Rod's Blog

About Rod's Blog

 Hi there! I'm Rod Ward and thanks for visiting my blog.  I certainly hope you find the information you're looking for.  But if not, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me via the Contact link on the main toolbar above.  Ask any question you want, and if I know the answer, or where to find it, I'll tell you.

The blog articles listed below are in order of being added to this site.  These articles are mainly tutorials related to creating e-learning with Adobe Captivate.  If you're really more interested in some other kind of  information about e-learning, please let me know.

Converting Adobe Captivate SWF courses to HTML5

Some time ago I wrote a blog about what the Death of Flash means for e-learning developers. It proved to be one of the MOST popular posts I've ever released, and in the days that followed I received many emails from appreciative readers. But almost all of these respondents wanted to know the answer to the same question:

My Adobe Captivate template - Part 2 - Dynamic Date Functions

In this tutorial I explain some of the features built into my Adobe Captivate project template to support dynamic display of date and time information.  

I'll show you how I've set up my own template to dynamically display the playing duration of a module at runtime.  This functionality is very useful when you want to dynamically give the user a heads-up about how much time they need to allow so that they can be mentally prepared for the learning experience.  

Another useful feature in the template enables you to easily add different types of date formats that are NOT supported out of the box with Captivate via system variables. For example, you may need to be able to show the current date, in either medium or long date format, on printable completion certificates.  If you or your client is based in the USA, you may also want to use the US date format instead of the European format.

All of this is possible in Captivate! You just need to build your own dates using Advanced Actions that use Captivate's built-in System Variables to assign the values to custom User Variables. Once you have all this set up, just execute the special Advanced Action that sets up all the date variables using the On Slide Enter event of one of the initial slides in the project. From then on, these date variables will be available for use anywhere in the rest of the project.

Watch the YouTube video below to see how this is all done.  

Duplication Issues in Adobe Captivate Cp7 and Cp8 Templates

In my last blog post I introduced readers to the Adobe Captivate template I personally use when creating e-learning projects for my own clients. Hundreds of people downloaded the FREE versions of that template that I made available.

However, this week I've stumbled over some troubling issues that make using template files in Captivate versions 7 and 8 very problematic.  In fact I would go so far as to say that if you intend to use custom variables and Advanced Actions in your e-learning projects built with Cp7 or Cp8 my strong recommendation is that you DO NOT use CPTL template files to create new CPTX files.

If you do, you're going to discover that Captivate proceeds to duplicate (sometimes multiple times) your variables and advanced actions, creating a huge mess.  Worst of all you have no way to remove the duplicates because the project file thinks they are still somehow linked to the original template.

Watch the YouTube video below, which will explain the issue in more detail.

Create a Dynamic Menu Slide in Adobe Captivate

Have you ever wanted to add more interactivity to your e-learning course by including a Dynamic Menu Slide with links to sections of your content? You would not normally use this type of navigation for strictly linear e-learning modules.  But if the course module has several content sections and they can be done in any order, a menu slide makes good sense.  

Well in these video tutorials I show you how to do just that with several progressively more complex examples, starting from a bare bones simple example, up to menu slides that include visual feedback to indicate which items a user has interacted with, and finally to a very complex menu slide that is built into the Infosemantics project template that you can download for FREE from this website.

Start with simple examples first!

The first video below explains how to create very simple menu slides that require only interactive objects. Then it moves on to two more complex examples that require custom User Variables and Conditional Advanced Actions. Don't worry if yiou are unfamiliar with these concepts as I explain how everything works from the ground up.  

Watch the first YouTube video below to see how all of this is done!

My Adobe Captivate template - Part 1 - Overview

In this article I'm introducing you to my own personal Adobe Captivate course building template. It's the one I've been developing and using for the past several years in my work as an Instructional Designer and E-learning Developer. This is the template I now take with me from client-to-client when I'm working under contract.  I've found it saves an enormous amount of time in the course development process, and in the YouTube video below I provide a brief overview of the different sections it contains and why I use it.

However, please be aware that this is DEFINITELY NOT one of those simple Captivate templates you may have seen advertised on the internet with glitzy slide backgrounds plus eye-candy graphics or avatars and cartoon characters thrown in to dress up the content.  This template is ALL about functionality rather than look-and-feel like most other templates.

Watch the YouTube video below

I give you a quick overview of how this template works, why it's so different to most others, and how I use it professionally.

Why I owe an apology to everyone on my mailing list

Late last year I added a sidebar block to my website welcoming all visitors, inviting them to join my free email list and receive "weekly tips, tutorials, troubleshooting info, and creative solutions".  

For a while I was able to maintain that schedule and keep my promise. But then, unhappily, things got in the way. In fact, it's now been around 6 months since my last weekly newslettter.

Understanding 'Infinite Attempts' in Adobe Captivate

In Adobe Captivate, all interactive objects, quiz questions, and even the entire quiz itself  have the option of being allowed ‘Infinite Attempts’.  But this term is often misunderstood by Captivate developers resulting in many questions posted on the Adobe Captivate Forum.  You can often see e-learning authors there asking why Captivate interactions won’t allow them to click indefinitely on the same object or quiz question multiple times in a row. They often proudly proclaim they have set the number of attempts to Infinite, but still only get a single success action.  They're baffled by this seemingly inconsistent behaviour.

For example, the screenshot below shows a typical quiz question slide with Attempts set to Infinite

What most Captivate authors expect to happen is that this setting should mean  their user can keep attempting the quiz question again and again as many times as they like.  Unfortunately, that's NOT what happens. As soon as the user selects the correct answer, they've used up all attempts and get taken to the next slide.

So when does Infinite not really mean Infinite?  Well, it's really not that complicated...

Create your own custom image buttons for Captivate

Let's say one day you're working on a project in Adobe Captivate and you need to add an interactive button.  Rather than just insert a standard text button or transparent button, you decide to change the Button Type to image button because you want it to match a specific visual design or branding requirement, and because you also want to see the look of the button change states. (With an image button the default Up state is shown when there is no user interaction with the button. The button's appearance changes to an Over state when the user places their mouse cursor over the button, and a Down state when the button is clicked. Three states.)

However, after searching through the dozens of image buttons displayed under Properties > General Button Type in Captivate, you cannot find any that match the look and feel of your particular requirements.  So what can you do?

One solution is to create your own custom image button/s so that they match the required branding, and you can re-use them again and again in any projects that require this particular visual treatment.  

But just how do you create custom image buttons, and what are the pitfalls to beware of?  

Set up Adobe Captivate e-learning to mimimize load on Learning Management Systems

If you're an Adobe Captivate e-learning developer, there's more than a 50% chance you're also delivering your e-learning courses via some kind of Learning Management System (LMS for short).  If so, sooner or later you'll encounter an issue where course participants complain about the content "freezing up" or pausing repeatedly during playback.

This issue is usually caused by LMS server latency. In mild cases it can just be annoying. In serious cases it can completely cripple your e-learning project.

If you haven't already done so, I recommend you read this other blog post first to understand what server latency is all about and how it can impact e-learning. Once you understand the issue better, come back and finish this post to learn about the countermeasures you can use to address it in Adobe Captivate.



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