What You Need to Know to Convert Your Flash Courses to HTML5

Flash is finished. Kaput. Well and truly defunct. It’s past time to get serious about moving Flash courses to HTML5.

The demise of Flash unrolled over several years, lulling many eLearning creators into thinking they had time to address this problem. But at the end of 2020, the time for delay ran out. If you’ve got legacy eLearning content that you didn’t convert from Flash to HTML5, you may be wondering what to do now. Do you have to discard all of that content and start over? Or is there a way to salvage some of your deep investment from many years of online training development?

We’re here to help, with suggestions for moving forward, as well as a team of experienced eLearning professionals who can provide guidance and assistance as you work through the process of updating your online training for the post-Flash eLearning environment.

What happened to Flash?

The phase-out of Flash occurred for many reasons:

  • Flash uses old technology, designed for the PC era.
  • Flash eLearning is inefficient on mobile devices.
  • Security issues steered developers away from Flash as better options (like HTML5) emerged.

Flash was used for animations, games, and other features in a huge variety of apps and online programs — including a lot of eLearning. These features no longer work. It’s possible to salvage some of that content and move Flash eLearning to HTML5. Doing so can be costly and time-consuming, though, so it’s essential to plan your transition wisely.

Why move to HTML5 eLearning courses?

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Transitioning your eLearning library from Flash to HTML5 is no longer optional: Flash components simply no longer work. HTML5 offers these benefits:

  • Mobile-friendly HTML5 content works easily on any digital device and any browser.
  • You can create more types of eLearning using HTML5, including eLearning courses and microlearning, as well as content in different formats and media.
  • It’s easy to integrate graphics, games, animations, and video into your HTML5 eLearning content.
  • HTML5 eLearning is the industry standard.

So, what do you DO with all that legacy Flash eLearning content?

Your choices are clear: Migrate Flash eLearning to HTML5 or abandon it. The Flash content simply is no longer usable. Doing this conversion is a multistep process, described in the next sections. Note that choosing to migrate Flash courses to HTML5 does not mean you have to do it all yourself. Flare Learning can help with any or all of the steps in the transition process.

Step-by-step: Flash eLearning to HTML

Perform a training audit

Start by auditing and evaluating your entire library of legacy eLearning content that uses Flash. Be honest; there’s no point in investing in trying to revitalize ineffective eLearning. During your audit, look critically at each asset: 

  • If a course is old and outdated, if it relates to processes or tools that no one uses anymore, or you could get better and more relevant off-the-shelf content, let it go.
  • If you still need in-house training on the topic but the course itself is hopelessly dated, consider starting over and creating new online training. The great news is that now you have so many more options for delivery media and online training format than you did a decade ago when your content might have been designed. And modern HTML5 authoring tools make the process easy!

Those options might cover much of your content, but what about the rest? What do you do with those courses that people want and need to use because the content is essential, but the Flash components make them unusable? Move on to the next step.

Prioritize Flash courses to convert to HTML5

Consider your remaining content, the candidates for Flash to HTML5 eLearning conversion: It’s likely that any animations, videos, interactivities — anything that brings your content to life — are unusable. It’s also likely that your branding and messaging have changed and that much of the content is due for an update, even if only to make it more accessible and inclusive.

List the content and prioritize. In ranking content, consider whether you still have source files, storyboards, and other building blocks from when you created the content.

Identify & convert the easy ones

If you used an authoring tool to create the eLearning, it’s possible that a current version of that — or another — authoring tool can help. Up-to-date versions of popular eLearning authoring tools, such as Articulate 360, Lectora Inspire, Elucidat, and Adobe Captivate, may be able to convert your older source files to HTML5 content.

Be cautious, though: Running outdated content through a Flash to HTML5 authoring tool gets you usable but still outdated eLearning. That process does not address necessary changes and updates — in language, in images, in training approach, and, yes, in facts and in learning goals. And the new course will not always work as expected, especially if you fail to rework key elements first. Potential problems include:

  • Problems with conversion crop up that defy easy explanation (or resolution). Software has changed significantly over the years, and the old coding, mixed with the new authoring tool, can be unpredictable.
  • Some elements simply cannot be converted. They need to be rebuilt. The features that existed years ago to create a game or an animation or a quiz don’t exist anymore.
  • You might not have all of the source files you need to convert a course.
  • The authoring tool you used no longer exists or doesn’t support HTML5 conversions, and your current tool cannot correctly interpret your source files.

