Hidden Gems – H5P


Leslie Langham has taught most of their courses online at least twice now. They put in long days, evenings and weekends developing content for their courses – choosing readings, finding relevant videos and images, crafting assignments – and interacting with students providing feedback. Leslie feels confident in the courses they put together and deliver online, but also feels like a little something is missing. Sometimes students seem to miss the most important points made in the videos, or pick up on some key concepts but miss others.

In their face-to-face class, Leslie is used to using a student response system and other activities and technology to check for student understanding, but aside from using the Canvas Quiz tool, doesn’t know how else to support students by providing interactive opportunities to self-check their new understanding and practice their new skills. After consulting with an instructional designer they settled on incorporating some H5P activities into their online course.

Leslie now has a variety of interactive learning activities throughout the course, providing students timely, relevant, and specific feedback on key concepts automatically. This includes interactive videos where students can check their understanding as the video is playing, check the outcomes of their decisions with branching scenarios, test their knowledge with digital flashcards, analyze images with interactive elements, and more. All of these activities are presented right in the course content, allowing students to engage with it straight away rather than going away into some other platform requiring yet another login.

What is H5P?

H5P is a free and open source collection of tools you can use to create interactive content. This is the kind of tool that we would say has a low floor and a high ceiling, allowing you to make simple interactive activities quickly and easily, while leaving plenty of room for more complicated activity types. There are over 40 content types, which at first can be overwhelming, but focusing on activity types that are useful for higher education and meet accessibility standards we are left with about 20 (as shown below).

Who is Using H5P?

At the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching and Learning, we have worked with numerous instructors over the years to incorporate hundreds of H5P activities in dozens of courses across the humanities, social, natural, and health sciences, education, commerce, art, and agriculture. These activities appear in Canvas, open online courses on our WordPress platform, and in open textbooks available at OpenPress.

How does it work?

While the content types for H5P vary widely, the same general steps for creating and sharing your interactive content projects can be followed (in this example, creating a question set):

Try the question set below to see some of the features of the questions we created for this example.

What are its implications for teaching and learning?

How do I get started?

The good news is that you have plenty of options. If you are curious about what different content types are available, and what they can do we recommend checking out some of the links in the additional resources.

If you are ready to make H5P activities for use in your own class(es) you will need a place for creating H5P content. Here are a few options, use whichever is most convenient:

  1. If this is your first experience with H5P or want the easiest route, create an account by visiting http://h5p.org/ and click Create New Account. These accounts are intended for trying out the tool and for practice. The H5P types here are a limited selection and capacity, but it’s a perfect way to get started.
  2. If you have a project in OpenPress then you can create your H5P activities in any of your book project sites. Login and look for H5P Content on the left-hand menu.
  3. If you have a project in USask Sites then you can create your H5P activities in any of your WordPress sites. Login and look for H5P Content on the left-hand menu.
  4. There is an offline option available as well that works for MacOS and Windows. To get started, download and install the application from https://lumi.education/Note: If you choose this route there are specific steps to take to get your H5P content into your course materials. Learn how to put H5P activities into your course without WordPress.

If you don’t know which option is best for you, the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching and Learning would be happy to discuss your H5P project(s) with you.

Contact the Flexible Learning and Technology team

Additional Resources

Interested in further tutorials and examples? We have a collection of relevant resources for you!

eCampus Ontario H5P Studio

The eCampus Ontario H5P Studio is a central place where many Ontario-based educators create and share their H5P creations. Containing over 1000 activities, the majority of which are licensed under Creative Commons, this is a place where you are going to find inspiration for your project if not something that you can download and adapt to your needs directly.

Pressbooks Directory

This directory provides an index of over 1600 open textbooks, course outlines, monographs, lab manuals, works of fiction, and more, published across 75+ Pressbooks networks. Many of the books listed in the Directory are available under a Creative Commons License, which enables you to make your own copy of the resource, combine resources, and customize the resource for your specific class or project. When searching for books, you can search specifically for books that include H5P Activities. Once you navigate to the book of your choice, if you type “h5p-listing/” at the end of the book’s URL you will see a list of every H5P activity in that book.  For example, https://ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub/profcommsontario/h5p-listing/ .

H5P.org Showcases

This forum is a place where the wider H5P community shares projects they have created using H5P. While you might not find something to directly adapt for your own project, you may find some inspiration for novel ways to use a particular content type in these pages.