nyone interested in microlearning will likely have heard of 7Taps in the past year or so. This plucky upstart has burst onto the scene offering quick and easy mobile course creation and quickly gained popularity.
While 7Taps is a fun tool, it has a number of limitations that may not make it the right tool for every business or individual.
In this article, we’ll review and compare HowToo and 7Taps to help you understand the different advantages and disadvantages of each tool.
As two newer authoring tool offerings, both HowToo and 7Taps are web-based platforms, meaning that they are both accessed through a web browser and do not require downloading and installing large packages.
Web-based (also known as cloud-based) platforms are the gold-standard in today’s way of working, as it allows teams to easily and instantly collaborate on shared projects. However 7Taps restricts these benefits to its most expensive plan by only offering one editor login for its more affordable plans. HowToo makes team collaboration more accessible by offering cheaper plan options for more than one editor login.
The most obvious aspect about 7Taps is that it caters exclusively to microlearning approaches. Microlearning is a tactic describing bite-sized courses around 5-10 minutes in length.
Microlearning is ideal for introducing uncomplicated concepts or procedures, or offering quick topic refreshers. While it excels as a solution for those requirements, it is not a sufficient approach for teaching large or more complicated topics, and is rarely appropriate for meeting compliance requirements. Many learning and instructional designers use microlearning as one part of a larger learning and development strategy.
7Taps exclusive focus on microlearning means that options for interactivity are extremely limited by authoring tool standards, and it is very difficult to deploy longer sections of text.
By contrast, HowToo does not focus exclusively on microlearning, but can be easily adapted for a microlearning approach simply by creating shorter courses.
As mentioned above, 7Taps offers very few options for interactivity. A standard 7Taps course offers just 5 page types:
- Text only
- Audio only
- Video only
- Button link only
- Multiple choice question only
This lack of variation can make it difficult to keep learners engaged for extended periods, as they are likely to get tired and bored of endlessly tapping their phone for the next card.
HowToo offers over 200 page types (called blocks). These blocks offer a wide range of different combinations of:
- Text and feature text
- Click-and-reveal cards and accordions
- Text entry
- Question types (more on that below)
This wide variety gives creators far more freedom and flexibility to design variation into their courses, while HowToo’s learning-science grounded approach means that all blocks are designed to reduce cognitive load and poor design.
7Taps is an exclusively microlearning tool. As a result, you can only create courses intended for smartphones with an interface focused on tapping through pages with a small amount of text, audio or video.
While it appears to be possible to embed 7Taps courses on web pages, the courses pages remain in a portrait phone shape and size, making for an uncomfortable and less engaging experience for tablet, laptop and desktop users.
By contrast, all courses created in HowToo automatically adapt to desktop, tablet and mobile screen sizes without any additional effort from the course creator. This allows creators to create not just microlearning mobile courses, but also long, more interactive and desktop-optimized courses.
Themes & branding
Both HowToo and 7Taps offer visual themes and branding options.
On its Free and Starter plan, 7Taps offers a library of themes that equate to preset backgrounds in bright colors and designs. While there is a large range option options available, users cannot upload custom backgrounds, or add their logo. Logos and one custom theme is available on the Pro plan, while unlimited custom themes are only available on the Enterprise theme.
HowToo allows creators on any of its plans to apply their logo, two brand colors and any background they like across all pages. It also offers a small range of visual themes, however these themes are designed to change the look of interface elements and change the style of navigation (e.g. horizontal vs. vertical, or scrolling vs paginated). Users on the Professional plan only can design an unlimited number of custom themes.
As briefly indicated above, 7Taps offers just one style of question for assessing learners: multiple choice. Only one option can be marked as the correct answer, and only generic feedback is available for learners, whether they selected a correct or incorrect answer.
By comparison, HowToo offers a much wider range of assessment options. Creators can choose from four primary question types:
- Multiple choice (with multiple correct answers available)
- Drag and drop
- True or false
These four types offer further options for adding images, audio and video elements to the blocks. Feedback text can be customized based on whether the learner answered correctly or incorrectly.
HowToo’s question blocks can be deployed in a formal, marked assessment section at the end of the course, or can be placed throughout the course for reflection or engagement without being marked.
HowToo also offers further settings that allow creators to set a minimum pass mark, randomize the order of questions, or even add additional pools of questions. These settings can be essential for compliance courses.a
Determining the accessibility of 7Taps courses is difficult as their website does not offer information related to digital accessibility. It is unclear if their courses are navigable with keyboards, or if their pages can be read by screen reading technologies.
While their audio and video page types offer an option described as “closed captions”, the input field does not allow for the uploading of .srt or .vtt files, only basic text entry, which suggests that their “closed captions” may just be basic transcripts.
Courses created in HowToo are WCAG 2.1 Level AA accessible, meaning they comply with an internationally recognised high standard of digital accessibility. Not only are they keyboard navigable, readable by screen readers and compatible with .srt and .vtt closed captioning files, HowToo offers an industry-first accessibility checker that allows users to easily find missing captions, H1 headings, alt text and more.
While 7Taps has received plenty of hype and chatter online, it is ultimately limited in its functionality and lags considerably in the realm of accessibility. While it may be suitable for individual creators it is unlikely to be a sufficient option for any large business or corporation.
While HowToo doesn’t offer the same singular focus on microlearning and mobile delivery, it offers far greater versatility and creation options than 7Taps that is ideal for businesses and organizations.