Beyond PowerPoint: The Magic of Themes in Adobe Captivate 6
Depending on your perspective, Microsoft PowerPoint is either the birthplace or deathbed of eLearning. Few issues in online learning inspire such deep and divisive disagreement. The core of the problem is in many ways tied to the debate between didactic instruction (think one teacher or trainer giving a lecture) and discovery based education (think simulations, scenarios and self-teaching.)
The truth is that there is some merit to both approaches and that we don’t have to push one approach away in order to embrace the other.
For many years eLearning authors have used Microsoft PowerPoint to create courses. PowerPoint is easy to learn and contains some fairly robust tools once mastered. It also has set a standard for automating graphical design that can provide an incredibly helpful guide to authors who don’t feel comfortable creating everything from a blank page. Conversely it can lead to ‘Death by PowerPoint,’ when the author leans too heavily on the tool, effectively using it as a crutch.
One way that trainers, teachers, business professionals and eLearning experts have used to combat the crutch of repetitive PowerPoint courses is to grow an ever expanding set of eLearning templates that can be used to create course modules. This served to give birth to the ‘rapid’ movement in eLearning and has proven very popular, especially with those new to the industry, but has often resulted in courses that look like they’ve been minted by a cookie cutter.
Adobe Captivate has been the industry standard for many years, largely because of it’s incredible application capture solution. Now, with the release of Adobe Captivate 6, the eLearning team at Adobe has tackled the problem of bringing genuine customization to the Rapid eLearning world and the results are absolutely ThemeTastic!
Now if you’re an eLearning traditionalist and the phrase ‘Rapid’ makes you cringe, there is something awesome for you in Adobe Captivate 6 Themes. If you’re a newcomer to eLearning and you’re searching for a rapid solution that you won’t outgrow in a few months, Adobe Captivate 6 is phenomenal for you as well. At last there’s one tool that can help everyone bridge the gap, because it is accessible with the ease of PowerPoint authoring while providing game-changing customization opportunities that mean you can create courses with unlimited variations, unify courses and modules with custom branding and consistent looks, and even leverage the out-of-the-box Themes to launch your projects instantly, simply by adding content.
Adobe has pushed the model even farther by creating links right inside of Captivate 6 to eLearning Art and eLearning Brothers, two of the most popular eLearning asset providers in the industry. You can easily find additional themes through these vendors or create your own. (I’ve even done a video tutorial to help you see how easy it is to get started creating custom themes.)
The new Themes in Adobe Captivate 6 extend the support for maintaining and rapidly creating eLearning content further than ever before. You can easily jump into course construction just by adding content to your favorite theme, and that theme can include a wealth of information – way beyond a simple template. In addition to storing an unlimited collection of question and slide layout patterns, your Themes can contain custom font information and all of the color and type information that is used to make the skin and table of contents for your project (if you wish to use them.)
Best of all it’s easy to add, edit, modify and save new themes just by editing the master slides and saving the set you want. You can share your themes with teams, clients, customers and colleagues easily and you’ll find that it is an incredible blend of rapid development facilitation and easy to control customization. At last you can get the speed and ease payoffs of rapid, while maintaining the ease of use and customization of Adobe Captivate 6.