A rapid advance in mobile technology has introduced a huge wave of devices in the market. Each one is equipped with different screen size, browser software, operating systems and hardware specifications. This has made e-learning development using Flash and similar coding techniques very difficult. With Flash based development, you need to develop separate course versions for different device classes. This is where responsive course design methods were developed using HTML5.
As opposed to a traditional course design, a responsive one dynamically changes its parameters and functionalities as per the device in use. This allows developers to create just one course version that works seamlessly across your entire device-group. This makes your e-learning program more accessible as employees can access it from anywhere they want, without worrying about device compatibility. For developers and managers, e-course management becomes easier, as they just have to handle a single course version. That’s why responsive course design is slowly but surely replacing Flash-based courses.
Then what happens to your old Flash-based courses? Instead of discarding them citing incompatibility, you should convert them to the HTML5 format. But undertaking such a conversion is a challenge in itself. If not done systematically, with the right principles, your course can lose its learning impact, rendering it futile. Let’s look at the highlights of a conversion process you can adapt to ensure good quality output:
Collect and Extract Content
This is the first step to commencing the conversion process. You need to make sure that you have all content, media, and supporting files before starting the conversion process. Having all files at hand makes the conversion to HTML5 quick, simple, and error-free. But, all the content will be in a Flash-compatible format. Hence, once you have collected all the files, you need to extract the content. Extract content and media from the existing course and copy onscreen text and labels of navigational buttons in the Graphical User Interface (GUI) in an MS-Word document or a PowerPoint presentation.
Pick the Right Tools
Authoring tools give your developers great power to create high quality courses. Modern authoring tools have many useful features that allow you to create powerful learning materials with minimum effort. They also let you fine tune the look and feel of the course as per your organization’s brand image. Various tools come with different features. Some can create out of the box interactivities, while others can create immersive scenarios or assessments. That’s why choosing the right tool that is apt for your organization’s requirements is crucial for a seamless conversion process. Articulate 360, Captivate, iSpring, and Lectora are some of the highly proficient tools with all the essential features.
Apply Instructional Design Principles
Your old Flash-based courses might still be using old instructional design methods to transfer knowledge to your learners. But in the recent times, instructional methods have evolved vastly. That’s why you should mold your content to the principles of the new age. Old Flash-based courses may not be strong instructionally, that’s why now is a good time to identify such courses and make them instructionally robust by following adult learning principles and Instructional design strategies. Consider using learning methods such as game-based content, scenario-based learning, exploration and discovery, etc., based on the course content.
Flash did have the ability to create highly rich interactivities. When you convert your Flash courses, authoring tools make sure that these don’t go to waste and can be recreated without much programming knowledge. Interactivities add great value to your e-learning program, as it is the closest you can get to replacing the engagement a teacher brings to a classroom learning session. That’s why when converting your legacy courses, you must add as many interactivities as possible. Add game-based content, interactive-videos, gamified content, interactive stories, and more to make your e-learning course more appealing.
Run Quality Checks and Publish
Before releasing the converted courses to your audience, always develop a prototype and do a test run with your inner circle. If you have used top authoring tools such as Storyline 360, Adobe Captivate, or iSpring, they will definitely ensure that your converted courses run smoothly. But there is nothing wrong with doing a test run to correct the finer elements of the course. Running quality checks will help you pick up minor inconsistencies early on, which in turn ensure a better learning experience.
These are just the highlights of what needs to be done while converting legacy Flash-based courses. If you still feel that this is going to be a convoluted task, you can always seek the assistance of an experienced e-learning vendor who can help you do this.