The last decade saw phenomenal change in the way content was produced and consumed in the e-learning space. From physical textbooks to video montages, large chunks of data to byte-sized e-learning modules, it ensured that consumers could access information wherever they were, instead of coming in search of it. Traditional delivery methods are now passe. Businesses have to keep up with modern browsers and web capabilities to ensure impactful and precise delivery models. Several traditional technology tools have been phased out over the last few years. Some of them were incompatible with modern browsers and interfaces, while others couldn’t keep up with seamless interconnectivity across user interfaces. With Adobe phasing out Flash, re-authoring e-learning content to HTML5 has become the need of the hour.
Flash has been driving the e-learning industry over the last three decades. A familiar tool across web browsers, it was first developed in the late 1990s and revolutionised the way we experienced visual content. Video displays, and superior animation quality began to populate most web pages. Flash was an integral part of the early Youtube experience, and is even today used in online gaming. One major reason for Flash’s success was its seamless ability to integrate with existing platforms. Developers could add graphics into the desktop experience, interactive visualisations, and the platform became ‘go-to’ for e-learning content. Flash made learning fun, engaging and seamless.
HAMPERED TECHNOLOGICAL SUPPORT
While Flash revolutionised visual content, what made it popular also made it rife for doom. Created initially as a desktop-first platform, it couldn’t keep up with technological innovations, especially with the proliferation of mobile phones. Apple’s iPhone accelerated its downfall. Developers found it challenging to create multimedia solutions and apps for phones, that couldn’t support Flash’s high bandwidth. When Apple retracted all support for Flash and began hunting for other alternatives, is when HTML5 looked like a viable option.
CRITICAL SECURITY CONCERNS
Another critical reason for phasing out of Flash, was security concerns. Google Chrome began blocking Flash, and ads stopped playing automatically upon site reload. With other internet browsers such as Mozilla doing the same, it became imperative for an updated version to address security vulnerabilities. Google’s ‘HTML5 by Default’ plan was the final nail in the coffin, because of its 95% penetration of desktop users. With websites using Flash failing to display content properly, re-authoring to HTML5 was the only logical next step.
HTML5 is intuitive, connected and multi-faceted. It will impact e-learning, the same way design changed the course of Apple. Apple’s design-led products aligns with the needs of its users. HTML5’s multi-platform application will do so much more than Flash. The possibilities are manifold, and facets endless. What remains to be revealed is how this will all unfold. HTML is set to revolutionise the way we consume e-learning content.
But, does the decline of Flash mean you cannot create interactive eLearning content ? Let’s look at the emergence of mobile and HTML5 and the benefits of the same in the next article.
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Ratish is a Sales & Marketing professional responsible for overall sales and marketing performance of the organization. Coming from a tech and IT sales background has extensive knowledge about various technologies used in various domains and over the years has developed a taste for eLearning technologies. He is responsible for driving enterprise sales, client engagement, channel marketing, coordinating with production and design teams as a part of handling new assignments at Flipick. Reach out to him with your eLearning challenges and he can be of great help.