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Life after Flash Player: is it time to update your content?

eWorks on 29 March 2021

Adobe Flash Player reached its end of life in December 2020, but many course owners haven’t realised that they have content supported by Flash, until messages arrive from users complaining that they can't open content.

While groundbreaking in its time, Flash can now be replaced with HTML5, which offers more flexibility in how content is accessed, such as how it reads on a mobile device.

These modern standards are more seamless for users, they have fewer security issues than Flash content and offer better accessibility, which improves the experience for all learners.

Now is a good time to review your content so you can not only identify problems where your Flash-based content is still in use, but also consider whether that course content continues to meet learners’ needs.

We can assist you by reviewing your content and rebuilding modules.

Online learning and Flash Player

Flash was very popular in the online learning space, where it often supported animations and interactive content.

If it is still sitting in a Learning Management System, users will click on a module, and likely be taken to a page with a message that Flash support has ended or other words indicating an obvious malfunction.

There is no way around this and once you see Flash Player mentioned, it is a signal that the module needs to be rebuilt.

What does end-of-life mean for system security?

Adobe gave users notice three years ago that Flash Player was nearing its end of life and that it would not be issuing any patches and security updates.

To protect users’ security, in January 2021 Adobe blocked content from running in Flash Player.

The major browsers, such as Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge, have also disabled Flash Player from running.

Users may still have the program on their systems, however, Adobe strongly recommends that users uninstall Flash Player to help protect their systems.

What to consider in a content review

Four important questions for your content review are:

  • How much of a role does Flash Player have in my content? This will affect the amount of work in any rebuild.

  • How old is the content? Is it still fit for purpose? Adobe announced in 2017 that it would be retiring Flash Player, so any content that uses Flash could be out of date.

  • Does the design of this content still look current? Given the age of Flash Player, does your content look dated, even if the material is still relevant? Could it do with a refresh?

  • I can update elements of my courses so students have access, but is this a time to consider a more extensive review?

At eWorks, we have applications that will enable the transition from Flash. Updating small elements of a course module might be fairly straightforward. The scope of work involved will depend on the extent of Flash content in your module.

You might, however, consider this as an opportunity to investigate what is now available in course design.

The online learning space continues to develop rapidly, but over the past year, in particular, there has been significant innovation. Designers and educators have been informed by a greater understanding of how students learn online and how to make courses more engaging and accessible for remote learners. If you would like to know more, contact us at enquiries@eworks.edu.au or 1300 057 052.