E-Learning’s Y2K? What the Death of Flash Means for Your E-Learning Courses

Flashback…it’s 1999

You’re food shopping, and your grocery cart includes a whole canned chicken and other non-perishable foods because according to the latest news reports, either A) the world is going to end, or B) technology and banking infrastructure are going to blow up. Now fast-forward… it’s the end of 2020 and Flash is finally going away for good. Will you be shopping for canned chicken? Trust me, nobody wants to eat a whole chicken from a can!

Flash is Dying

The recent announcement from Adobe stating that they will finally stop updating and distributing the Flash plugin may have elicited a sigh of relief for some and Y2K-like panic for others. Or, you may be among those still wondering if it affects you. If you’ve spent years developing and delivering e-learning courses built with rapid e-learning tools; the short answer is yes – it probably does affect you. Why? And how did we get here? It’s a long story, but this short video sums it up nicely.

When Will Flash E-Learning Courses No Longer Work?

Most browsers started favoring HTML5 over Flash in the last year or so. Current browser behavior is expected to continue for the foreseeable future, but at some point, likely around the 2020 end-of-life of Flash, browsers will stop supporting the Flash plug-in entirely. In other words, they will stop letting your learners even install it. And, that’s when your Flash e-learning courses will no longer work.

Browsers that favor HTML5 currently still run Flash courses, but the learner has to elect to install and run the Flash plugin before the course content will display.

Converting Your Courses from Flash to HTML5

It’s time to take a long, hard look at some of your legacy courses. You may have courses that were built natively in Flash, now Adobe Animate. Or, you might have courses published to Flash from earlier versions of rapid development tools like Articulate Storyline or Adobe Captivate. No matter what type of Flash e-learning you have, now is the time to begin planning for Flash’s end-of-life. But where do you begin?

Maybe this interactive tool can help. By answering a few questions about your existing e-learning courses, you can plan for the future conversion of your Flash courses to HTML5. Are you ready?

The Time is Now

At Artisan E-Learning, we’re already helping some of our clients prepare for this final shift away from Flash. We recognize that many of you are preparing budgets for 2018. If you aren’t considering some of this Flash-to-HTML5 conversion effort in your 2018 budgets, that leaves you with only 2019 and part of 2020. Three years might feel like a long time, but depending on the volume of courses you have, you may need every bit of it.

In the meantime, authoring tools are upping their HTML5 game, and in the next 3 years, we expect to see improved HTML5 output and increased support for interactive course features in HTML5. Don’t be the one caught shopping for canned chicken—take the time now to start planning for and updating your Flash courses. Contact us and we’ll help you get started.

Tanya Seidel