A question was asked early in this thread about what are the benefits of
using Flash? There's been no answer to that question.  I was hoping to learn
some answers because I've been confused about why it's become so widely used
in eLearning.    I think I see several factors but I also think I'm still
missing part of the puzzle.

1.   Teachers/trainers continue to be committed to linear, push
methodologies.  That's the way they were forced to learn, enjoyed learning,
so it must be the "right" way.   Books, PPT, films, etc are all linear
displays of tightly controlled, tightly packaged content.    Flash is the
most similar to that type of content.  It's controlled, linear and has a
beginning, middle and end.  Vendors saw this preference and developed their
apps accordingly.  Soon the only apps that were available to create
"eLearning" were all Flash based.  It then became a self-expanding cycle of
teacher/trainers seeing Flash being used everywhere, which caused them to
think that was the "right" way to do eLearning, which caused more vendors to
make more apps that only delivered Flash based content.  Using those apps
is, at least initially, easier than actually learning about the web so the
cycle continues.

2. Teacher/trainer decision makers don't love the web, possibly because they
can't control it.   The web doesn't force you to begin at page 1, chapter 1.
You can begin anywhere and then move back to simpler content, go sideways,
or delve to the point where you know more than the teacher/trainer.  You can
learn from people that are not the teacher/trainer.  You don't have to learn
in lock step with others, you can form and reform groups that match your
interests and learning level.

3. There appears to be broad acceptance of the theories of  multiple types
of intelligence and different learning styles by teacher/trainers, but no
interest in learning how the web has evolved to meet those different needs.
The web is a continuously evolving experiment in supporting different
learning preferences.  When the first web sites based solely on Flash were
offered, they failed and the web turned towards exploring other content
formats and ways of organizing content.  Useful content that is findable,
refindable and easy to use succeeds.   That doesn't describe content that
has been buried in Flash.

I have hope that the tide is turning.  Teachers/trainers have experienced
the difficulties in creating and maintaining their content in Flash (just
try changing one image used in multiple Flash files and the difficulties
become clear)  the web generation is beginning to pierce/influence decision
making levels, students/employees that love the web push to learn from
formal resources the way they informally learn from the web, plus content
changes in ever decreasing time cycles which leaves little time to build and
rebuild Flash delivered content.

Christie Mason

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