Flash Conversion Guide for Learning Developers

Flash Conversion Guide
for Learning Developers

After years of uncertainty, the rumors are true – Flash will reach its end-of-life on Dec. 31, 2020. As a result, many organizations will need to create a Flash conversion plan to ensure their eLearning courses are up-to-date and functional in 2021. If you think you might need to update your courses, read on to learn more about why Flash is going away and what you can do to prepare. (Already know you need to update? Download the Quick Guide to Flash Conversion for an interactive checklist you can use to get started!)

What Is Flash and How Does It Affect eLearning?

(if you’re already familiar, skip to the next section!)

Flash is a format used to display animations on websites or other interactive platforms, such as eLearning or online games. It was once widely used across the industry but has fallen out of favor due to multiple security flaws discovered over the years. When the time comes for end-of-life, Adobe will stop updating and distributing Flash and the most popular internet browsers will actively block the format. While many businesses may have already migrated their websites away from this Flash, one area they may not be considering is the wide usage of Flash in their learning departments, specifically when it comes to eLearning courses or custom learning tools. If you’re wondering, How can I make sure we are ready for this?, we’ve got the tools you need to create a Flash conversion plan.

Why Is Flash Going Away?

As analyst Jeffrey Hammond joked, “The writing’s been on the wall long enough.” While Adobe has often worked hard to close security flaws, their frequency and severity were too much for some of the leading browsers. Firefox and Chrome stopped supporting Flash a while ago, and Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer will soon follow suit. While these browsers have still allowed the use of Flash through plug-ins, after the 2020 deadline, they will actively block access to Flash. HTML5 has quickly become a preferred format for new browsers as a replacement for Flash.

What Does This Mean for Me?

Many eLearning courses leverage Flash as an output format that facilitates animations or interactions. Once Flash reaches end-of-life, these courses will cease to load in newer browsers. All courses you’d like to keep should be converted to a new format.

How Do I Know if My Courses Contain Flash?

If you are still delivering courses that were developed before 2016, then most likely your courses are affected. Courses developed post-2016 may have dual support for Flash and HTML5, but it depends on whether your authoring tools were kept up-to-date. If you’re not sure which courses are affected, you’ll have to check them individually or spot check across courses built in the same time frame with the same development tool. To check for Flash, run your course. Newer browsers will warn you and ask permission to run Flash. If you don’t see this prompt, right-click anywhere in the course when it’s running to check for a Flash menu.

How Do I Create a Flash Conversion Plan?

We recommend the following steps:

  1. Take Inventory – Identify all existing eLearning courses at your organization that may contain Flash (remember, courses made before 2016 are the most likely to use Flash).
  2. Clear the Clutter – Determine if any courses can be retired or discarded from the system. Do some of them provide training for systems you no longer use? Have older courses been replaced by newer learning materials? Toss what you don’t need before you dive into conversion.
  3. Create a Conversion List – Once you have a vetted list of courses, identify which ones use Flash as an output format. These are the courses that will need updated.
  4. Determine the Right Conversion Path – Not all course conversions should be the same. Figure out which path is the best for each course depending on its unique place in your learning environment: 1-to-1 conversion; convert and update; or rewrite and redesign. See our Flash Conversion Guide for more details on these paths.

How Should I Get Started?

When developing, updating, or converting a number of eLearning courses, you will want to build an agile working environment and design your production factory. Once you’ve decided which courses follow which conversion path, design your workflows, set the standards, and establish timelines. With those parameters in place, all that’s left is the work! Turn on the factory and begin converting your courses away from Flash in an intentional, efficient way.

Download the Resource

Need some extra help taking inventory of and making choices about your eLearning curriculum? Download our Quick Guide to Flash Conversion to help you develop your Flash conversion plan.

Want to learn more about developing a personalized plan for Flash conversion? We’d love to connect. Reach out using the Let’s Talk form below or by calling 859-415-1000.

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