Friday, 26 March 2021

H5P endeavours - a progress update

Following my hard influence and efforts to get H5P integrated into Nottingham Trent University's (NTU) digital ecosystem.  I thought I'd give a short update on the university-wide support I have been leading on - a similar approach I took with the PebblePad implementation.  A quick background on my H5P history - I've been a keen user of H5P circa 2016 and then used it thoroughly to create online learning material during an eLearning Developer role in 2017.  So once I started at NTU later that year and quickly realised their Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), Brightspace, did not offer similar online content creation features.  I quickly adopted H5P and started to drum up interest and support as an ideal tool to enable our staff to create rich online interactive activities, resources and formative assessments.  I remain enthusiastic about it and champion it's capabilities that improves our flexible and online learning offer.

Following my previous H5P blog posts, I continued to offer introductory sessions but paused them back in December 2019 until we had a permanent solution in place and to avoid people using to host content.  Like with PebblePad, as a result of my earlier work and interest I became a key stakeholder.  In early 2020 a small working group was formed to provide supporting evidence/case studies of using H5P to develop a business case.  Later that year the VLE Manager, Adam Elce, successfully lobbied this (reinforced by the pressing pandemic situation) and the H5P VLE integration became available in August to staff.  Slightly late into the academic year resulting in a soft launch, but has had a decent uptake and is continuing to grow.

As I predicted last Summer, asynchronous learning and teaching is gaining momentum at the university - not all learning and teaching needs to be live and didactic.  As part of my support and digital leadership for H5P since the soft launch, I had already been explaining the asynchronous pedagogical benefits of H5P.  Coincidentally, in December 2020 I said to my senior Marcus Elliott that I needed to align my H5P work to current NTU strategies or related projects to keep importance and momentum going.  At the start of January 2021, as part of NTU's Redesigning Learning and Teaching strategy, I was informed that the asynchronous piece was picking up rapidly and we discussed how H5P could be broadly part of this.  Me and Marcus consulted with one and another and I shared my knowledge of asynchronous design, potential frameworks and identified gaps that we can support as a team.  Using this information we arranged a follow up meeting with other Digital Practice Team colleagues.  To map out a process for the development of asynchronous learning and teaching design and to identify where in the process we could support it.  Our input into this formed a proposal of how our team can support this piece of work.  Specifically focusing on the content aspect 'Creating Curating and Converting content' that Marcus sketched out for us.

So to continue the effort to align H5P with current strategic or operational plans, before a service account meeting with H5P themselves, I suggested to the VLE Manager that we spent some time fleshing out a vision and action plan for H5P.  To ensure that we know where it is heading, delivers core objectives and covers the wider needs we had previously identified in the business case.  As well as ensuring that it has adequate support and resources behind it.  I will be overseeing: skills development (including instructional design mindset/process); guidance and support options and creation of a series of templates.  Collaboration is ongoing and I will then able to appropriately align my support work and develop needs around it.

My mission with H5P continues to be about enabling and empowering staff to create rapid asynchronous/online activities and resources in a DIY approach.  By developing the associated digital practices and processes that make these successful.

A little rundown of other H5P bits and pieces I have been involved in, internally:

  • One-to-one consultancy with early and new H5P adopters exploring pedagogical and technical problems and ideas for application
  • Created a comprehensive staff H5P support area within our VLE, including basic 'how to' videos, exemplars and related literature to help get people started - creating and inserting content guidance is the most popular
  • Provided basic Course Presentation, Interactive Book and Interactive Video templates for staff to clone and use
  • Designed and delivering an 'Introduction to H5P' briefing webinar to support the soft launch
    • However, I have since provided the snippet video below for folks to watch beforehand, then demoing the H5P interface within VLE, introduce a couple of frameworks then asking attendees to bring along any questions/scenarios to ensure they get most out of it
    • I created the short mini-Continuing Professional Development (CPD) snippet video for the internal TILTOnline academic community as part of the November 2020 theme 'flexible and resilient pedagogy':

    • I'm currently mulling over ideas to offer H5P design workshops, to supplement the briefing webinar.  This is increasingly becoming important for academics as they start to get more comfortable with the interface and need guidance taking from content to activity
  • Forthcoming H5P OER Hub - On 5 March me, the VLE Manager and another colleague were interviewed by H5P to develop their OER Hub due to be launched later this year.  We provided feedback and ideas (required and nice to have) on the functionality that would be useful to support, inspire and encourage high quality H5P objects.  I suggested particular features such as: enabling to submit screencasts/screenshots to illustrate the bigger picture/context embedded in a VLE with instruction etc (not just the isolated objects); activity builder; creative commons type publishing which led onto an idea about tracking/timeline adaptation of objects; rating, recommendations and upvoting to ensure a subtle quality measure; digital badges to motivate creation/uploading to OER Hub; overall connecting and collaborating with wider educators; possibly provocative, but to ask/request for certain OERs as some folk might have them or folks in community might want to create them willingly
    • EDIT: On 5 May 2021 - long story short that resulted in a bit of learning and recommendation to H5P...  When editing a content type and you change the type you will get a 'Change content type?' prompt.  If you confirm it will replace the content type and wipe previous content.  However, what it doesn't tell you is that it wipes the previous content type completely from the system.  I.e. it doesn't go into the central archive/trash area.  So I have recommended that H5P include subtext to the prompt to address this as a consequence of confirming this action.  Luckily I had downloaded my content type in question last year, so I can re-upload.  H5P agreed that they could be more clear in this.
  • Planning a webinar for an internal conference with a team colleague on the topic of 'Beyond the MCQ'.  I'll be giving a focus to H5P on how you can mix things up using different question types and using multimedia
  • Working with professional services staff to model alternative ways of providing information via Microsoft SharePoint, that is not just static documentation and text-heavy material
  • Supporting experimentation with two leadership and management colleagues use H5P, through the creation of prototyping a usable object (catch up/extension material) that they can then model to their colleagues, for the Leading at NTU programme - which I will be lobbying my stored ideas in due course


  • Showcased and used the H5P WordPress plugin as part of my role as the Digital Design Lead with The Education and Training Foundation, to create online CPD modules for the Advanced Practitioners (#APConnect) Year 3 programme
  • Critical friend to some colleagues at Vision West Nottinghamshire College and Bishop Burton College in the effective use of H5P

In a future blog post, perhaps I might talk about the popular questions and practices seen with H5P and how it is achieving and/or changing active online learning.