When software applications are sunsetted, you can normally expect a period of time during which you can continue to use that app. However, with the sunsetting of Internet browser plug-ins like Flash, your network is left open to security vulnerabilities that are no longer kept in check by the vendor.
As a result, browsers will no longer support running Flash files after Adobe stops support of Flash in 2020. Each browser will completely stop running Flash at different times. For example, there will be some browser default setting changes for the user to adjust that will permit their Flash-based courses to continue to run. However, you will need to answer the question “Is it worth the resources to manage hundreds or even thousands of learners in support of changing this setting in their browsers?”
Then, of course, by supporting this browser change after Flash support has ended, you are in fact, sanctioning the use of a learning system that has open security issues.
There are many reasons to convert your courses from Flash to HTML5. Two obvious reasons are the security issues, and that at some point, the Flash courses will not run. To continue to pull that thread, what if your user base wants to run the courses on mobile devices? For the most part, Flash courses will not run on mobile. Even if you wanted to continue to build courses in Flash, say, in a closed environment, the development platforms are already beginning to cancel Flash support.
Then there is the timing of sunsetting Flash. Some questions you might be asking yourselves are, “do we have time to convert to HTML5 before Flash goes away?” Or, “could we wait to see how big of a problem it really will be?”
What frightens most learning organizations that have not yet converted their courseware, is not knowing exactly what will happen after Flash is no longer supported. Here are the most probable outcomes:
- Learners complete their required on-line training course, and the LMS does not register their completion.
- Courses lock-up after launching, or learners are not able to launch their courses at all and become so frustrated that they decide not to take the course.
- The Flash courses appear to run, but open your network to security vulnerabilities.
None of these outcomes is favorable for your learning organization, and negatively impact your company brand.
From the perspective of the learner, the experience should be just as good, or better than the original Flash course. Let’s not forget that the Flash courses allowed for lots of 2D animation, gaming, simulations and engaging interactions. The main difference, other than it is being sunsetted, is that the Flash courses would not run on mobile devices. This opens the door wide open for remote performance support, predictive learning and personalized content in their hands from their mobile device. The learners can expect the new HTML5 platform to give them the rich media experience to which they have become accustomed in properly developed instruction. And most agree that it will remain the standard for some time to come.