Using H5P to create active online learning resources!

NOTE: I tried to embed H5P content directly into this post but won’t let me :-(. To see H5P in action just click on the links. Sorry!

If you haven’t already heard about H5P, trust me it’s awesome! It’s a free, open and super easy tool for creating interactive content online.

From December 3rd to 5th, 2018, I was at H5P Conference 2018 and got to see lots of passionate people share what they have been doing with the tool.


One session particularly stood out. It was towards the end of the day and when the presenter said twe were going to work in groups I have to admit I groaned a little inside. But the groan was premature and absolutely unnecessary because the facilitator, Autumn Hayes of Texas State Univeristy, walked us through a beautifully simple process for using H5P to create active learning resources.

I am going to summarise what I can remember for posterity.

Step 1: Identify 3 capability your students should have. 

A good place to start for any good learning design; think of 3 higher order skills that you would like your students to develop. Using Bloom’s Taxonomy, higher order skills include analyse, evaluate and create.


I was in a group of science educators and we choose, 1) judging the accuracy of information (evaluate), 2) being able to read information critically (analyse) and 3) create a summary of information and the judgement of that information (create).

Now let’s check if you have been paying attention. Drag only the higher order skills into the box to the right.

H5P Activity: Bloom’s Higher Order Skills

Step 2: Imagine what these skills look like in the real world.

Have a think about what it looks like to actually do these things in the real world. For instance, judging the accuracy of information requires you to identify a claim in a piece of information and do some research to establish whether the claim is accurate or not.

Think about and write down the process for each of the three skills you have identified.

Step 3: Identify H5P content types that help simulate each skill.

This is where H5P come in. Now that you have identified your skill and have outlined what it looks like to use the skill you need to find one or more H5P content types that will help you simulate the skill.

Sticking with judging accuracy we could use:

  • Mark the Words to have students identify a claims within a body of text.
  • Drag and Drop so they can order the steps of judging the accuracy of information.
  • Text output (which is in several content types) to have students describe why they believe the claim is accurate or not.
  • Multiple Choice to test whether students research on the accuracy of the claim found the correct answer.
  • Course Presentation to wrap up all of these elements and the contextual information into a nice little package!

Do this for each of the three skills you have identified.

Step 4: Plan the activity.

Choose one of your three skills to start with and plan out the activity in full. H5P tools are a great addition to learning activities but usually need to be contextualised. So now think about what your activity needs to look like for students to work through.

Step 5: Build it!

Once you have the plan then get stuck in and build the activity.

Here is the activity I have made based on this process, ‘Judging the Accuracy of Information’.

H5P Activity: Judging the Accuracy of Information

Let’s recap on what we have learnt.

For each pair of text options below, select the ones which describe the steps you can take to use H5P to create active online learning resources.

H5P Activity: Steps for using H5P to create active learning resources

Well that’s all folks. I hope you found this useful. If you have any corrections or suggestions feel free to comment below.


Teaching Diary #1: Preparing for effective learning

During the 13th and 14th of Jan 2016, I demonstrated in two practical (laboratory) classes for a first year biology unit, Cells and Genes. We were working through some examples of ‘Patterns of Inheritance’ which can be tricky stuff when first being introduced to the ideas. I was feeling pretty comfortable with my ability to teach  the prac because I had done it several times over the last few years. However, there were a few differences that helped me learn some  valuable lessons.


Multi-coloured corn kernels representing different genotypes and phenotypes.

The most important lesson was that for effective learning to occur ‘both teacher and students need to be prepared for the lesson’.

For me (the teacher), I was filling in for  friend who was away and because I had taken the prac before I thought it would be a walk in the park. It wasn’t! I didn’t receive the prac notes, or questions that the students needed to answer, until a couple of hours before the class started, and never got a version with the answers. While not having an answer sheet wasn’t a major problem for the questions based on theory, the prac required students to count flies and record their traits so that they could look at inheritance patterns over three generations. The numbers that they got in the first and second generations impacted all following questions so they needed to be pretty accurate. The problem was that it recording the correct fly traits was difficult.

After my first prac I recognised that a large amount of the difficulty students were having with the prac was becuase they lacked some fundamental knowledge about the science we were doing. This included knowing the following:

  • What chromosomes, genes and alleles are and what happens during meiosis.
  • Terminology such as genotype and phenotype.

Many of the students also seemed to have real difficulty making the conceptual link between a representation of biology, e.g. Rr, actually means biologically, e.g. Dominant Purple Allele-Recessive Yellow Allele. Some students found it very hard to understand that this was a representation of an individuals alleles and allowed you to predict what colour they would be.

Some students also seemed to lack the confidence to attempt an answer even if they knew what the answer was.

I found that after my first session I wanted to try and address a few of these issue, so during the second prac I tried to introduce the concept of chromosomes, genes and alleles and how they relate to each other. I also tried to relate the parents of a punnet square to the actual individuals that we were theoretically breeding.

I also recognised that students needed to want to engage with what we were discussing rather than simply going through the motions and waiting to be given an answer. Those students who were really engaging with what we were doing grasped the concepts better than those that were disengaged.

If I ever taught this topic again in the same setting I would probably look at including more of an introduction about the fundamental ideas behind inheritance, and make the ‘breeding’ more explicitly between individuals rather than the concept of individuals.

In future practical and tutorial classes I will begin by trying to establishing an understanding of students incoming knowledge and try to work from where the student is beginning.