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eLearning and the Flash to HTML5 Conversion

  1. Pen Aaron Herget
  2. Calendar March 4, 2021

It’s easy to think of eLearning courses only in the context of what the learner sees. Clients review content and employees absorb information. It’s also important, however, to know how your tools work as well as what they do. The world isn’t static, and you need to be as flexible as possible to keep your business at the forefront of your industry.

A good example of how the earth keeps turning under our feet is the 2020 conversion of Flash to HTML5 as the near worldwide industry standard. Flash has been around since the 90s, and became commonly used across the web to view videos and play games. With Flash’s ubiquity, it’s easy to understand why many people were underprepared to make the move to HTML5 despite computer industry experts arguing for the change for years.

Why Flash Was Phased Out

The move was definitely warranted. Flash came with a variety of limitations and gaps in performance. The need for an embedded player, serious security issues, and some of the most common browser’s refusal to support the tool made Flash a less and less popular choice for developers. One of the biggest downsides, however, was Apple’s lack of support. Think of how many of your colleagues are holding iPhones right now and the issue becomes clear.

Flash came with a variety of limitations and gaps in performance.

What You Need to Know Now That HTML5 is the Standard

If some of your eLearning programs were built in Flash, the change would have immediately impacted your ability to conduct employee onboarding or offer performance support on-the-job. Though this may not be applicable to all of your current training assets, deciding what subjects need to be prioritized isn’t cut and dry. You will have to balance the cost and timeline of converting an asset with its impact on performance. Moreover, it may be easy to recreate some of your old assets in HTML5, but other content training assets will require creating a customized eLearning activity. Your business processes are unique and may have unique training development needs. So, here are some general questions you should ask to help make your choices when converting training:

  • What do you need for everyday work? If your employees don’t know how to supply your clients’ needs, why are they going to stay around?
  • What regulations are in play? Your state, province, and/or country are all going to have a say in what you can and can’t do. Keeping your people on the right side of the law isn’t something you can afford to put off until later.
  • What hits your bottom line? Your priorities have to include keeping your accounting ledger filled with black ink at the bottom of the page.

Make your choices wisely. Throwing darts to decide your strategy can’t be an option.

How to Stay Ahead of the Update

A big decision in the process of transforming old training assets will be whether to convert or redesign. Which option is best will vary based on the individual course, but converting where ever possible has the potential to be a major timesaver. It isn’t wise, however, to make conversion your default method. Each course or set of assets will have their own needs. Use your best judgement from a training project management perspective or rely on custom eLearning development companies to decide on a case-by-case basis whether conversion or a complete redesign is your best option.

Your business processes are unique and may have unique training development needs.

You may be tempted to convert Flash to HTML5 assets quickly, but it’s more important that your training content maintains instructional efficacy. Ideally, a redesign will improve the impact of your training by creating customized eLearning activities with the improved capabilities new authoring tools have to offer. Mozilla’s development blog provides excellent examples for your team to think about such as getting source files together, extracting the content that needs to move, and finding the right authoring tool for your new eLearning.

Conclusion

The Flash to HTML5 conversion isn’t optional or something for the distant future. We have to take it seriously and move quickly to keep our eLearning courses relevant to the new world without Flash. Significant resources have gone into making these courses relevant and available to employees. You’ll want to make the investment to stay current and move forward, and avoid losing valuable resources.

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