H5P: An Open Source HTML5 eLearning Authoring Tool

H5P: An Open Source HTML5 eLearning Authoring Tool
Summary: This article introduces an emerging open source HTML5 eLearning authoring tool called H5P. With H5P, you can create mobile friendly, interactive HTML5 eLearning content directly in a web browser without any technical skills. Like Flash, H5P content is a single file that you can easily administer and move from a CMS to an LMS. Unlike Flash, no plugins are required for the end user and no local eLearning authoring tool installation is necessary. H5P is Open Source and Free to use.

HTML5 eLearning Content Development with H5P – Open Source and Free to Use!

More and more learners are using mobile devices without Flash support. Flash has traditionally been the most widely used technology for creating interactive eLearning content. Flash files were relatively easy to administer and there were lots of eLearning authoring tools well integrated with publishing platforms. However, being Flash reliant today is no longer sustainable.

Discover the best Open Source eLearning Authoring Tools
Find, choose and compare the eLearning Industry's Top Open Source Authoring Tools!

Many eLearning content providers and eLearning content designers are wondering how to get rid of the Flash content and how they can replace it with mobile friendly HTML5 content. In this transition, they are also facing other challenges, such as:

  • They want content suppliers to be able to deliver rich content as files the same way they did with Flash, and they want to be able to publish it just as easily.
  • They do not want to contact the content supplier just to add a comma or replace an image in the rich content they deliver; they want to be able to make those changes themselves, without any technical skills, external plugins or software installations.
  • They need an effective way to manage all the rich content, and they want to be able to update all similar content types simultaneously, e.g. change a default instruction text on all drag and drop tasks.
  • They want to be able to clone content created by content suppliers and adapt it to new topics using only a web-browser.
  • If they upgrade or change their publishing platform, they want to move their authoring tool and content easily from one platform to another.

Companies, organizations and governments spend millions of dollars creating customized eLearning courses, eLearning games and applications within their enclosed sphere. Enormous amounts of time and resources can be saved if an open, common standard for eLearning content were adopted broadly and could be reused across institutions, departments and offices, as well as technical platforms.

Top 11 H5P Benefits

H5P solves all of the above issues. Here are some of the H5P benefits:

  1. Open source and free to use
  2. Create, edit and publish content in a standard browser
  3. No local software installations or end user plugins
  4. Content is HTML5 and mobile friendly
  5. Enables your existing LMS or CMS to create rich, interactive HTML5 content
  6. Content is packaged in a single file. Easy to administer and move across sites.
  7. Update one, update all functionality
  8. Streamlined for crediting licensed multimedia content
  9. Extend or build your own customized content types and applications.
  10. A user community where users can share knowledge, content types and code.
  11. Several available content types today. More are under development.

H5P has the potential of liberating rich content, making it a lot easier to reuse rich content between professional content creators, companies and countries with different languages.

Available Content Types

H5P is modular and several useful content types and applications are available for use without the need of any technical skills. The content types have been developed especially for use in eLearning. Below are some of them:

  • Interactive video
    Add interactions and quizzes to videos.
  • Presentation
    Create an interactive presentation of a topic with text, audio, video and more.
  • Board game
    A level based game where the user answers quiz questions to complete each level.
  • Question set
    A sequence of quiz tasks, including multiple choice, drag and drop and fill in the blanks
  • Flashcards
    The learner inserts text corresponding to an image.


For a complete list of the available content types, see the Content types overview on h5p.org

How to get started with H5P

You can also start using H5P on your own site. H5P does not require any local software installation, and no plugins are necessary for the learners. However, in order to author, publish and administer content on your own site, you need an H5P plugin for your CMS or LMS. You can view H5P as an extension that enables your existing publishing platform to create rich, interactive HTML5 content.

Currently there are plugins for the popular open source publishing platforms Drupal and Joomla. However, most of the H5P code is framework independent and it is easy to create plugins for additional platforms. A broader selection of plugins will become available as the community grows.

To get started with H5P on your own site you can download an H5P file by selecting a content type on the Content types overview on h5p.org. Once you have enabled the H5P plugin on e.g. your Joomla powered site, you upload the H5P file to your site.

Once uploaded you get access to all the content types and applications that currently exists in the H5P ecosystem.

You can create, edit and publish the H5P content directly in your favorite browser and familiar authoring environment. It is also possible to download the content you have created as an H5P file (.h5p) and upload it to another site with the H5P plugin enabled.

For Organizations, eLearning Professionals and Developers

Everyone can use H5P and it is free to use.

Organizations might choose to integrate H5P with their existing learning platform. Some organizations are also integrating H5P in their intranet.

eLearning professionals can use the already available content types out of the box. No technical skills are needed, just a browser.

eLearning developers can build upon existing content types or create new content types from scratch by using the open H5P API.Organizations and eLearning developers may share their code on h5p.org so that others can reuse the content types and adapt the content itself to suit various needs directly in the browser.


NDLA is Norway’s largest eLearning site for the secondary school level with 2.6 million unique visitors in 2013. The portal is publicly funded and has a large editorial staff for keeping the learning content up to date. NDLA requires most of its content to be openly licensed to encourage sharing and collaboration.

Since its startup in 2008, NDLA has used Flash to deliver rich and engaging interactive content to teachers and students. However, with the introduction of smartphones and tablets, the Flash content could not be universally viewed on all devices. In addition, Flash has always been a proprietary format, which did not suit the open source policy of the website.

With Flash fading away, NDLA had to choose between allowing their suppliers to deliver rich content as HTML5 websites, investing in a huge amount of custom authoring tools or cooperate with the H5P team in the development of H5P. NDLA chose the last option.

NDLA's philosophy of liberating and sharing eLearning content and technology came to life with the new H5P technology. NDLA is already seeing their investments in the technology helping other organizations to create richer content. As more and more content types becomes available for H5P, the capabilities of NDLA's authoring tool become increasingly powerful.

Every time a supplier creates a new type of rich content and uploads it to NDLA’s site, the H5P authoring tool learns to create yet another content type and NDLA's editors are empowered to create yet another great type of content.

NDLA buys learning content, such as educational games, videos and animations, from suppliers in the market. Content suppliers can deliver any type of content to NDLA. If it is possible to create an experience with HTML5 it is possible to create it with H5P. H5P makes it easy to publish and manage the content both in a technological and editorial manner. The editors can easily correct e.g. typing errors or reuse content components for other purposes.

NDLA might choose to switch to a new platform sometime in the future. Independent of which platform they choose, both the rich content and the H5P technology for creating and maintaining the content, will be easy to plug in to any new type of publishing platform. This reduces the cost of training the editors in using the new platform and also dramatically reduces the cost of porting content and features to the new platform.Feel free to join the community and learn more on h5p.org