Once your content is rebuilt, be sure to test it thoroughly, ideally with actual learners, and follow our recommended quality assurance process.

Flare Learning is available to help!

Contact us to get a quote to convert your Flash Courses to HTML5!

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Update and innovate

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Updating your remaining high-priority content offers the opportunity to innovate and branch out beyond SCORM eLearning courses into microlearning, audio and video content, games, animations, and more. New formats can increase learner engagement, produce better results, and build long-term retention of your improved training products.

Modernize your eLearning courses

Starting with the basic skeleton of your content — the outline, maybe the basic text, the storyboard if you have one — have an instructional designer go through it. Consult with an SME to get the latest information. Reevaluate the learning goals and revise as needed. With your edited text and modern authoring tools, you can dramatically update and redesign the content as you move it into HTML5. It’s a lot of work, but it’s preferable to starting from scratch.

You can add assets like knowledge check activities, resources in additional media formats, such as linked or embedded videos and podcasts. Take this opportunity to enhance accessibility with alt text for images, transcripts and captions for audio and video content, and greater learner control of text size, color, and contrast. This is also a great time for a diversity audit. Do the images, characters, and personas in your eLearning reflect your learner population and the diverse community where your business operates?

Rebuilding eLearning courses is a lot of work, but it pays off when your online training library is current, relevant, and engaging.

Consider converting your Flash eLearning to HTML5 microlearning

The world of online training has changed significantly since you launched your Flash eLearning courses — SCORM courses are far from your only online training option. Consider moving some of your legacy eLearning to HTML5 mobile-first microlearning.

Microlearning offers a wealth of benefits: It is focused and relevant, which boosts learner engagement. It leverages proven learning science principles like spaced repetition, which builds learners’ long-term retention of training content. Creating and updating content is generally faster and less costly than creating comprehensive eLearning courses. And microlearning offers learners flexibility and control over where, when, and how they consume their online training.  

Rather than processing your updated content to create a new SCORM-compliant eLearning course, you’ll need to redesign the content as short, focused microlearning units and create content that works with your microlearning platform.

Some microlearning platforms, such as OttoLearn, include integrated content authoring tools, making it easy to quickly create and deploy up-to-date microlearning to your learners.

You are not alone

The work in evaluating, updating, and re-creating a vast library of legacy Flash eLearning content might seem overwhelming: It requires the same skills and resources as designing and developing new online training content and assets. The demands of converting a library of legacy Flash eLearning courses to HTML5 led many learning and development (L&D) teams to simply put off the inevitable. Now that the day of reckoning has arrived, and the Flash content no longer works, these teams and their organizations need solutions.

If that describes your situation, you’re not alone. If your L&D team doesn’t have the resources — or you need the updated training materials quickly — we can help. Call in reinforcements to assist with moving your Flash courses to HTML5. Request a quote from the Flare Learning team today!

Leverage the Flare Learning team’s knowledge & experience

A learning consultant from Flare Learning can conduct your initial training audit and recommend which courses to jettison and which to modernize, for example. They’re experienced professionals who will take the time to understand your organization’s needs and goals — and ensure that your online training strategy aligns with these objectives.

Our learning consultants are backed by a team of eLearning experts, who will provide any additional services and assistance you require, such as:

  • Assistance with eLearning design, selection of a delivery medium and format, and more
  • Creation or revision of content, images, video, animations, and more
  • Design of interactivities, knowledge checks, effective quizzes, and meaningful feedback
  • Testing for accessibility and ensuring that eLearning meets WCAG and other applicable standards
  • Translation and localization services for content targeting global learner populations
  • Thorough testing and quality assurance

Flare Learning uses a flexible pricing model that accommodates every organization’s unique needs and constraints. And we’ll work on your schedule: Your high-priority projects will be ready on the timeline you determine.

If you’re ready to transform your online training from Flash to HTML5 eLearning, contact the Flare Learning team today.

Get the help you need to make sure your eLearning courses are properly transitioned from Flash

At Flare Learning, we can provide you with a free quote to convert your Adobe Flash eLearning courses into a new, useable format!

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