Using the Interactive Master Widget

The hardest part about creating interactions with the Interactive Master widget is getting to grips with how this widget integrates with other objects in Adobe Captivate to work its magic. This is because this widget is somewhat unique in that it can achieve nothing if used in a project by itself. Rather, it requires the presence of OTHER interactive objects on the same slide in order to build complex interactions. The master widget essentially serves as a central controller that gathers information about the Success/Fail status of these other interactive slave objects before reporting a final Success/Fail result for the entire interaction to the Captivate movie.

Watch this HD YouTube video to understand the interface and see the Interactive Master widget used to create an interaction that has multiple correct answers:

So what objects can you use in combination with the Interactive Master widget? You can use ordinary interactive objects that are native to Captivate, including buttons, click boxes, and text entry boxes. However if you choose to use interactive widgets, these MUST be published using the Infosemantics WidgetFactory API version 5.5 or later. Interactive widgets not created with WidgetFactory (e.g the interactive widgets that come packaged with Captivate installations) will not work because they do not have the necessary programming code included to communicate with the Interactive Master widget.

Additionally, Interactive Master widget version 1.1 or later also allows you to add Captivate System Variables or User Variables as slave objects too.  The widget will monitor the values of these slave variable to determine when they are considered as being in a "success" or "failure" condition.  For example, you can have a boolean variable that will register success if its value is set to Yes, True, or 1, and register failure if set to No, False, or 0.  Alternatively, you could have an empty variable register in the widget as success if any value is assigned to it.  This allows Captivate authors great freedom in building simple learning games using variables and Advanced Actions that can now report to the Quiz Results score; something that was previously impossible to achieve.

Installation

After purchasing your new Interactive Master widget, you need to first install it on your computer hard drive so that it will be available for inserting into your Adobe Captivate projects. See this page for detailed information about installing widgets..>

Creating a Multi-Object Interaction

To create an interaction with an Interactive Master widget controlling multiple interactive objects:

  1. Sketch out the design of your interaction on paper to make sure you understand how it is supposed to work first.  A little bit of design up front like this can save you many hours of frustration later.  You need to work out the specifics of which interactive objects would need to register Success (or Failure) criteria, so that the overall interaction could be considered a Success (or Failure). 
     
  2. Once your design is stable, add the required interactive objects to the Captivate editing stage and give each one a meaningful Item Name in the object's Properties tab.

     
  3. For each interactive object, go to Properties > Reporting > Include in Quiz and deselect the check box so that these slave objects will only be reporting to the Interactive Master widget instead of the Captivate quiz.
     
  4. Now go to the Insert menu and select widget from the drop-down list of actions.

  5. Navigate to the location where you saved your Interactive Master widget file and select it.  The widget is added to the slide and the Widget Properties dialog opens by default to the Slave Objects panel.

  6. Click the Add Slave Object button to add the Item Names of all interactive objects that will participate in the interaction.  If adding User Variables or System Variables as slave objects, enter the variable name exactly as it appears in Captivate's Variables dialog, paying particular attention to case and spelling.


    TIME-SAVING TIP: You can enter multiple slave objects at the same time by separating their Item Names with commas in the Add Slave dialog box.
     
  7. Any slave objects added in the previous step will then be listed in the Scoring panel.  You can click the buttons or manually enter numbers to set the relative scores awarded for Success or Failure on each interactive slave object.  Scores can be anywhere between -100 to +100.   Scoring is set by default to a value of 1 for each slave object.  You do not need to change this unless you have something special in mind. For example, you might want to weight the importance of certain slave objects in comparison with others.  Or you might be creating a math quiz and want to use numeric values in a calculation.


