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Adobe Missed the Mark with e-learning Software

New Here ,
Aug 09, 2020

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I don't mean to rain on the parade of Captivate lovers, but after switching to Articulate, it's painfully obvious that Adobe didn't think their product through. Which saddens me, because I've always been a big supporter of Adobe.

The biggest oversight that Adobe made with Captivate is that most trainers/educators who take the next step to e-learning software are coming from PowerPoint. By far, that's the software they're familiar with, and something they've been using for years. Articulate recognized this, and very cleverly designed their UI to not only emulate the PowerPoint interface, but to also work seamlessly with PowerPoint files that their customers already have.

Software developers who don't consider their audience first before writing code are simply being arrogant and dismissive. Sorry, Adobe. 

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Adobe Missed the Mark with e-learning Software

New Here ,
Aug 09, 2020

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I don't mean to rain on the parade of Captivate lovers, but after switching to Articulate, it's painfully obvious that Adobe didn't think their product through. Which saddens me, because I've always been a big supporter of Adobe.

The biggest oversight that Adobe made with Captivate is that most trainers/educators who take the next step to e-learning software are coming from PowerPoint. By far, that's the software they're familiar with, and something they've been using for years. Articulate recognized this, and very cleverly designed their UI to not only emulate the PowerPoint interface, but to also work seamlessly with PowerPoint files that their customers already have.

Software developers who don't consider their audience first before writing code are simply being arrogant and dismissive. Sorry, Adobe. 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 09, 2020

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Please be aware that your opinion, though no doubt shared by many others, remains your opinion and is unlikely to change either Adobe or the majority of users on this forum.  Like yourself, I have used Articulate and Adobe's e-learning tools, but (strangely) I came to a somewhat different conclusion.

 

You are correct that Articulate simply copied the PowerPoint UI with Storyline and this does make its learning curve flatter for previous PowerPoint users.  Captivate's interface owes more to Adobe's other apps such as Photoshop and Animate.  It leans more to the graphic design industry rather than Microsoft Office.  However, that does not mean it cannot deliver a good user experience.  Whether you like it or not is often determined by what other tools with which you happen to be familiar.

 

I agree with you that the approach Adobe took with regard to integrating PowerPoint files with Captivate is very different to the one taken by Articulate.  When you bring a PPT deck into Storyline it gets completely converted to Storyline format, whereas in Captivate the original PPT deck remains unchanged and can either be linked to the CPTX or encapsulated within it. 

 

Each approach has upsides and downsides.  With Articulate it's a one-way-street with no return back.  With Captivate it's a round-trip where you still end up with a usable PPT file at the end.  (See this recent post by Articulate's excellent evangelist Tom Kuhlman about what you need to do if you want a PPT version of your finished Storyline course: https://blogs.articulate.com/rapid-elearning/convert-storyline-courses-powerpoint/)

 

For me the ulimate question here is whether or not I consider superior e-learning can only be created when PowerPoint is an integral part of the mix.  Personally I do not.  It's a great tool for creating presentations, but not great for interactive e-learning (something Tom himself freely admits). I much prefer to start all my e-learning projects in Captivate from the ground up because that just gives me the greatest creative freedom.

 

Do I think that everyone should love Captivate? Not really.  Everyone's taste is different and that's just the way life works.  Can you create great e-learning with Storyline AND Captivate?  ABSOLUTELY!  That's because the greatest determinator of quality for the final e-learning product is the same as it is with any other type of product. It comes down to the skill of the developer, not the tool they used.  As has been often said:  A bad tradesman ALWAYS blames his tools.

 

Enjoy your time with Storyline.  I hope you create great e-learning.  But I would like to point out that anyone who judges other people's creations (e.g. Adobe's Captivate in this case) when they are incapable of creating anything even remotly like it, might also be considered a tad "arrogant and dismissive" themselves.

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New Here ,
Aug 09, 2020

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Thanks, Rod, for the well-thought response!
I don't usually resort to name calling (arrogant and dismissive). I think this just reflects my frustration lately with Adobe software, which as I mentioned, is a company I truly admire.

 

I'm an educator by trade, and I've made it my mission to help learners understand and apply complex topics with as few obstacles as possible. That means creating interfaces and instructions that are simple, clear, and intuitive. Anything less than that demands extra brain power that could certainly be used for something more productive. When I encounter software that makes me stop and ask "What am I supposed to do next?" -- I'm irritated because it really doesn't need to be this way. With each new update of Adobe products, I find myself asking this question more often. It's funny that I used to scorn Microsoft for their overly-simplistic programs. Now I find myself going to Word and PowerPoint to finish tasks that would take three times as long to complete in Adobe.

 

You're right that the only thing that really matters is the end product -- and if it accomplishes what the designer wants. If someone can get what they want with Adobe, that's great. I guess the reason I chose to do some ranting (sorry) on this forum is that I just started to wonder "Is it just me?" Maybe it is.

 

I'm also a little annoyed that the Creative Suite crashes my Windows 10 with 16GB, but that's another conversation 🙂

 

 

 

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RodWard LATEST
Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 09, 2020

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Thanks for being open-minded about this topic.  Too often here on the forum we find the competition between Storyline and Captivate ends up becoming a "religious" debate with anyone of a differing opinion being branded as bigoted.  (Windows and Mac users have similar problems.)

 

I tend to defend Captivate when it gets attacked because I genuinely believe it is a great tool.  Although as a Technical Writer I was also a heavy user of MS Office apps before moving into e-learning, I didn't find the Adobe interface all that unintuitive.  When it was owned by Macromedia the interface was quite a bit similar to PowerPoint.  Then when Adobe bought it and Captivate 5.0 came out with a more 'Adobe-like' interface I found it still worked for me.  I think it's just a personal preference thing.

 

Are there things about Captivate that I hate.  ABSOLUTELY!  (Don't get me started about the Advanced Actions dialog.)  But there are also things I don't like about Storyline too.   I hate the fact that I can't easily extend its functionality the way I can with Captivate.  It's a great tool, but it feels (to me) like it limits my creativity more.  Your mileage may differ.

 

No tool is perfect, just like no person is perfect. Imperfect tools are just reflecting their imperfect creators.  In the end, if given the choice, we settle for the tool that has the imperfections we tend NOT to notice as much.

 

By the way, if Creative Suite is crashing Windows 10, that's not normal (in my experience).  I would suggest you raise that issue on one of the other Adobe forums.  I have had Creative Suite for many years now and it has NEVER crashed Win 10 (or even Win 7).  You must have some kind of serious incompatibility happening there.  There shoould be crash logs on your system that record where things tripped.

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