Flash Apocalypse

While the official end-of-life for Flash is not until December 2020, its effective death is much sooner, in mid-2019 when browser support for Flash players end. Based on our observation of awareness and preparation for this we’re calling it the 'Flash Apocalypse'.



For our elearning clients this is a big deal. Key learning activities will stop and if not addressed early could be an ongoing pain point for months.
Paul Stevens, General Manager - The Open Knowledge Group, Catalyst IT

How to survive the Flash Apocalypse

What’s happening?

It seems like really old news. In 2017 Adobe announced that the official end-of-life for Adobe Flash would be the end of 2020. Back then Adobe Flash was already widely deprecated with the main users of Flash, such as YouTube, having already moved to HTML5 and modern web browsers generally blocking the awful Banner adds that used Flash.

However, many large organisations were stuck using older versions of Internet Explorer to access legacy applications. Being unable to enjoy full HTML5 support of modern browsers, they continued to use Flash in their elearning products. Today corporate LMS’s generally have large catalogues of learning products that depend on Flash.

In mid-2019 (only a few months away) all current web browsers from all vendors will either block or disable Flash playback. Given the scale of Flash usage inside elearning modules and the difficultly in finding and replacing it we’re calling this the Flash apocalypse. More details: Paul Stevens blog

Are you impacted?

Adobe Flash is traditionally used inside SCORM modules and in video encoded with Flash (.flv). It’s hard to find these resources inside every module on every course page and there are no existing inbuilt tools to detect these files.

In December 2018 Catalyst released an open source Flash Apocalypse report. This report works on Moodle and Tōtara sites from version 2.9 and higher. It shows all Flash resources on a site and also detects a 'false-positive' condition of Articulate SCORMs 'dual published' with both Flash & HTML5. Talk to your support vendor about getting this installed on your LMS.

More details

Get the report plugin

Safely survive the Flash apocalypse!

After running the Flash apocalypse report you’ll know the scale of the problem. If you are lucky it’ll be handful of old SCORMs that can be retired. However, we’ve already seen corporate sites with a third to half of all learning content dependant on Flash and now have a major task to keep their catalogue live beyond June.

There are some common sense things to do; check with your IT department about their plans for Flash, make sure your popular and mandatory courses are Flash free, talk to your elearning vendors about support to fix your modules, get good at retiring courses – remember many will have learners part way through.

Our awesome Nikki has a detailed blog post on the 3F's of surviving the Flash Apocalypse.

Share this to your colleagues

Not all L&D professionals have got the message and you can help! We have a shareable poster and you can also use the Twitter / LinkedIn share options at the bottom on this page to help get the word out.

Need help with the Flash Apocalypse?

Get in touch with us if you’d like assistance in getting our report plugin working for you. We can also assist with the changes and authoring of replacement learning content.


Learn more about elearning at Catalyst IT.