A modified Ray Charles Album Cover 'Hit the Road Flash'

Converting E-Learning Solutions from Flash to HTML5

A Plan for Converting Your E-Learning Solution from Flash to HTML5

Flash is hitting the figurative road, as Innovative Learning Group Business Development Director Tom Petro recently blogged so eloquently in “Yikes! Flash is going away.” Its upcoming departure is causing companies to dust off their e-learning catalogs and decide if it’s time for an upgrade. To help these efforts, ILG held a webinar called “Ins and Outs of Flash Conversion” to discuss a process to convert Flash courses to HTML5.

Deciding if you should stick with your current tool, upgrade to a new version, or go with an entirely new tool can be tricky enough, but adding the need to root out Flash content that could be hidden in the nooks and crannies of your e-learning course (such as in libraries, on pages as a video player, or as extra content included as a web object) can mean a nightmare-inducing project ahead! Is all hope lost? How do you do find this “hidden” Flash, and what do you do with it once it’s found?

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” `H.P. Lovecraft

Don’t give into the fear. Rest assured there’s hope for you to attain a Flash-free future. In fact, there’s a three-step process!

  1. Investigate

Determine how the Flash content is being used. Ask yourself: “What was its purpose? How did it function?”

  1. Identify

Does your new tool have a similar interaction or feature that could be used to recreate the content? If not, is there another method that will support the same learning outcome?

For example, if the Flash content was used to print a certificate, does the new tool support a certificate feature? If not, could you reproduce the certificate in HTML5 and import it as a web object?

If the answer to both of the questions is no, go to Step 3.

  1. Inquire

If a similar feature or method isn’t available, revisit what you determined in Step 1 regarding the use and function of Flash. Ask yourself how the learning objective can be supported using another tool that’s available to you. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box or even bring in others to brainstorm solutions.

When going through the steps, don’t get caught up in looking for the perfect, exact replacement. Sometimes, the simplest solution is the best.

For example, if you have Flash-based content that’s just an animation, can you capture it and include it as a video? Could you bring the content into your new or updated tool and redo the animations there instead? It does not have to be an exact one-to-one conversion — the point is to get the same message across.

I recently encountered this while writing a proposal to convert a Flash course to Storyline 360. The original course has a page with text and a photo gallery created in Flash, which allows the learner to cycle through photos with a text caption. Storyline 360 doesn’t offer a similar feature out of the box. I broke the problem into its components (show photos with labels, allow user navigation) and then came up with two proposed solutions:

  1. Create a near replication of the original using HTML5 and JavaScript and include it as a web object, or
  2. Create something similar using Storyline’s built in layers, which would keep the interaction but would function a little differently (the photos would fade in and out instead of sliding up and down).

There are pros and cons to each option. But because of the need to update the content on a regular basis and the time allotted for the project, I recommended Option 1.

If the Flash-based content is more interactive in nature, break it down into its basic components, just like I did with the photo gallery. Work out the learning objectives and then determine how best to meet the objectives.

As author Piers Anthony stated: “All things make sense; you just have to fathom how they make sense.”

You don’t have to undertake this task all on your own. ILG can certainly help you convert your e-learning. You can contact us at info@innovativeLG.com should you want assistance.

Make sense out of your old Flash content and look toward a future when it will be nothing but a fond memory.

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