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How Will Flash’s Demise Affect Your SCORM Courses?

Support for Adobe Flash Player ends in 2020. And as Flash has been integral to eLearning for over 20 years, it’s retirement will have a significant effect. But, what does this mean for you and your organization's eLearning efforts? What will you have to do to avoid problems in the future? In this post, we explain why this change is significant and how you can address it now!

What does the death of Flash mean?

When publishing a SCORM course you choose between two different output types. Currently, you can export SCORM packages to Flash, HTML, or both. Flash is the most popular output type, so it's likely that your courses are SWF Flash-based.

This output format does have one major drawback. SWF courses do not work on certain devices; Apple devices. And that's a lot of devices not supported. Learner engagement is a constant challenge when it comes to delivering eLearning so the last thing you want to do is to 'turn away' an eager learner. 

HTML5 works on all devices so it's the obvious choice as a successor. It allows learners to launch SCORM and xAPI courses from their browser. There are a couple of caveats:

"I’ll do it later"

Bad idea. At the very least you should investigate it now so you know what to expect when this change comes into effect. Otherwise, you may find yourself with a large project to complete in a short period of time. Updating your eLearning courses to HTML5 will mean  either:

Even if all you need to do is change over to a new output format, you can only do that if you have access to the original project file. Have you saved each course project file? Storyline calls its project files coursetitle.story, while Captivate calls theirs: coursetitle.cptx. Searching for these files types on your work laptop or desktop will help you to locate the files you need.

Tips to follow

If you are responsible for the creation of SCORM files make sure you are doing the following:

How to publish in HTML5

When you have finished creating your course, save the project file. Then export/publish your courses as per usual except this time: choose HTML5 as the output format.

Articulate Storyline

Select the publish option in the ribbon shown. Check the box beside "include HTML5 output". As you can see in the image, you can choose HTML5, Flash or a combination of the two. Go through your publishing steps as per usual to export a SCORM zip package with HTML5 as the output format.

Publish HTML5 course

Adobe Captivate

Click on File > Publish Settings. Under the Quiz, settings fill in your reporting settings by clicking the checkbox to enable reporting and choose the SCORM type (1.2 for LearnUpon users).

Click on File > Publish. Choose the output format. Check the box for HTML5 (Possible issue: Some browsers like Firefox don't support HTML5 tags for embedded mp4). Selecting both doubles the size of the file.

Adobe captivate SCORM


Click Publish > LMS. Check Zip output on the general tab. To choose HTML5 as the output, go to Zip Output settings on the general tab. Select either Mobile (HTML5) or Combined (Flash+HTML5).

Publish scorm ispring

Other Authoring tools

Some newer authoring tool such as Elucidat and Gomo learning are HTML5 first in their design so they produce HTML5 courses by default.

So you’re prepared for the changes ahead - the time to act is now. Scope out how much work is involved to transition away from Flash-based courses now to avoid the stress of the last minute rush.





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