As you may have heard, Adobe is ending support for Flash at the end of 2020. Microsoft won’t allow the Flash Player to operate on supported versions of Windows, and web browsers won’t run Flash content.
That means any courses you previously published to Flash will need to be republished to HTML5 before December 31, 2020, to continue working. The good news is that if you built your courses with Articulate apps, that’s super easy to do. But no matter how simple the process, it can feel overwhelming if you’ve got a hefty catalog of courses to update.
To make it more manageable, I’ve broken it down step by step. I’ve even included some tips for improving your courses in the process. Let’s take a look!
1. Make a List
Start by compiling a list of courses that need updating. This might include courses created in Storyline 1, Storyline 2, Studio ’09, or Studio ’13 that are Flash-dependent. Use Google sheets, an Excel spreadsheet, or any other app you’re comfortable with to get organized. Here are some things you might want to include:
- Course title
- Date published
- Authoring app
- Published course URL
- Source file location
- Actions needed (e.g., republish, refresh, remove, or redesign—we’ll talk more about these options in the next section)
Here’s an example of what that could look like:
Like how I’ve set this up? Download my template to help you get started.
2. Review Your Courses
Once you’ve made a list, set aside some time to do a thorough review of your courses. You’ll want to ensure your interactions, animations, and other course assets work as intended and that the content is still relevant and the graphics are up-to-date. For a complete list of things to watch out for, use this handy resource: E-Learning Maintenance Checklist.
If you’ve got some super-long courses, you might also ask yourself if it makes sense to break them up into a series of micro-learning courses.
After reviewing each course, update the spreadsheet you made in the previous section to include information about next steps. If the content is up-to-date and everything is working correctly, make a note that a simple republish will suffice. If you’ve found some information or visuals that need updating, flag it for a quick refresh. If the course content is completely obsolete—for example, if the course is about software or apps that are no longer in use or company initiatives that have long since been rolled out—add the remove label. And if the source files are no longer available or if the content is really out-of-date, note that it’ll require a redesign.
3. Make a Plan
Before you start updating, sit down and make a plan. Take a look at your list and decide the order in which you should update the courses. Prioritize business-critical courses such as new employee onboarding, software training used by your frontliners, or training that’s urgently needed to support business goals.
Think about whether it’s something you can do on your own or if you’ll need to enlist the help of a coworker or a freelancer (via our job board, for example).
Decide whether to update the courses all at once or little by little. Put together a schedule for updates to keep the project on track and set up checkpoints (using calendar reminders, for example) to ensure it’s progressing.
4. Take Action
Once you’ve made a plan, you can start converting your content. Here’s how to update your courses based on your decision to republish, refresh, remove, or redesign.
If your course was created using Storyline 1, Storyline 2, Studio ’09, or Studio ’13, you’ll want to upgrade your course to Articulate 360 (which includes both Storyline 360 and Studio 360) or Storyline 3, as these apps don’t have any Flash dependencies and their HTML5 output works in all major browsers. We’ve made it super easy to upgrade. Just follow the steps outlined here:
- Upgrading Courses to Storyline 360
- Upgrading Courses to Storyline 3
- Upgrading Courses to Presenter 360
- Upgrading Quizzes to Quizmaker 360
- Upgrading Interactions to Engage 360
Once you upgrade a course, be sure to republish.
Go through and edit the course based on your notes during your review. This might include updating visuals, rewriting some content, or fixing minor technical issues.
Don’t forget to take advantage of the media library feature that allows you to easily update all the instances of an outdated image.
And check out this article for some tips on how to quickly update the design of your older courses: 4 Fast & Easy Changes That Will Make Your Old Storyline Courses Look New Again.
Even if you no longer need a course, take a look at the slides and see if there’s anything you want to recycle—an image, a cool interaction, etc. You can import slides you want to keep into a new Storyline 3/360 project to use later or to share with your team. When you’re done reviewing, remove the file and move on.
If removing a course makes you a little nervous—even if you know it’s not needed—do what I do and keep a backup of the source file in case you want to revisit this content someday.
If your course’s source files are no longer available or if the content is really out-of-date, you may need to redesign the course.
From there, ask yourself questions like:
- What content changes need to be made?
- What new graphics are needed?
- Are there videos that need updating?
- Would this content be better broken up into mini-courses?
I hope these steps make it easier for you and your team to stay organized and keep your content up-to-date. Check out these resources for more information on the end of Flash:
- How the End of Flash Affects Articulate Apps and Courses
- End of Flash FAQs
- Here’s an Easy Way to Update an Old Course Without the Source Files
And be sure to follow us on Twitter and come back to E-Learning Heroes regularly for more helpful advice on everything related to e-learning. If you have any questions, please share them in the comments.