The Extinction of Flash – What It Means for Your Content

Extinction of Flash

Adobe Flash Player has been essential to eLearning for the past 20 years, and its extinction at the end of this year will have a significant impact on Flash-based eLearning content. What does this mean for you and your organization and what options do you have? What will you need to do to prepare for this change? In this blog post, we’ll address why this change is significant and how you can address it now.

The Impact
At the end of 2020, your SWF flash-based eLearning content will no longer work on any browser. This renders your current flash-based content useless.

What Are My Options?
Currently, you can publish all SCORM packages to SWF Flash, HTML/HTML5 or a combination of both. SWF Flash has been the preferred publishing method for years, but it was not consistently supported across platforms, including Apple devices. It will be important for organizations to move away from this method with the extinction of the Flash player plugin. Our recommendation is to publish your eLearning content to the HTML5 only output. HTML5 is up-to-date and current, works on all devices and allows learners to launch SCORM courses from their browser without the use of a plugin. These enhancements are typically not supported by outdated browsers, so you will want to ensure you are running a more modern browser as your organization makes the shift to HTML5 content.

When Should I Convert?
NOW! Understanding the impact the extinction of flash will have on your organization is essential. Begin by determining how many courses you currently have deployed that contain SWF Flash. Next, take inventory of your course catalog to determine how large of a conversion project you are facing. Depending on the amount of SWF Flash content you uncover, you may find yourself with a very large conversion project to complete in a very short period. Assuming you have your course source files (not just the published SCORM files), updating your eLearning courses may consist of the following steps:

1. Open your courses in their original authoring tool. Make adjustments as needed and republish out as HTML5.

2. Open your courses in their original authoring tool. Some motion effects in your current content, such as text transitions, may not translate during HTML5 publishing. If so, you will need to re-build some content within your course and republish out as HTML5.

3. Some courses may have been built within an authoring tool that does not support HTML5 publishing. In this case, you will need to completely re-build your course in an authoring tool that supports HTML5 publishing.

4. If you do not have the original authoring tool source files, a rebuild of the entire course is necessary using an authoring tool that supports HTML5 publishing.

Note: You must have access to the original authoring tool source files to update a course, even if you’re just looking to republish to an HTML5 output.

Moving Forward
If you are responsible for creating your organization’s eLearning content, remember to keep the following things in mind in order to have a successful migration now and set your organization up for success in the future:

  • Always maintain a source file repository so you can update courses as content needs change and as technology evolves.
  • Make sure you are creating HTML5 courses so they are responsive and will adapt to a wide variety of device sizes.
  • Always keep you authoring software up to date.
  • Do not publish out any new courses as SWF Flash.

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