Adapt Learning

Short Description:

It is an open-source HTML5 authoring software and is designed to create a responsive learning product on multiple devices through their Learning Pool Adapt Builder site. You enter a topic by tapping or clicking on the block and then scrolling the page, working your way through the content, opening and closing tabs in narrative sequences, image hotspots, and other interactive tools. Adapt creates HTML5 e-learning courses, which work on any device.



The open-source version:


  • It’s free
  • It consists of two products. The Framework and the Authoring Tool
  • It gives you the most control over branding and theming. This requires you to know some at least basic CSS.
  • You have control over version updates so you can always have the latest version built into core Adapt
  • You can import and export from one environment to another. You could create a course in the Framework, import into your authoring tool and then export into another friend’s authoring tool etc.
  • It’s still not the most polished experience out there due to the need to install and configure plugins etc.


A hosted version provided by a company like Learning Pool, Can Studios or Adapt Unlimited:


  • They will set you up with an instance of the Adapt Authoring Tool on a server so you (and anyone you may work with) can access it anywhere. No technical knowledge required.
  • Each has their own varying level of additional features. Like their own themes, components, more polished UI, review tools. These additional features can make courses incompatible with open source Adapt. Adapt Unlimited (my own service) is based purely on OS Adapt.
  • With large tenancy based versions. Framework updates can take ages due to problems with breaking existing courses. I think Learning Pool is still on version 2 of Adapt.
  • You have to pay a per-user licence fee of between $800 – 2000 per year


Adapt learning allows you to create a multi-device responsive learning product through their Learning Pool Adapt Builder site. It has built-in interactive elements such as image hotspots and multimedia files. It has 6 different types of customizable questions, including multiple choice graphics, correspondence and cursor.

All the documentation is clear and concise here. There are 276 plug-ins (listed here)

Rather than having an old fashioned left-hand menu, menu blocks are presented on the first page so that it has a web-like feel. You enter a topic by tapping or clicking on the block and then scroll down the page working your way through the content, opening and closing tabs in accordions, narrative sequences, and image hotspots, just to name a few of the interactive tools on offer. It is a highly visual resource, as text scrolls above the image or images can be placed next to the text. The right selection of images works nicely as signposts for the content. Overall it is intuitive to figure it out from a learner point of view. Here are their showcase examples.

You can watch videos, listen to audios with transcripts, and complete quizzes. Audio and video content as an mp3 and mp4 file work beautifully in this responsive design as it resizes according to the device you are using. However, you do have to be mindful of the appropriate file size unless it is a link from YouTube or Vimeo. Transcripts for audio and video can also be added in a number of ways – as an open and close transcript button or a pop-up window.

Document resources can be added as a link within the content and/or in a separate resources menu. This is useful, because if there is a lot of content then the learner can download it and read it offline in their own time.

Adapt scales really well with large teams. A single developer can create a theme and set up an environment for their whole team and everyone can work together on a single server-based instance of Adapt. It can be technically challenging for inexperienced developers. Limited functionality compared to commercial alternatives.

The support is mainly in the form of a user forum on GitHub.

Guidelines for Installation

The manual installation of the Adapt framework is here.


Before you begin

Installing Adapt requires the use of the command line. If your skills are a little rusty, the wiki article Just Enough Command Line for Installing might be all the assistance you need.


Adapt does not require you to be an expert with the command line, just familiar with basic terminology and techniques.



Before you get started with Adapt, you will need to install Node.js (the LTS version) and Git if you haven’t already done so. Once you’ve got both Git and Node.js installed, the other components you’ll need can be installed with the Node Package Manager – AKA npm – which comes installed with Node.js


The Adapt framework consists of three main parts:


  1. The ‘source’ – the files you’ll need to edit/work with, located in a folder called ‘src’
  2. A ‘task runner’ – called Grunt – which takes the ‘source’ files and compiles them into:
  3. The ‘build’ – this folder contains the course that you will eventually upload to a web server or Learning Management System.


The release of v0.10.0 makes it possible to import a course that was built in an older version of the Adapt framework into your authoring tool . With v0.10.0 of the authoring tool, when you attempt a cross-framework import a screen tells you what the import is going to do to the course.

When importing content from a different framework version, the authoring tool will examine each plugin used in the course for compatibility. It uses a traffic light system to tell you whether that plugin is supported in the authoring tool you are using, and consequently whether the import is possible. The categories are:

  • White – These plugins, as used in the course, match the version used in the authoring tool so there’s no problem. They won’t even appear on the import details screen.
  • Green – Your authoring tool uses a newer version of this plugin and the plugin in the course will be updated automatically, by the authoring tool, during import.
  • Amber – The version of these plugins in your course are either not compatible with this authoring tool, or a newer version is already installed. The imported course will use the authoring tool’s existing version. You should test your course once imported.
  • Red – These plugins are not supported in this authoring tool. You must remove or update these plugins before you can continue with the import.

So long as your course doesn’t have any red-rated plugins you will be able to import it; the imported course will now use the version of framework that your authoring tool runs on.

If any red plugins are present the import is blocked. You will need to edit the course in an authoring tool using the framework the course was built with to remove/update these before you can try importing again.

Official Website and link to download

Platform for Development

It is a complete authoring standalone solution. Requires installation and configuration of the Adapt framework on a PC or local server.

Generated Content

The Adapt Framework creates HTML5 e-learning courses. They may be delivered with a web server or a with SCORM compliant learning management system. The Adapt framework powers the Adapt authoring tool, an easy to use design tool for creating Adapt courses.

The Adapt tool works for both to present your learning product as a learning resource or an online course. As a learning resource, it sits nicely within a Learning Management System in a blended learning context.  As an online course, it can provide all the information a learner needs.

You can add assessments through quizzes. By setting up the appropriate extensions that work with your Learning Management System and with a bit of IT support you should see the results in the grade book. There is a range of question types that suits knowledge testing. It is difficult to have a reflective question though, one that doesn’t require precise correct/incorrect feedback. So one way around this is to use the open text quiz which has the option of providing a model answer or feedback only.