Rod's Blog

How LMS server latency can kill your e-learning

If you're an Adobe Captivate e-learning developer, and you're not already using an LMS, then the chances are very good you WILL need to work with one in the near future. When you do, you'll find the issue of LMS server latency is something you need to understand and solve when developing your content.  

Why do you need to understand this somewhat technical issue? How bad can it be?

Well, simply put, it could severely restrict or even cripple your entire e-learning project.  If that doesn't sound good to you, read on.  This post explains what server latency is all about, and what causes it.  Once you've digested this information, I recommend you head on over to this other post that explains the countermeasures you can use with Adobe Captivate to address latency.

Dynamically enable/disable interactive objects

Scenario: Imagine that you have certain interactive objects in your course content that you need to enable and disable based on the values of user variables (or possibly even system variables).

For example, you may want to limit interactivity based on the user’s current quiz score. This might be necessary because you need certain content to become ‘unlocked’ and navigable only after the user has achieved a given score.

How can you use Adobe Captivate variables and advanced actions to control the enabled/disabled state of interactive objects?

Replace disabled image buttons with dummy images

Scenario: You've provided visual feedback on disabled interactive objects in Adobe Captivate using superimposed highlight boxes, but your client has now decided he wants to use image buttons instead, and has requested that they show a disabled state in addition to the usual down, up and over states.

Show visual feedback for disabled interactive objects

Scenario: You have some interactive buttons in your course content that are disabled at certain times. But since disabling an interactive object in Adobe Captivate does not change its appearance in any way, users are often unaware of an object’s inactive state. Some users are even becoming frustrated and complaining about interactive objects that don’t respond, believing they have found a glitch in your course interactivity.  

How can you ensure that users find your interactions more intuitive to use, especially when some objects should NOT be used?

How to limit interactive objects to a single use

Scenario: You have certain interactive objects in your Adobe Captivate course content that you want the user to be able to use only once and then be disabled from then on.  For example, you may be using a menu slide that allows your user to view different branched sections in your content. Once a user has viewed that content and returned to your menu slide you do not want them to be able to visit the same branch again. So you want to disable the button or interactive object on the menu slide that allowed them to choose that branch.

How could you achieve this with Adobe Captivate using variables and advanced actions?

Set up navigation to dynamically captured slides

Scenario: You need to provide a way for learners to jump from any part of the course content to another section where help information or course instructions are provided. But after looking at any number of slides within that section, you need users to be able to jump back to their original departure slide again to resume their course navigation.

How can you make Adobe Captivate remember where the user navigated away from the main content, even after they've visited several other slides in a separate content area?

How to create a non-breaking space user variable

Imagine you're trying to create some cool interactivity in Adobe Captivate where you will need to use Expression actions to concatenate (join together) various text strings and numbers. In some cases you need to insert spaces between words or numbers. But, after trying to concatenate strings using normal space characters (entered via the keyboard) you find that Captivate either truncates (removes) the extra space characters, or adds a 0 character instead of the space.  

How can you trick Adobe Captivate into allowing you to use spaces when concatenating strings?

Is Adobe Captivate Backward Compatible or Forward Compatible?

Here's an interesting question for you: Is Adobe Captivate backward compatible?

This question gets asked quite a lot on the Adobe Captivate Forum and the usual answer is NO.  But that's not quite correct.  

About Backward and Forward Compatibility

Check the actual definition of the term "backward compatibility here on Wikipedia: 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backward_compatibility

Online Tutorials for Adobe Captivate

This section contains advanced tips, tricks, tutorials, and blog articles related to creating more sophisticaed e-learning courses with Adobe e-learning tools such as Captivate, Flash, Photoshop, and the Adobe E-learning Suite.  If you have a particular question related to how to take Adobe Captivate further, drop us an email via the Contacts page.  We may have a solution or write a special article for you!

Sizer - An Essential Tool for Captivate Developers

In this post I explain the benefits of a great little freeware application called Sizer, which allows Captivate developers to instantly resize any application or browser window to an exact, predefined size. You can download this wonderfully useful app from this link.

NOTE: It seems to work fine on Windows 7-10 64bit PCs as long as you set to Run as Administrator.

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