the code, most content types are not easy to navigate for users that have visual impairments and depend on a screen reader tool to read the content to them. The Multiple Choice question type is the most accessible content type. Other content types can be accessible but will require additional coding or instructions as a work around.
Customization / Branding
This feature is lacking for H5P.com. Since each H5P content type basically acts like a mini website, customizing the code can have some unintended consequences. There is an option to upload custom CSS overrides. However you must request this feature to be turned on for your account and you will be warned that any overrides may affect functionality as well as introduce some security issues. Colors are the safest to change. Changing the fonts can affect the spacing of labels and instructions in the user interface.
H5P.com offers 3 options to login for Authors, Super Users, and Administrators: via LTI (access within the LMS), Password only (login on H5P.com), and Two-Factor authentication.
Option to allow specific domains to embed H5P.com content. When this is enabled and content publishing is set to public, a direct link to the content URL will show an error message. This is a great feature to keep your organization’s content secure and from being posted on websites without your permission.
H5P has some unique content types that don’t require a huge learning curve or time commitment to implement. H5P content is excellent for knowledge checks within a greater course or learning experience.
H5P.com is best for organizations that are using a compatible LMS integration: Canvas, Blackboard, Brightspace, Moodle, Sakai, OpenEdX. The LMS integration allows automated passing of scores to the LMS gradebook when H5P is created as an assignment. The add-on drill down data reports are also useful for additional statistics on how learners are interacting with the content.
- User-friendly easy to navigate
- Web-based platform can be used on Mac, PC, or Chromebook
- Large variety of content types, and several exclusive live engagement content types
- Large resource content types like Course Presentation, Interactive Video, Interactive Book, Branching Scenario and Virtual Tour (360) can incorporate other H5P content types to create a multimedia assessment
- Ability to collaborate and share content
- Folder structure for organization of content
- Can upload or download shared global content through the open education resource (OER) hub
- Price is lower than popular content authoring tools like Articulate Storyline and Adobe Captivate
- Security feature has whitelisting of domains, so content can only be viewed on specified websites
- Not easily customizable, color and font changes can be done with cascading style sheets (CSS) but with caution
- Additional user experience (UX) planning and testing to ensure responsive content displays properly on all devices
- Some accessibility issues particularly with screen readers
- User data is only available with compatible learning management systems (LMS) that have a learning tools interoperability (LTI) integration, uses xAPI not SCORM
- 30+ content types in H5P.com vs 50+ on H5P.org
- No auto save function when authoring content
- No tool to automatically convert PowerPoint or Google Slides in Course Presentation
- No individual license offered yet (may be offered in the future)
H5P Example in a Canvas Course
Check out Part 3 of the H5P.com review to see an example of H5P’s Interactive Book in a Canvas course. The Interactive Book content type allows you to have a table of contents and several H5P activities combined into one.