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Paul Mahar

The end of Flash: why it happened and what to do with your eLearning now

As of right now Flash is dead. Adobe first announced they'd be withdrawing Flash from the market back in 2017, and on 31 December 2020 the software was switched off for good. But for many years here at Inspire Group we used Flash to create loads of award-winning and engaging eLearning modules. The world loved Flash back in the early 2000s and the creative freedoms it allowed to build dynamic and interactive websites and eLearning. So what happened?

 

Why did Adobe Flash become obsolete? 

Some say the beginning of the end of Adobe Flash happened when Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced they'd no longer support Flash on their devices. Apple claimed it chewed into their device battery life and was slow and clunky to process. Other reasons included poor security and the fact that many other web companies and browsers (Facebook, Google, etc.) were heading toward open-web standards such as HTML5. 

Another big factor was that Adobe Flash was built for PCs and not mobile devices, so it is non-responsive and not made for touch screens. In today's world where people (learners) frequently switch devices, you need your learning to be accessible anywhere and from any device. 

For a great summary on Adobe Flash's demise, check out the short video below from Artisan eLearning:

 

Can I still access my Adobe Flash eLearning modules?

The short answer is, no. Adobe Flash is completely proprietary, so once they stop supporting and selling it, it essentially no longer exists. It is closed-source as opposed to open-source like HTML5. Adobe has advised that everyone immediately uninstall Flash Players from their devices.

Check this page from Adobe for all the details on what the Flash end of life means and how to uninstall:

https://www.adobe.com/nz/products/flashplayer/end-of-life.html

 

What do we do with our existing Flash eLearning modules?

If you have any Flash eLearning modules on your Learning Management System (LMS) that you still need your learners to access, your only option is to rebuild in another authoring tool.

BUT, if the original module was created in Articulate Storyline for example and published as Flash, you might be able to publish it as HTML5. This is still a maybe as HTML5 can publish differently on different browsers, so you'll have to thoroughly check there are no glitches. You will also need to dig out the original source files, which sometimes isn't as simple as you'd like.

When conversion isn't possible and you have to recreate from scratch, then we'd recommend you rebuild in an authoring tool that is HTML5 supported, such as Chameleon Creator or Articulate Storyline.

 

Why is HTML5 the way of the future?

There are many reasons, but below are our top two reasons: 

  1. It's accessible on all devices - so learners can access modules on any device, they're fast to download and can be accessed while offline.
  2. It's now the web standard and the most widely accessible format across all browsers.

Need help converting or recreating your Flash eLearning modules?

We have already helped many of our client's convert and recreate their Flash eLearning modules. First thing we recommend you should do is a full audit of your eLearning assets on your LMS. Then you can make a plan of how to refresh or rebuild any required modules.

So if you're not sure what to do and need some advice on your options, please get in touch to discuss.

Get in touch

 

Want to learn how to build eLearning in our fully HTML5-compatible authoring tool Chameleon Creator?

Learn more about how Chameleon Creator can be used to easily create beautiful learning that works seamlessly across all devices.

Chameleon Creator-1

Or book a demo with one of our friendly team to be stepped through the benefits of the tool:

BOOK A DEMO

 

What to read next:

The importance of visual design in learning design

If you enjoyed this article you'll want to read The importance of visual design in learning design where we share professional insight on the importance of visual design in learning design and tips on how learning designers can best collaborate with visual designers.

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