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Last updated: 01.03.18

Flash has an end date – don’t let your e-learning end with it

Way back when we and other fresh faced pioneers of learning technology started creating e-learning the sole tool we all used was Flash. The digital multimedia platform allowed us to create highly interactive visual media that was used in most e-learning pieces throughout the world. In the early days of HTML you just couldn’t support complex graphics and video which is where Flash was great.

Then, as we started to move through the noughties and beyond, the world became mobile. People wanted to access the internet on the go – hence the explosion in smartphones and tablets. This wasn’t great news for Flash or those who created multimedia content with it; the processing power needed from mobile devices to play Flash-based content was too much and started to signal Flash’s decline.

The final nail in the coffin to Flash was delivered by Steve Jobs, CEO at Apple, when he announced that the iPod, iPhone and iPad would not support Flash. Overnight, this pretty much signalled the death knell for Flash. And now, with Adobe announcing that Flash will be fully phased out by the end of 2020, it seems like the end is finally in sight.

Where does this leave content now?

Well, there’s a whole host of mobile-friendly content designed using a mixture of JavaScript, CSS and particularly HTML5. There is also a whole load of Flash-based content sat in the depths of organisations’ LMSs. The number of courses could well run into the 100s when you look at the size of some organisations and their learning needs and audience.

However, just because the content is in Flash doesn’t mean the content should be consigned for the scrapheap. Some of the content will be great and may well be widely used by your workforce. For this reason alone, simply leaving it go completely obsolete is not a wise move.

So how do you go about converting your content?

Those with a large catalogue of Flash-based e-learning may be completely overwhelmed by the size of the task. To help with this, we’ve pulled together three key points to focus your thinking:

  1. Audit – a clear content map of what Flash assets you have is necessary. Then you can start to work out what you need to redesign, convert or bin.
  2. Learning landscape – I bet your workplace has changed in the last decade, so your e-learning probably should change as well! How do your learners like to access content? Where do they access content? Review old evaluations and usage figures to see what your learners are thinking.
  3. Plan – once you have a clearer idea of the assets you hold, you need to plan your workload. Are you going to resource this internally or externally? If internal, create a priority order and draw up a project plan with a project manager to monitor progress.

Updating your e-learning catalogue

With all change comes opportunity. The demise of Flash provides a great chance to review your current catalogue of e-learning, not only for its Flash assets but to really dig down into usage, trends and feedback from your audience. This will allow you to streamline and modernise your digital learning offering to ensure your workforce has access to the right tools in the optimal format.

For more information on converting your Flash e-learning and keeping your content up-to-date, get in touch with Virtual College. Contact Cameron Glennon at cameron.glennon@virtual-college.co.uk or Matt Dickinson at matthew.dickinson@virtual-college.co.uk.

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