Online courses don't work? Flash might be the problem.

Adobe ended support for Flash on December 31, 2020. This means that eLearning courses created using this format no longer work. In this article, we show you how to avoid losing your legacy content and continue delivering it to learners.

What is Flash?

Simply put, in the late 90s, this technology allowed for the creation of websites and applications with interactive content: video, music, photos, games, and animations. Up until 2018, eLearning courses were also built using Flash as their base.

Why Flash is going away

The technology is outdated and falls short of modern standards. Flash content is ‘heavy’: loads slowly and eats up computer memory (RAM). There are newer formats that don’t share in these shortcomings, such as HTML5.

There are many security concerns. The Flash Player has consistently been targeted by hackers and malware authors. Developers have found 181 vulnerabilities in the player, of which 152 were rated as critical.

iSpring ended Flash support back in 2018. You can find out more about our rationale for this move in this article.  

I create courses in iSpring. Will I run into issues?

You definitely won’t, if you have iSpring products that are version 9 or higher, as they don't rely on the Flash format. All courses made in these updated versions of the authoring tools are based on the modern HTML5 format.

If you made courses with iSpring 7 or 8, it depends on the publishing settings. iSpring tools in versions 7 and 8 allowed authors to publish content to both Flash and HTML5, as they came out during a transition period, before the moment we turned off the Flash support completely. If you published content to HTML5 or a special combined mode of HTML5+Flash, you won’t face any issues and your content will continue working as it is supposed to. If you published files to Flash, they won’t play in the current systems.

Content created in iSpring tools that are version 6 or older is in Flash format, so the chances are high that it has become unavailable for the majority of viewers.

To fix this, update your authoring tool, find the source files for your course, and re-publish it in HTML-5 format. Download iSpring Suite →

Users of older versions of Adobe Captivate, Articulate Storyline 1 and 2, Articulate Studio ’09 and ’13, and possibly CourseLab, will encounter the same issue.

Is my course Flash-based? How to check.

Open the course in a browser. The latest versions of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera have already disabled Flash technology. To test the course, simply launch it in one of the browsers.

Flash Player Required.png

An updated version of the browser will show that the course only works in Flash.

Check the settings. If you are using an older version of the browser, there is another way to check. Run the course, right-click on it, and a list with additional options will appear. If it contains the line "About Adobe Flash Player," then the course was made using Flash.

How to check.png

My course is Flash-based. What should I do?

Save the course in a different format. If you still have the source files, you can republish the course in HTML5 format and reupload it to an LMS.

If you are using version 6, 7, or 8 of iSpring products, update the authoring tool first: open your iSpring tool and check for updates.

How to update iSpring Suite→

If you’re building courses in a different authoring tool, check to see if it supports HTML5. If it doesn’t, you will most likely need to update the program to its newest version that publishes to HTML5.

Rebuild old courses. If you don’t have access to your source files, you will have to rebuild all of your old courses from scratch. This is the most painful option, but it's the only way.

In order not to lose important information, record a screencast of each course or take screenshots with which you can recreate the material.

Conclusion

  1. Flash courses stopped working on January 1, 2020. It doesn’t matter which program they were built in.

  2. Conduct an audit of all eLearning courses. If they were created before 2018, they are most likely running in Flash.

  3. To avoid losing your courses, find the source file and save it in the HTML5 format. You can also use this opportunity to rework older, out-of-date courses.

  4. If you’re using iSpring Suite 6, 7, or 8, update to the latest version of this authoring tool. It also works with other iSpring products. 

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