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 information about troubleshooting Captivate, go here.  For information about Captivate's Advanced Actions, go here. For info about our Infosemantics widgets for Captivate, go here.

What the 'Death of Flash' Means for E-learning Developers

Well it's finally official, and even Adobe itself now says so: Flash IS Dead.  

Don't believe me? You can read Adobe's statement for yourself here in a blog post dated November 30, 2015 entitled: Flash, HTML5 and Open Web Standards

Now, I realize you've all been hearing this rhetoric for years now, but this is different.  When your own mother says you're dead, you must be dead, right?

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.

You CAN change the way Adobe builds Captivate!

Have you ever been struggling with some 'feature' in Adobe Captivate and wished you could ring someone with influence inside the Captivate development team at Adobe and tell them "how it should work"?

I've used Captivate since before it was even called Captivate (and before either Adobe or Macromedia owned it).  So I've many times wished to fix or change something that irked me.  But, like you, there was nothing I could really do about it...until...back in 2011 I heard about a free web service called IdeaScale that promoted innovation by allowing you to create your own free website to collect, and categorize improvement ideas for products.  

Now that gave ME an idea!  What if I started an IdeaScale site for improving Adobe Captivate?...That could be cool!

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?

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