Book: Adobe Captivate 7 for Mobile Learning

People are often asking me if I can recommend good study material about Adobe Captivate 7. Of course, there is a lot of “free” material available on the web, especially from the Adobe site, but it is not always easy to get a full, structured overview of what is the best way to use the program to its full potential.

Recently, I had the opportunity to review Adobe Captivate 7 for Mobile Learning, written by Damien Bruyndocnkx. The title indicates that the book was written with a specific focus on the use of Captivate for Mobile Learning, but it is also a good introduction for people who are just getting started with the program and want to create animations and simulations that will just be published to pc. If you are creating e-learning content today, it is in your best interest to go directly for a “mobile-friendly” format, as you will get the question anyway to make your content available on iPad or other devices.

The book is really “hands-on”, with practical step-by-step exercise and does not just explain the features of the program, but teaches you the optimal “workflow” to produce Captivate content. This is what makes this book stand out from some others that are just explaining what the different buttons in the program do.

The book is available in e-book and paper format. Table of contents and sample chapters are available.

What if Captivate 6 or 7 sends zero-scores to your LMS?

Recently, we ran into an issue with a piece of Captivate 6 content in our LMS. Although the content did not contain any quizzes, the content sent a score of 0 to the LMS, messing up the reporting.

We had a look at the reporting settings in Captivate, these were the settings used:

captivate quiz

If you use these settings, the content communicates the following to your LMS:

[2013-06-16 09:15:49] LMSSetValue(“cmi.core.score.raw”, “0”)
[2013-06-16 09:15:49] LMSSetValue(“cmi.core.score.max”, “0”)
[2013-06-16 09:15:49] LMSSetValue(“cmi.core.score.min”, “0”)

Strangely enough, the solution is very simple: under Data to Report, you change the option Quiz Score to Percentage. This stops sending cmi.core.score values to the LMS. You would expect that this setting has no importance because you specified that you do not want to track the Quiz, but it does make a difference.

quiz data

I have noticed exactly the same behaviour in Captivate 7.

iBooks, the future of course material?

If you are in the training and learning business, you know that course material always has been the subject of many discussions. Some say it is necessary, others say that they are never used, but most students want “a manual”. Entire forests disappeared because of it, the added value of it is uncertain.

What if you could avoid using paper, and make the manual really deliver added value? I spent some time playing with iBooks author, a manual in Word format about an IT application, and Adobe Captivate software demo’s, to see if this could be a valuable alternative.

The workflow to replace all your paper based manuals by this solution would be:

  • Get yourself a Mac :–)
  • Get yourself an iPad if you want to preview your iBooks
  • Download a copy of iBooks author
  • Import your Word document into iBooks author
  • Publish your Captivate demo’s as .mp4 (standard publish function in CP 5 and higher)
  • Convert your .mp4 files to .m4v with QuickTime
  • Insert the demos in your iBook using the Media widget
  • Add some interactivity if necessary, e.g. multiple choice questions
  • Publish your project
  • Distribute your iBook (via the store or as a file)
  • Get an iPad for all your students :–)

I will let you judge for yourself. This is the result:

How to publish a Captivate project to a SharePoint site

Microsoft SharePoint is an interesting platform if you quickly want to publish your e-learning content. These are the steps to publish an Adobe Captivate project to a SharePoint site:

1. Publish your Captivate project as Flash(SWF), and make sure that you have the option Export to html checked. This will produce a set of files: a .html file, a .swf file and a .js file.

2. Upload these files into a document library on a SharePoint site. You can start your project by clicking on the .html file.
If you are running SharePoint 2010 and the file does not open, you might need to change a security setting in SharePoint. Also, SharePoint has a default file size limit of 50 MB. Your system administrator can increase this limit.

3. Optional, but recommended: to make it easier for your users to start your course, you can include a link to the .html file on the home page of your site.

Watch the demonstration below for more detailed instructions:


Issues with Adobe Captivate 4 and Windows 7 64-bit

I am running Captivate 4 on a Windows 7 64-bit operating system, and this does not seem to be a good idea; although most of the functionality works fine, I am having problems editing items in the library. E.g. when I try to edit a background with Paint or another graphics application, it opens the background, but when I save my changes, Captivate hangs. It does this consistently, and it has been confirmed as an issue by other users (see Other users are even reporting issues with capturing 64 bit applications.

So for now, if you want to use full functionality of Captivate and you have a choice between Windows 7 32 or 64 bit, I would go for 32 bit. Lets hope that everything will be fixed in Captivate 5 or with the next update.