Flash is dead. Here’s how to save your courses

It’s almost time to say a collective farewell to Adobe Flash.

By 2020, Flash will be unsupported, making it all but obsolete for your learning team and your workforce. While the general public has moved on and tech giants have almost completely phased out the program, the learning and development world is scrambling to ensure their courses remain functional, secure, and effective.

For many years, instructional designers have used Adobe Flash to create learning content. Flash enabled designers to enhance text-heavy eLearning with graphical elements, video, and early gamification. As it stands, unless learners manually enable Flash on a site-by-site basis, Flash content is blocked.

Do I need to republish my courses?

The question isn’t so much if you need to do it, but how quickly you can. If you’re still educating learners with Flash courses, they may not even be able to see them, let alone learn from them.

What happened to Flash?

Flash started a slow decline beginning in 2005. So slow, in fact, that we’re still bidding it farewell more than a decade later.

In 2005, when Apple created the first iPhone, Apple’s developers realized that supporting Flash required excessive battery power, which didn’t make sense for mobile devices. The tech company stopped supporting Flash and began looking for a new solution. YouTube followed close behind and switched to HTML5, the web language that most developers use today.
Later, Google announced that it would eventually block Adobe Flash content on Chrome because it was quickly becoming unusable by most browsers. In 2016, Google eliminated Flash and made HTML5 the default way to display website content.

Again, unless learners manually enable Flash on a site-by-site basis, Flash content is blocked.

What does Flash’s Decline Mean for Learning and Development?

Many learners don’t realize that they need to enable Flash for every site or every course. Content that used to start automatically will now remain paused or hidden until a learner finds the right button to enable it.

Learners are also unable to view Flash courses on mobile devices like tablets and smartphones. As mobile learning becomes more popular, so does HTML5. Because HTML5 works seamlessly across multiple devices and responds to different screen sizes, it has become the industry standard for mobile eLearning.

To make your learning courses modern and accessible, you’ll need to convert them to HTML5. Not only does HTML5 run on more devices, but it offers better security for your learners, it’s faster, and it’s responsive for mobile channels.

But I have a library of Flash courses. Now what?

If you’ve designed past courses in an authoring tool that has the ability to publish in both Flash and HTML5, in most cases, you can simply use that tool to republish them in HTML5.

If you find, however, that your legacy courses were designed and published with Flash, or an authoring tool that didn’t output HTML5, you’ll need to migrate those courses from Flash to HTML5.

The migration process can take hundreds of hours of time and requires expertise in both platforms. Many companies with smaller learning and development teams simply can’t handle this level of conversion in-house.

Roundtable Learning is currently working with many organizations to handle this process, which frees up learning and development teams to focus on new strategy and content.

Our in-house staff can dedicate the time and expertise required to convert Flash courses and even modernize the design and content as needed. We also publish our courses in HTML5 so they’re automatically ready for learners on any platform.

Are you able to republish your Flash courses? If you’re unsure, we can help you determine the right process. If you’re concerned that your learners can’t access old courses, or you’re worried that all of your Flash courses will become obsolete, give us a call.