By: Sameer Nigam
Come the end of December 2020, the end of this decade’s first year will also signal the end of Adobe Flash. Signaling a shift into the next chapter, as Adobe plans to stop updating and distributing the Flash Player. A torchbearer in digital technology and design for over two decades, Flash served generations of people exploring the computer, the World Wide Web and its possibilities.
Content creators, brands and web developers will now have to move on and migrate towards other formats. But for long, Flash was the building block for web-based video and audio technologies. From fun, engaging and classic video games to ushering the website revolution across brands – Flash has scripted its impact. For e-learning organizations too, the presence of Flash was prominent over the years. The software also played a key factor in bringing the element of engagement and user interaction to e-learning. The backbone for animated videos and video games, it made learning more immersive.
So, what exactly signaled the demise of this iconic software? It could be traced back to Apple’s shift away from Flash. Back in 2010, the tech giant under Steve Jobs’ leadership decided to stop supporting Flash on its devices owing to its compatibility issues. Flash wasn’t the best format to sync in with mobile devices, and with the smartphone boom all set to expand, the software fell short in demand. And other tech leaders followed in their rejection of Flash. Google on its Chrome browser, Mozilla on Firefox and Windows on Internet Explorer – major tech players slowly started excluding Flash from their browsers. Issues with data security, heavy demand on the device’s power and shortcomings in seamless transition onto new technology, were some of the many issues that drew the curtains on Flash’s shelf life.
So, as we look back and ponder on the story of Flash, what does it hold for the future of e-learning? How do organizations move on from this development? All that you have built upon Flash will go defunct post-2020. Though it sounds like a frustrating experience, it needn’t be so if you plan for the way ahead. E-learning platforms effectively assist enterprises to convert their Flash-based courses into more modern and relevant software like HTML5. As part of a well chalked-out transition plan with your e-learning solutions provider, brands need to:
Declutter & Prioritize: Flash’s exit may actually signal good news for e-learning. The industry can now look to declutter its old programs and get them ready for a new age. Focus on keeping your LMS free from all non-relevant content and usher the new.
Spread Out: Flash’s record on mobile phones was weak and one of the primary reasons for its demise. Enterprises can now look to learn from Flash’s mistakes and choose software for their courses that are seamless on smartphones and facilitate flexible learning.
Upgrade: Other than converting your Flash courses to other platforms, brands also need to look into that they are upgrading. While HTML5 may be the leading software to pick, even within that platform one can pick several modifications.
Test & Learn: While there may be several tools available these days for creating e-learning content, one needs to find the right one. Test your courses developed on platforms, seek the right optimization and pick the one that fits perfectly.
Execute: Planning is just a task half done. The major half lies in executing it. E-learning platforms need to chart deadlines, pick courses they want to re-format first and then begin the transition in full force.
Let Results Arrive: After all this strategic planning and execution, will come the time to deliver results. While the exit of Flash may have surely caused brands a certain level of anxiety, the positive side to it should be welcomed. Embrace the process of taking e-learning to the next era and the possibilities it holds for the industry and for you.
(The author is CEO and Co-founder, Stratbeans and the vires expressed in this article are his own)