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The same thing that happened to the cassette, the Walkman, the CD, and the old school mobile phone, is happening to Adobe Flash. Flash is becoming obsolete and Adobe is taking it out of use. Now is the time to think about converting your eLearning training courses from Flash to HTML5.
This multimedia software platform, formerly known as Macromedia Flash and Shockwave Flash, has been used to create internet, desktop, and mobile applications, as well as animations and mobile games. Flash can capture PC inputs (mouse, keyboard, microphone, camera). It stopped being useful for newer generations of mobile phones simply because of its slow loading times.
HTML5 is a solution stack. It is a complete software platform that doesn't require other software for running applications. It is used to run complex web applications and cross-platform mobile applications. HTML5 offers backward-compatibility and is often preferred by developers because of its enhanced functionality.
Any transition to a newer 'model' comes with a cost. So, how do you reduce costs while transferring your eLearning training courses from Flash to HTML5?
Take a look at your instructional designs and ask the following questions:
Are they usable?
Can users relate to the course design?
Is the design of your course still considered modern?
Are the learning requirements still valid?
If the answer to all of the above questions is yes, then all you need to do is convert the Flash course to HTML5 using the conversion of your choice. Otherwise, you might need to invest a bit of money for a successful course refresh.
The same process as above can be used to figure out whether or not you can reuse your graphic design elements. Ask yourself or your designer some hard questions. See if you can reuse certain elements and what new elements need to be created or rebranded.
This one is simple! If you do not have the original audio files, more often than not you'll be able to extract the audio from your old Flash course. This will save you quite a few pennies since recording the whole course all over again can be very expensive.
Recording the video portions of your training course will definitely save you a lot of money in the long run. If the quality of your Flash-based video is high, then you'll want to use a video recording software to extract the best parts of the course for later integration with HTML5.
Provided your Flash-based courses are in really good shape, there are a few steps you can follow to migrate the courses to HTML5:
You'll first need to take stock of what materials you have. An .flv or .swf extension indicates that a file is Flash-based. Refer back to your initial instructional design files. You'll be able to source video and audio files, animations, graphics, and other useful content that you can include in your new HTML5 course.
Next, you'll need to evaluate the materials and categorize them based on the resources available. You might have courses that were directly developed in Flash, that require a Flash player, or that contain Flash components. Based on this, you will need to group the content without source files, with pertinent content, useful convertible components, and courses that need a complete do-over, together.
This will help you figure out which courses can be retired, redesigned, or can be converted immediately.
Your course of action will differ depending on each category and its requirements. For courses that are missing source files, the process can be longer. You'll most likely need to remake these courses from scratch with HTML5.
The files that contain relevant information can be republished with newer versions of the authoring tool they were first published with. This will give you the opportunity to choose an authoring tool that allows HTML5 output.
If you have courses with Flash-based elements that you need to keep, finding the right development software is crucial. Similarly, courses that might need a complete redesign will benefit from a new instructional design analysis.
Now that you have your categories and the relevant plan for conversion, you'll need to treat each course based on its conversion requirements. If you have simple, low-interaction courses with missing source files, your best bet is to record them in MP4 format. You'll use these later while building the course in HTML. A similar treatment might be needed for courses that need a redesign. Still, these courses might call for a more complex instructional design strategy since you might need to include various learning delivery methods, such as microlearning or computer-based learning.
Using the right authoring tool is crucial, as this will allow you to retain Flash elements while outputting to HTML5.
Converting eLearning courses from Flash to HTML5 doesn't have to be a difficult process. Make a checklist of the steps and be sure to do the proper planning beforehand. If you need more insights, check out our other useful blog posts. Otherwise, delegate the work to a professional company that can quickly convert the courses for you.