For years, Adobe Flash was the choice of eLearning developers because this incredible tool facilitated the creation of wonderful learning experiences. It allowed the incorporation of highly complex animations, advanced interactivities such as drag and drop, simulations, role plays and so on – it helped unleash the creativity of the eLearning developer. It appeared that Flash occupied a pivotal position in the world of eLearning. Then why is its position being threatened by a new technology – HTML5?
Flash is slowly losing ground because it
Is not multi-device compatible
Accessing online courses is no longer confined to desktop computers. People today use a variety of devices to get their work done and learning is no different. Flash, for all its power, cannot be used efficiently on mobile devices. Therefore, organizations need to make their courses compatible to a wide variety of devices and HTML5 helps them with it.
Does not support mobile apps
It is estimated that more people would access the Internet on their mobiles than desktop computers by 2015 (Morgan Stanley Research). This phenomenal growth in the number of mobile Internet users is driving organizations towards mLearning. Apps play a key role in mLearning because they provide learners easy and ready access to the content. Recent developments in technology facilitate easy conversion of existing content in the form of PDF, PPT, audio and video into mobile apps. HTML5 allows creation of web apps that could be accessed on any mobile platform, paving the way for “mLearning without constraints.”
Facilitates easy development
Flash takes more time and effort to develop online courses. On the other hand, development of eLearning courses is made simple with HTML5. This new web paradigm facilitates easy development of eLearning courses because minimum coding is needed as content developed using this technology could be easily read by latest browsers.
Eliminates the need to download plug-ins
Flash based courses require external plug-ins to efficiently use multimedia. HTML5 allows developers to embed multimedia elements. Features such as <video>, <audio> and <canvas> elements along with scale vector graphics (SVG) facilitate inclusion of multimedia and graphical content on the web without external plug-ins.
Despite these advantages of HTML5, Flash is still not history because
Old browsers do not support HTML5
Browsers such as IE 7 & 8 cannot read HTML5 content. So, if some of your employees are still using those old browsers, you will need to decide between sticking to the traditional flash-based courses or, upgrading browsers of your employees.
Flash is more suitable to create rich interactivities
HTML5 can be used to create interactivities. But it trails behind Flash in terms of power and flexibility to create rich, interactive content. Online courses that involve multimedia-rich graphics can be developed easily using Flash without any issues of browser compatibility.
After all, HTML5 has been developed to make it easier for people to surf the net, without depending on plug-ins; using it for eLearning courses is just a byproduct.
HTML5 is an emerging technology. It will be sometime before it is universally adopted. Moreover, you do not need HTML5 content if you do not plan for mLearning. Therefore, it can be safely said that though the use of this web technology is on the rise, the death-knell for Flash is yet to be sounded. What do you think?