Flash once held sway over eLearning development thanks to its ability to create a wide range of interactivities and animations. Though its usage gradually diminished with the increasing number of easy-to-use authoring tools, Flash elements still persist in courses running today.
When Steve Jobs decided not to support Flash in any iOS device including Apple’s iPads and iPhones, the tide began to turn. With most major mobile devices and browsers blocking Flash output and Adobe announcing that it will discontinue its support after 2020, the glorious Flash era is soon to coming to a complete end.
Apart from their inability to play on mobile devices, older Flash courses also have some characteristics that are not so attractive to the present-day learner:
If you have been using eLearning since the last decade, it is highly likely you still use courses developed in authoring tools which contain Flash components. Courses developed in Flash and courses that use Flash components are collectively referred to as ‘legacy courses’.
With Flash becoming obsolete, converting these courses to HTML5 will help you extend their utility without needing to spend the money to re-create everything from scratch. Before we get into that, let’s first look at the various reasons that led to the end of Flash.
By converting Flash courses to HTML5, you can continue to enjoy returns on the initial investment.
HTML5 is an open source markup language. It does not need any plugins, is compatible across platforms, and is not going to become obsolete as it isn’t a proprietary product.
Compared to Flash with its plugins that made a device vulnerable to security threats, HTML5 offers robust security.
With learners having uninterrupted access to courses, learning becomes a continual process.
Learners are no longer restricted to one device to access learning resources.
Converting your Flash and other legacy courses to the HTML5 format will immediately make them accessible to new-age learners the Millennials. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this age group will comprise 75% of the workforce by 2030.
The other benefits that would accrue would be:
Your answer is obviously a “NO”. Flash to HTML5 conversions can be done in 4 different ways depending on what you wish to accomplish.
What exactly are these 4 ways of conversion – RECORD, REPUBLISH, REBUILD, and REDESIGN?
The complexity involved in the conversion process increases toward the right.
So when do you choose what? Read on for an easy way toward the right strategy.
With its low learning curve and easy-to-use features, Storyline is the first option for Flash to HTML5 conversion. This tool can easily replicate Flash interactivities, and for those that don’t have the exact match, it offers best-fit alternatives.
The Fluid Box feature of Captivate 2017 makes it easy to make your Flash-based courses responsive. Though the learning curve is steeper than Storyline, Adobe Captivate is the go-to tool when your Flash courses have a lot of simulations.
Text-heavy Flash courses can be converted responsive to HTML5 with surprising ease using Lectora Inspire. It also offers excellent support to translations with its unique switchable interface feature. Not to forget the scope for collaborative development offered by Lectora Online.
The iSpring Suite offers quick conversions of PPTs to learner-centric courses with its range of features that support the inclusion of videos, dialog simulations, and a variety of assessments. So, if you have storyboards, iSpring is a time-saver.
Flash to HTM5 conversion is a 5-step process that starts with gathering existing resources, evaluating and prioritizing them based on your requirements, and choosing the right conversion strategy.
If approached in a streamlined manner (like the process shared earlier), the Flash to HTML5 conversion process is not a very difficult task. You can definitely handle it yourself if you have just a handful of courses to be converted.
But what if you need to convert thousands of courses to HTML5, developed in different authoring tools and with Flash elements? The sheer quantum of work involved calls for robust project management, and not all courses will have the same requirements. For example, a few might just need straightforward republishing to a new tool, others might involve updating content, while yet a few more might need to be improved instructionally.
Estimating the work involved for each course, identifying and sequencing activities, estimating the duration, establishing workflows, planning for contingencies – all these factors impact the success of your conversion exercise. Quality checks and measures also have to be planned for right at the start and integrated seamlessly into the conversion process.
Ensuring quality involves:
Before you decide to outsource your Flash to HTML5 conversions, take a close look at the pros and cons. If you have to convert just a couple of courses, maybe your in-house team can do it. However, if you need to convert a large number of courses, the project management required is at a totally higher level. In such a case, it is better you outsource the project to a qualified vendor.
When you decide to outsource the conversion, choosing a reliable partner is very important to ensure success. So, what are the parameters on which you can select your conversion-partner?
Ask the shortlisted vendors these 5 questions:
A Snippet of the First Case Study: Achieving Scale in Flash to HTML5 Course Conversions
Requirement: Convert 1500+ courses developed in Flash and with Flash elements to HTML5, for multi-device compatibility.
Flash to HTML5 conversions will help you maximize your training ROI by extending your investment in Flash courses. However, due to the magnitude of the work and complexity involved, you might have a tough time getting the budget approved.
Put together a convincing business case that’ll highlight the difficulties learners will face when Flash courses are discontinued, the benefits of converting – in clear monetary terms, the effort involved, and a clear cost-benefit analysis.
Here are some templates and checklists you can leverage to enjoy a smooth, successful Flash to HTML5 conversion.
For more comprehensive insights into the 4 conversion strategies – the 4 ‘R’s – download this eBook on the Flash to HTML5 Conversion Strategies.