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Adobe Captivate feels like Powerpoint with an Add-on installed

New Here ,
Aug 23, 2018

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Hi all,

We're exploring E-Learning applications in  my company, and I was querying just how versatile Adobe Captivate actually is? I have been using a thirty day trial, and I must admit, that I am not overly impressed. It seems rather difficult to design anything that looks little more than a glorified Powerpoint presentation, but with the added element that it 'tracks' you and submits validation to an LMS.

I've  not been using the software for very long, granted, but the styling selection looks a little dated and  generic, and the graphics supplied for buttons has a 2003 web graphic vibe about it. Would Captivate be a decent option for creating even slightly interesting and modern e-learning content, or is it just another plug for corporations to get administrators with no technical expertise to create  words with  transparent  background avatars?

I don't want  to feel I am  ripping on the software, but would it be better to invest in a web designer/developer? If  someone, for example, is already well versed in HTML, CSS and Javascript, then why would you consider Captivate into the equation, but I have heard of people using Javascript as part of their captivate projects.

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Adobe Captivate feels like Powerpoint with an Add-on installed

New Here ,
Aug 23, 2018

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Hi all,

We're exploring E-Learning applications in  my company, and I was querying just how versatile Adobe Captivate actually is? I have been using a thirty day trial, and I must admit, that I am not overly impressed. It seems rather difficult to design anything that looks little more than a glorified Powerpoint presentation, but with the added element that it 'tracks' you and submits validation to an LMS.

I've  not been using the software for very long, granted, but the styling selection looks a little dated and  generic, and the graphics supplied for buttons has a 2003 web graphic vibe about it. Would Captivate be a decent option for creating even slightly interesting and modern e-learning content, or is it just another plug for corporations to get administrators with no technical expertise to create  words with  transparent  background avatars?

I don't want  to feel I am  ripping on the software, but would it be better to invest in a web designer/developer? If  someone, for example, is already well versed in HTML, CSS and Javascript, then why would you consider Captivate into the equation, but I have heard of people using Javascript as part of their captivate projects.

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Aug 23, 2018 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Aug 23, 2018

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Totally disagree... but I have over 10 years of experience with Adobe Captivate and know it rather well. To me it is the most flexible, versatile eLearning authoring tool with a close intgration with other Adobe applications for assets (Photoshop, Illustrator, Audition, PhoneGap, Typekit.....).

You can create a button from any graphic, add Inbuilt and custom states, you are not at all limited to the 'old' button types. I never use them. Design a custom theme; color palette, object styles, master slides, skn... Taste is very personal, I don't like the included themes myself but I am European.

You can develop eLearning with HTML, CSS, JS (which can also be used in Captivate to extend its functionality) but it will take perhaps 10 times the developing time as with Captivate.  Advanced and shared actions allow you to script without learning a programming language. Tell me how you will create interactive video, use hotspots on 360° images which can be used on desktop and with VR devices? All in a minimum of time. Setting up reporting to LMS is a breeze,.

I am using Captivate but at the same time have Audition, Photoshop and Illustrrator open on my production machine. I have a past using many software applications ranging from programming languages over project management software and tecchnical drawing (AutoCad, Revit). But for any eLearning course my main tool is and will remain Captivate. Maybe you should have spent some time taking a basic training? You don't learn a high-level multifeatured tool like Captivate in one day.  Just FYI I am a civil engineer, not an administrator without tehcnical skills. I am used to choose the right tool for the right goal.

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Aug 23, 2018 0
New Here ,
Aug 23, 2018

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I suppose my problem is that I see generic outputs like this: -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWcrimrL8IU

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Aug 23, 2018 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Aug 23, 2018

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Indeed. Why intelligent people are always looking for videos that can be made by the most stupid people around remains a mystery to me. Sorry to sound so harsh but Youtube is full of wrong and low-level information. Do you check the credentials of the authors? I remember having posted some correcting comments to that type of videos, but the authors didn't even understand what I was talking about.