     
  8. If you want to create an interaction that reports Partial Scoring, select the option for Use this score to over-ride reported score.  This means that the internal score of the widget, as calculated for slave objects and variables listed on the Scoring panel, will be reported to the Captivate quiz INSTEAD OF the score assigned to the widget under Properties panel > Reporting accordion.
  9. Over-riding the reported score also enables selection of an extra option to Enable out-of-range reporting which would allow scores below 0% or above 100% of the widgets assigned score to be reported to the quiz. 
    NOTE: Use this setting with care, especially if reporting to an LMS as these systems will often refuse to accept a score from a quiz that does not fall somewhere between 0-100.
  10. If you wish to have the combined score output to another existing Captivate User Variable (perhaps for use in Advanced Actions), enter the name of the variable in the field provided on the Scoring panel.
  11. Next you need to specify how the overall Success or Failure of the interaction will be decided.  On the Success/Failure panel you can select from three options. Success/Failure can be based on the number of slaves that report either success or failure. Or it can be determined by the slaves reporting a total score. Or it can be determined by achieving a score that falls within a range of values.  (The last two options are where the values set in the Scoring panel are used.  They are very useful when creating gaming interactions or math problems.) 

     
  12. Select the evaluation trigger from the options on the Evaluate panel. The on screen text explains each of the possible triggers. In the screenshot below you can see I've decided to have the interaction evaluated by clicking an object with the Item Name btn_submit.  This object doesn't have to be an interactive button. In fact it can be almost any Captivate object inlcudiing a graphic, highlight boxe or an ordinary text caption.  The important thing is that when the user clicks this object the widget will evaluate the success/failure criteria of all slave objects and then evaluate the final overall success or failure status of the interaction.
     
     
  13. If desired, you can set other preferences on the Miscellaneous panel.  For example, you can check the Reset Criteria box to Reset Success/Fail criteria after evaluation.  This setting can be used in combination with the Disable Continue pausing option to enable your learners to repeat the interaction as many times as they want. 
  14. The Miscellaneous panel is also where you specify the method used to evaluate success or failure for any User Variables or System Variables set up as slave objects.  If your variable is basically a boolean variable (Yes/No, True/False, 1/0) you should use the option to Register success if Yes, True, or 1; failure if No, False, or 0.  If the variable is normally empty but will be given a value as a result of some user interaction or Advanced Action, you should select the second option to Register success if the variable contains any value; failure if it's empty or null.


     
  15. Your interaction is now ready to publish and test.  Experience shows that it is unlikely to work perfectly the first time you publish, especially if there are some complex interactions and logic involved.  So you'll probably need to make a number of 'tweaks' to the setup before things perform as you intended.

Troubleshooting Issues

The main reasons complex interactions of this type fail to work properly are:

  • Design flaws: It takes practice to work out exactly what it is you want to achieve.  Many times a suspected 'bug' in the widget turns out to be a basic conceptual flaw in the way the interaction was designed.
  • Incompatible Interactive Widgets:  Any interactive widgets you attempt to use with the Interactive Master widget MUST be created using WidgetFactory 5.5 or above so as to contain the required code to communicate their success/fail status to the widget.  All current Infosemantics interactive widgets (at the time of writing this post) have been upgraded to be compatible with Interactive Master.   If you have not as yet upgraded your widgets to the latest version, check it's version number against the details shown on our widget version tracking page.  Please note that if you did NOT purchase the widget, but obtained an unlicensed copy from a third party, you will need to purchase a license before you can download the upgrade.

Comments

This looks really cool.

could you use an embedded FLV or f4v wrapped in a video playback skin as an interactive object?

thanks

Rod Ward's picture

You can only add slave objects to the Master widget that are either recognised by Captivate as Interactive Objects (because they have a Success/Failure criteria) or else User and System variables that have a valid value (True/False,Yes/No,1/0).

To my knowledge this would leave out your idea of using an FLV as a slave.

I purchased the Whole Sebang today, and am loving the Drag and Drop Interactive. The Interactive Master was going pretty well until late this afternoon.

I'm creating an assessment simulation on saving a Word document, and I'm getting a scoring error. I have several clickboxes and one of them is not registering success. All of the settings look correct in Interactive Master. Is it possible for me to upload or send my file to someone to look at?

Suzanne

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