What is an Interactive Learning Object?

What is H5P?

In the literature a variety of definitions associated with learning objects (LOs) exists, which has caused confusion over their purpose in teaching and learning (see Boyle, 2009; Rehak and Mason, 2003; Saum, 2007). As defined by Rehak and Mason (2003) a LO is a "digitized entity which can be used, reused or referenced during technology supported learning [focusing] on two attributes: that LOs must be digital and must be part of a learning event" (p. 21). Kay, Knack and Muirhead define LOs as "interactive web-based tools that support learning of specific concepts by enhancing, amplifying, and/or guiding the cognitive processes of learners" (p. 295). Ally (2004) defines LOs as "any digital resources that can be used and reused to achieve a specific learning outcome or outcomes...with the overall goal to promote learning and improve performance" (p. 75). The most widely accepted definition of what a learning object is comes from Wiley (2002) as "any digital resource that can be reused to support learning. The term ‘‘learning objects’’ generally applies to educational materials designed and created in small chunks for the purpose of maximizing the number of learning situations in which the resource can be utilized" (p.1), however, Metros and Bennett (2002) note "true learning objects include learning objectives and outcomes, assessments, and other instructional components, as well as the information object itself’’ (p. 3) Although there exists a variety of definitions of what an learning object is, authors tend to agree that learning objects are digital resources that support learning.


LOs can contain a variety of components, including text, audio, video, images, simulations, and games (Baruque and Melo, 2004; Horton, 2012; ). LOs can be used as individual building blocks towards outcomes or can be combined into lessons, modules, or courses. Students may work through a LO as the main learning event or as a supplement event to improve their knowledge and skills achieving the learning outcomes set out by the instructor to designer.


While Learning objects are powerful tools for promoting knowledge transfer in learning and can add a layer of interactivity to online learning it is important to remember that effective online pedagogy/andragogy is supported by the use of technology; technology should not determine pedagogical/andragogical approach used.



Why use Interactive Learning Objects in Teaching and Learning?

Interactive learning objects can be a useful tool for both teaching and learning in face-to-face, blended, and Online contexts. Learning objects have the "potential to improve the way instruction is delivered" (Ally, 2004, p. 75) by allowing for greater "levels of personalization and relevancy" (Robson, 2004) with the end goal of increasing the effectiveness of learning. Not every learner studies with the same pace, some need additional time and practice, others require less (Dirksen, 2016). Learning objects can be used to offer course material automatically in an on-demand, interactive manner, so students can go through the material independently based on their own pace of study and understanding.


Cochrane (2007) notes "embedding formative or summative assessment within Learning Objects is an important way of focusing on the learning objectives of the Learning Object and providing the user with feedback on their understanding of the concepts" (p. 2597).


Learning Objects can be used within an instructional setting to scaffold and chunk learning, to provide additional feedback and support to learners, to allow learners to independently explore and learn a concept at their own pace, to engage short and long term memory, and to grab learners attention.

H5P is an open source HTML 5 packaging client that allows for the creation of embeddable interactive learning objects. H5P's aim is to make it easy for everyone to create, share and reuse interactive HTML5 content supporting teaching and learning. As an open source client, H5P removes many of the traditional cost barriers for educators who would like to integrate interactive learning objects into their Online or blended courses.


Currently two platform integration packages exist: Drupal and Wordpress; however, users can create and host their content on the H5P servers [this content then becomes part of an open sharable content repository on the H5P servers] to be embedded elsewhere (i.e.: D2L, Blackboard, blogs, and websites).  The H5P and Moodle Online community is working on a plug-in to integrate H5P seamlessly into the Moodle learning management system.



** All embeded examples on this page are hosted on my personal web server under a Wordpress install.

Content Types

H5P, with the help of the Online community, has developed over 25 different packages grouped into four main content types: games, multimedia, questions, and social media.

Examples of Learning Objects Created Using H5P

Interactive Timed Activity


Timed activities according to Dirksen (2016) create a sense of urgency in our learners which may grab their attention and engage them in the learning process. By providing immediate feedback (results) learners are able to determine how well they have mastered content and / or monitor their progress over time.

Flash Card Activity


Flash card type activities aid our learners in mastering concepts and build upon active recall skills. They can be an excellent tool for students to gauge their progress in learning concepts.


Ally, M. (2004). Designing effective learning objects. In R. McGreal (Ed), Online education using learning objects (pp. 76-86). London: Rutledge Falmer.


Baruque, L.B. and Melo, R.N. (2004). Learning theory and instructional design using learning objects. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 13(4), 343-370


Cochrane, T. (2007). Developing interactive multimedia Learning Objects using QuickTime. Computers in Human Behaviour, 23(2007) 2596-2640.


Dirksen, J. (2016). Design for how people learn. Berkeley, CA: New Riders.



Horton, W. (2012). E-Learning by Design 2nd Edition. Pfeiffer-Wiley: San Francisco.


Kay, R., Knaack, L., and Muirhead, B. (2009). A formative analysis of instructional strategies for using learning objects. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 20(3), 295-315.


Metros, S. E., & Bennett, K. (2002). Learning objects in higher education. Educause Research Bulletin, October 2002. Retrieved from https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/erb0219.pdf


Rehak, D.R. and Mason, R. (2003). Keeping the learning in learning objects. In A. Littlejohn (Ed.) Reusing online resources: A sustainable approach to e-learning. London: Kogan Page. pp. 20-34


Robson, R. (2004). Context and the role of standards in increasing the value of learning objects. In R. McGreal (Ed), Online education using learning objects (pp. 141-). London: Rutledge Falmer


Wiley, D. (2002). Learning objects – a definition. In A. Kovalchick & K. Dawson (Eds.), Educational technology: An encyclopedia. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO.