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The Death of Flash: Convert Old Flash eLearning to HTML5

by Diane Elkins, Tanya Seidel

September 21, 2017


by Diane Elkins, Tanya Seidel

September 21, 2017

“If you have any Flash content that you want to be available in 2020 and beyond, now is the time to act. If you miss the 2018 budget cycle, you may not have enough time in 2019 and 2020 to convert your courses.”

This past July, Adobe announced that Flash will finally go away in 2020. Yes, it has been sick and dying for years, but still limped along, especially on older computers and browsers that didn’t support newer, HTML5 technology. What does this mean for us in the eLearning industry? It means that any Flash-only content will stop being usable to most learners. WIRED magazine specifically cited interactive learning as being one of the areas hit hardest by the death of Flash. When the day finally comes, no one will be able to install Flash on any new computers or browsers, and most browsers will block Flash from working on existing computers or browsers. So if you have any Flash content that you still want to have available in 2020, now is the time to act. Many companies are submitting budgets now for 2018. If you miss that cycle, then you’ll only have 2019 and 2020 to convert your courses, which may not be much time if you have quite a library. What’s involved in converting Flash courses into HTML5 courses? Use this interactive flow chart to find out.

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Depending on the content and need this can be a good opportunity (excuse) to redesign it as a True Responsive mobile friendly content. This falls under the "do it in another authoring tool" option usually, but for select content this can be worth it.
Yeahh see, that's what I was afraid of... that it is just a matter of "then output to HTML5!" No problem!" Thing is \\I don't know if The Rules prohibit me from going : read this: if but it does\\
Thing is, well, output the Captivate Pyramid Interaction to Flash. Then, output it to HTML5. Note the difference(S) ?

I think the flowchart needs a final step of "modify HTML/CSS/.js as needed to best recreate usability. But what are the chances your eLearning developer has done any WEB development in the past?
From the editor: No problem with your comment, MoxziDotCom. The last note in the chart does address the same issue. Thanks for the videos in your blog illustrating the problem in the case of the Captivate Pyramid. This would be something that some developers can handle, others won't know how to proceed. That's another reason (besides budget) to start checking courses now - find the ones where help will be needed, don't wait until 2020 to find out.
There are so many reason to adopt directly the open standards of HTML, CSS, and JS instead of going with proprietary elearning tools that would result in unreadable HTML, CSS, JS.

- Better building blocks to base your elearning, as they are standardized.
- The Open Source ecosystem is galvanized by open standards, which means when you adopt anything open-sourced you can vet its quality against open standards.
- companies big and small utilize and many are driven by open source, from sole proprietors to giants such as Google, Apple, Microsoft. Though the departments responsible for training and learning are slow to the adoption, you have already pointed out the inevitability of the HTML standards. Why not consider full adoption?
- widen the pool of people who can work on your project, b/c HTML, CSS, and JS are universal
- HTML, CSS, and JS have been carefully crafted and vetted by thousands and thousands of people, which often include contributions by established companies, such as the tech giants. Governing bodies of HTML, CSS, and JS (W3C, WhatG, ECMAScript) take great effort that subsequent versions are easier to read and work with, guarantee compatibility and support to specific dates, and can integrate better with other future technologies. This is in contrast to what usually occurs using proprietary elearning tools, which often result in being locked-in with the vendor or face a huge conversion cost.
- Flash used to fill a much needed gap of developing for interactive elearning user interfaces, which was a lacking feature with the open source standards at the time. The capabilities of HMTL, CSS, and JS has since surpassed the Flash-type application and proprietary tools counterparts. The maturity of these technologies now point to a environment with a global standard, along with a roadmap that follows an explicit and public roadmap and path to development.
- Learning HTML, CSS, and JS is good for building your overall tech skills, because they are so much more useful than just delivering content. Also, IMHO, they are skills that more marketable than knowing one specific tool to produce elearning content.
- Clean HTML, CSS, and JS (as opposed to machine generated) are easier than ever to build and make portable, hence easily reusable.

Check out Reveal.js as an example of an open source tool that could rival traditional presentation tools for elearning, like PowerPoint, for it's simplicity and features. This is a very popular application with web developers due to the ease in working with html, which is easy to use as portable, drop-in content. Plus, you can embed any html-based technologies, such as iframes, widgets, components, forms, youtube videos, etc, etc. Advanced implementations are easily achieved through the extensive Javascript ecosystem, giving it endless possibilities to develop, customize, and advance.
If you do not have source files, and the course is interactive, you have a better choice rather than just to rebuild the course from scratch.
You can convert your SWF files by using 3rd party cloud-based solutions, such as designed by
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