Viewing a Flash content after December 31, 2020

If you are working on converting or rebuilding Flash e-learning modules, then you know that today, December 31, 2020, is the end of life for support for Adobe Flash Player. While this work has kept me quite busy this year, I know that there is still old Flash content out there that has yet to be converted. So what do you do when a client asks you to take a look at a module, but you can’t find a browser to view it on?

This is a concern for me, because when I’m working on updating or rebuilding modules, I like to take a look at what was done in the past as part of my analysis. Sure, some clients may want to update some content or graphics, while others want a complete overhaul. In either case, having the ‘old’ module gives me a better idea of my clients’ perspective.

And in the case of one client, who didn’t have any of the original graphics or build files for their Flash module, I relied heavily on the SWF file (which only played in IE11) as a model for rebuilding complicated graphics and arcade-style learning games.

If you’ve read the full announcement from Adobe, you know that although support for Flash ends after today (December 31, 2020), another important date is just around the corner. On January 12, 2021, Adobe will block Flash content from running Flash Player.

So what happens if you need to view a SWF after January 12? 

I’ve downloaded Adobe Flash Player Projector, which enables me play Flash content on my computer (by entering the URL where the SWF file is located, or browsing to a SWF file on my computer). Since the January 12 plan to block Flash content seems to pertain to the Flash Player plugin (for web browsers), the Flash Player Projector shouldn’t be affected – although it will no longer be supported. Still, the Projector may give you a little extra time to view SWF files, especially if you want to implement a conversion plan like the one described by Paul Wilson.

If you are still working on converting or rebuilding Flash modules, hopefully this will give you a little more time to view those Flash files. For now!

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Online Training Simulation Mistakes: 6 Elements That Ruin Learner Immersion

Simulations are a valuable tool in creating an immersive online training experience. But can you have too much of a good thing? In this article, I discuss 6 elements that can ruin learner immersion and tips to avoid these common slip-ups.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

The Human Machine Interface

Constructing a machine to attain or outstrip human intelligence is presently beyond technology. Throughout the intelligent machine system cycle, safe use is vital now they are acting as teachers, coaches, and companions. Many ethical questions arise about personal agency. Who are we?

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Workflow to embed Software simulation slides. (Knockout master)


Recently I posted two sample projects of a Captivate tutorial which is a Training simulation. If you didn’t watch them, click the links:

  1. First version is showing the default software sim slides, where each captured slide covers the full slide. Those slides all use the Blank Master slide, whatever the used Theme. Narration is used to give instructions.
  2. Second version has the same slides embedded in bigger content slides. The extra space is used to show logo and text containers including instructions.

This comparative screenshot for one of the sim slides shows the difference:

This blog offers the step-by-step workflow to create and use a master slide for the embedded sim slides in the second version.

Setup for Embedded sim slides

For this example the simulation slides need to be embedded in a project  with a resolution of 1280×720 pixels. The captured slides were created with a resolution of 1600x900pixels, which is larger than the final resolution.

To embed the sim slides, they need to be rescaled. If the original simulation slides have the correct resolution ready for embedding, you can skip Step 0.

Step 0 in Captivate (only if captured resolution is not correct)

Rescaling the software simulation to 2/3, which leads to a resolution of 1066x600px. You choose the resolution needed for your project, but keep ‘Maintain Aspect Ratio’ and ‘Rescale all objects’.  Those are the default settings.

Step 1 (in Photoshop or other app) – create the Knockout image

In Photoshop I created images on two layers: the first one (FullTexture’ will be used for normal content slides, the second one is the ‘Knockout’ image which has a transparent part.  Size of the file is same as the end resolution (1280×720). I used one of the provided textures in Photoshop as Fill. In the second layer I deleted a rectangle of 1066x600px to create a ‘knockout’ part in which the sim slides would fit. You see the size of the margins (with texture) in the screenshot: to the left – a vertical bar with a width of 200pixels, to the right one with a width of 14px; at the top another with a height of 90 pixels and a the bottom a bar with a height of 30 pixels.
You can import the Photoshop file, and will have both layers as PNG images. See ‘Roundtripping with Photoshop‘.
You can use another graphics application if you cannot use Photoshop. You could also create a freeform filled shape in Captivate, start with the hexagon, which has 6 points.

Step 2 (in Captivate)

Some maths to start with:
  1. calculate the difference between the widths of the vertical bars:     200 – 14 = 186 pixels
  2. new width project will be 1066 + 186 = 1252 pixels
  3. calculate the difference between the heights of the horizontal bars:   90 – 30 = 60 pixels
  4. new height project will be 600+ 60 = 660 pixels
Rescale the project using these settings:
  • deselect ‘Maintain aspect ratio’ and introduce the new dimensions
  • under ‘New Size is Larger’, select ‘Keep project the same size and position project Bottom Right; I choose this because the bottom bar and the right bar have the smallest dimension; you can choose another option if your smallest margins are elsewhere.
The result will look like this:

Step 3 (in Captivate)

 Rescale now to the final size, for this example to 1280×720 pixels, with settings:
  •  deselect ‘Maintain aspect ratio’ and introduce the final dimensions
  • under ‘New Size is Larger’, select ‘Keep project the same size and position project Center
After this rescale of the project it will look like this:

Step 4 (in Captivate): Master slides

 In the original blog post it was possible to create a master slide which is partially transparent, but that is no longer possible in the present versions with the Themes (new since Captivate 6).  Here is the master slide panel, where you see some master slides of the custom Theme ‘Knockout’ which I created:

I used the two imported PNGs from the Photoshop file to create:

  1. The Main master slide, where the FullTexture image is set as background image. You see the setup in the Properties panel:
  2. Based on that Main master slide, I created some content master slides. You see acouple of them in the master slide panel above (Title, Light). The Blank master slide always has to remain Blank, it is not using the Main master slide.
  3. The Knockout master slide. You cannot use the KnockoutTexture image as was done in the Main master slide, it needs to be a separate image as you can see in the Timeline and in the Properties panel. I added some objects and placeholders:

Step 5: Apply Knockout to simulation slides

Up till now the simulation slides used the Blank master slide. Change the master slide to the Knockout Master slide. It is very important that you do NOT check the option ‘Master slide objects on top’, because you’ll lose the textured parts of the image


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8 Expenses You’re Overlooking When Calculating Your Learning Management System Budget

Have you accounted for all the costs involved in LMS implementation? In this article, I’ll highlight 8 expenses you’re probably overlooking when calculating your LMS budget.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Programming in User’s name?

Hi There

Wondering if it’s possible to program the User’s name into the experience eg: put in code/comments box so that you can ask the Learner: “What is your name”, then periodically use the name during the experience eg:  “Great response Jim!” or “Jim, which of these is a xxxxx”


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How To Create Online Training For The 4 Different Learner Temperaments

A popular and age-old proto-psychological theory suggests that there are 4 core temperaments that describe human personalities. But how can you create online training for distinct learner temperaments so that everyone feels their needs are met?

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.