By the end of 2020, Adobe will no longer support Flash. As a result, organizations have been converting Flash content to HTML5. Instead of approaching this project as an arduous task, however, look at it as an opportunity to improve your training offerings.
Many organizations have immense libraries of online courses and other content. It could take a long time to convert every piece of Flash content in those courses to HTML5. Now is the perfect time to look at your content strategically: Which courses are no longer needed? Which are out of date and need to be updated? Where do you need to develop new content, and where can you partner with a vendor to bring (HTML5) content in-house? Which content is so complex that it will be easier to start from scratch than to convert Flash to HTML5?
Fortunately, providing content in HTML5 rather than Flash offers some benefits to you and your learners. HTML5 brings cross-platform compatibility to your training programs, giving learners the flexibility to consume content anywhere, anytime, on any device. It’s responsive, and it works for gaming, animations and other features.
Getting Started: Be Thorough & Strategic
If you haven’t already begun the conversion process, now is the time to start; 2020 will be here sooner than you think, and the day Adobe completely stops supporting Flash will be a day too late to prepare.
Your first step should be to decide which courses to convert, especially if you have a large number of courses. Determine which courses have a shelf-life – that is, will they still be required or even relevant after 2019? If so, those courses should be at the top of your list to convert. If not, you don’t need to spend the time converting them.
Be thorough in your examination of each course. While most of the assets may be video files, text, or graphics in a JPEG or other format, there may be Flash code hiding in other aspects of the course. You want to know about that code before it’s 2020 and learners are calling you saying the course has crashed.
For the courses that you are converting, do they need to be updated and refreshed first? Take this opportunity to revise content, refresh branding or make other updates. If the delivery tool used for a course is outdated, it may be time to rebuild the course in a newer, more effective modality, such as mobile learning or microlearning.
Take a look at your gaps, too. For the courses you’re getting rid of, what holes are they leaving in the curriculum, and how should you fill them? What courses are needed, and should you go ahead and start building them with HTML5? Always keep in mind your business’ strategy and goals, and align this process with them.
Make or Buy?
You don’t need to recreate each course. Depending on the content, it may make more sense to engage a learning provider like Raytheon Professional Services to create the course or convert it to HTML5 for you – or to provide access to existing vendor courses.
For courses with a lot of proprietary content, which is also strategically important to your business, you may decide to keep those in house. If the course does not have much proprietary content, sourcing the course from a vendor or engaging a vendor to create it for you may be the best course of action. If the course isn’t strategically important to your business, you probably do not need to spend the time re-creating it or converting it to HTML5.
Engaging Internal Stakeholders
Don’t go through this process alone. For one thing, work with your development team to ensure the technical aspects of the conversion go smoothly and that nothing breaks. Also, keep the IT department in the loop; if it decides, for example, to switch to a new browser, and the new browser has already stopped supporting Flash, you need to know.
It’s also important to communicate with content owners, the learners themselves, the organization that’s approving the content and your L&D team. Make sure they know what’s happening, when it’s happening and why it’s happening. Test new content frequently and thoroughly to minimize or prevent problems after Flash is gone.
It can be expensive to convert an entire library of courses to HTML5. If you approach the process strategically, however, you can build in efficiencies (such as getting rid of unnecessary courses and making existing or new courses more effective). These efficiencies will improve the return on your investment in content development and conversion. Learn from the process, and you’ll even be prepared for the next round of new technologies.