Rod Ward'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.

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.

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?

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?

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