StagPrime is pointing to extending Captivate with JavaScript, I have similar use cases on my blog without any JS, just using the inbuilt point-and-click scripting tool. It is all about knowing the functionality of the tool, creativity and - often forgotten - pedagogical talents. Design is important, but in my consultancy jobs I have seen many beautiful designed but awfully inefficient eLearning courses because they ignored everything about the way people do learn.

I have trained many people for Captivate, and after a couple of days they mostly became big fans. 

Some links to presentations I am using in Captivate training (this is NOT ppt):

Captivate's Timeline

Shared Actions

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New Here ,
Aug 23, 2018

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Do you know of a way to have text to display as actual text, rather than a rendered .image? It tends to give things a bit of a Macromedia Flash vibe.

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Aug 23, 2018 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Aug 23, 2018

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Turn it into dynamic text by inserting a user variable that may be empty. Text which has variables is always rendered on runtime, not converted to an image (for SWF output). Reason was that any font could be used. Now with Typekit fonts, it is much easier.

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Aug 23, 2018 0
Advocate ,
Aug 23, 2018

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Don't let the "PowerPoint-esque" UI fool you.

Captivate is an extremely powerful authoring tool once you know how to use it.

I would encourage you to check out some of the examples that I, as well as several others, have posted.

Here are just a few examples of what can be done.

These are not courses but ideas that you take the concepts from and let the imagination fly!

E-Learning is not just a bunch of slides with text, audio, and video... because, you're right - we can do that with PowerPoint.

It is the interactivity that you provide your learners that can really take your stuff to the next level and leave a good impression on your learners. These are just the tip of the iceberg. So much more is possible.

Interactive Learning - eLearning

Keypad With Shifting Digits - eLearning

Expanding on the Concatenate Technique - eLearning

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Aug 23, 2018 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 23, 2018

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I know people who are proficient with Adobe Photoshop, but It doesn't make them graphic designers. I think the same can be said about eLearning authoring tools and designing and developing eLearning. There are people every day on these forums looking for wacky technical solutions. I believe you can have a sound but very simple design that adheres to the principles of pedagogical or andragogical theories and have it still be very effective and engaging learning.

That said, in my decade of using Adobe Captivate (as well as other tools), I have never found myself limited by Adobe Captivate. I don't use the assets that come with the software. For me, those are often just the toys in the cereal box. Instead, I work with professional photographers, graphic artists, voice talent, and musicians to create eLearning that is truly unique and matches the design esthetics my clients are looking for; but most importantly uses the learning principles that are proven to be effective, time and time again.

You will never fully understand everything about any of the authoring tools in 30 days. In the end, you will have to gamble and pick a tool that you think you can use. If you want my advice, I've never found that Adobe Captivate has prevented me from doing anything my mind can conjure up for my eLearning courses.

Paul Wilson, CTDP | https://www.youtube.com/paulwilsonlearning

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Aug 23, 2018 0
RodWard LATEST
Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 23, 2018

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I would like to second the sentiments expressed here by Lilybiri and Paul.  I've worked in this e-learning industry now for over 15 years and have used many 'authoring tools'.

Most people would agree that at this point in time the two front-runner tools in this space are Adobe Captivate and Articulate Storyline.  As an e-learning designer/developer who works under contract for several different clients each year, I've had the privilege of using both of these tools extensively.  In the hands of a good designer, either one of these tools can create great e-learning.

Storyline is a good tool and is generally regarded as being simpler to use, especially for people that come from an MS Office background, mainly because it replicates the UI of PowerPoint.  I've used its latest versions just recently on a large government project where the client mandated use of that particular tool.

However, as Paul said, Captivate imposes fewer limits on what you can achieve.  If you can imagine it, you can usually create it with Captivate.  And if Captivate doesn't do something out of the box, you have the option of using third-party widgets or sophisticated JavaScript coding (if you have access to that skill) to push the boundaries almost anywhere that online technology can go.

So it comes down to this:

  • If you want the simplest, easiest tool to use, and you don't foresee an issue with being more limited in what you can create, then go with Storyline.
  • If you are not phased by having a much steeper initial learning curve to get your head around the tool that has the most features and power, then go with Captivate.

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