My personal view on the three stumbling blocks for developers starting to use Captivate: Timeline, Quiz and Themes. Each basic training should focus on them.
Seven years ago I started blogging about Captivate (with version 4 – 5). Most subjects are more advanced, you’ll find many use cases for advanced and shared actions. Meanwhile I also have spent thousands of hours on the Captivate forums, answering questions ans solving issues. Moreover I am busy as a Consultant and a Trainer (for Captivate and other Adobe applications), both in live and online classes. Based on the combination of those ‘Captivate’ experiences with my former career as college professor, I planned to write this article to line up the three most important Challenges for any Captivate developer, especially for newbies. It doesn’t matter whether you are developing software simulations, soft skills training, responsive or normal projects, if you master those Captivate features you’ll feel more comfortable and save a lot of time. Bonus for me: less questions on the forums . Imagine standing before this natural stone porch, in the middle of the most beautiful desert in the world. You got that Captivate license, but how to start, where to go?
Challenge/Skill 1: Timeline
Nothing can replace a live (or virtual) training for this challenge, but recently I published a sequence of 5 articles on my blog and in the eLearning Community to clarify this subject. Here are the links, not in the ‘logical’ sequence which I used for publishing, but ranked by importance:
Pausing the Timeline, why and how?
Captivate Timeline(s) in cptx-file demystified
Captivate Timeline in cpvc (Video Demo)
If you don’t like reading a blog post, but prefer watching an interactive movie (published rescalable HTML-file):
Challenge/Skill 2: Quiz
Captivate quiz and score slides have pretty strict rules. A lot of functionality is built in the quizzing and score master slides. The two-step Submit process, the priority of the embedded objects cause a lot of problems for starting Captivate users. That explains why every blog post I ever wrote about Quizzing is very popular. Most of them, even after many years, are still visited daily. The challenge here is about the normal Quiz slides, not custom Quiz slides that are created using standard objects, widgets, variables and advanced/shared actions. Those custom question slides are challenging for intermediate/advanced users (watch out for a later blog post for those users). Drag&Drop slides, used as Question slides can be included in the starter’s challenge because they make a quiz more engaging.
What a relief when the car transporting our food and cook was found after a long quest:
Some of these blog posts do need an update, although most of the information is still valid
Question Question Slides – part 1 with the new Review buttons in Captivate 9 the confusion Next-Skip is gone
Question Question Slides – part 2
Drag&Drop Captivate 9 – InBuilt states
ChallengeSkill 3: Theme
It is one of the most hidden gems in Captivate: design of any project can be streamlined when using a custom Theme. A theme includes all object styles, master slides, skin and defaults for software simulations. All are based on a (custom) Theme colors palette, which can even be applied to most Learning Interactions. Creating or editing a theme before starting any project may seem a waste of time, but I guarantee that it will save a lot of time in the process. Small changes to the design, so often asked for, are done in minutes. In many circumstances a well-designed theme makes templates superfluous.
Here are some links to get you started with Themes and Theme colors:
This is my personal view on the stumbling blocks for Captivate starting users. I am not pointing to any step-by-step work flow which may seem astonishing. My focus is on what is often causing the most frustrations for the so-called ‘newbies’, whatever their experience with other applications. As a college professor I used Flipped classes long time before the word was invented: do not spend valuable training time by explaining processes that can easily be found somewhere (videos). Students do not need a trainer for them. Spend class time by taking away obstructions that are slowing down the learning process.
Updated this blog post with more resources (June 2018).
For each of the three stumbling blocks, you’ll find a summary blog with a downloadable pdf which has links to all the blogs I wrote about that challenge. Here is one example:
You’re welcome. Although this blog was published 3 years ago, it is still what I always cover in any basic training, and sometimes also need in advanced training.
You may find three resources documents in this portal, where I list up all the blog posts about these 3 topics. At least 20 for each, lot to read.
Hey, if you want a step by step video instruction training program on how to work with Captivate, here is a post we shared on Adobe community some time ago: https://elearning.adobe.com/2019/05/adobe-captivate-2019-training-beginners/
You’re welcome! Article was written after many years of contact with Captivate developers, consultancy and training. It is such a pity that apparently most training and books simply ignore these problem features. With any training I offer, personalized or not, those three are my first focus.
Lot of my blogs are relevant across versions, certainly this one. Every personalized training I gave recently, proved the importance of these 3 stumbling blocks, Fluid Boxes could be the 4th. I am not talking about newbies, but about users who have taken training, read books, watched tons of videos, still not understanding Timeline and ignoring the importance and time saving to be reached by designing a custom theme.
You’re welcome, Personally I never had problems with the timeline at all, but I do see that most starters have issues with it. Reason for a whole bunch or blogs about the Timeline. Similar for Quizzing and Themees. For the present versions I would add Fluid Boxes as a 4th stumbling block. It is my frustration that most training do not even talk about Themes nor Timeline at all. This is my experience due to the personalised advanced/intermediate training I do give at this moment: I often have to get back to the basics because of those lacks in most training packages and manuals.
Thanks, Lieve. This is a great resource. I think Themes are an area that is too often overlooked. I would like to add that when customizing themes, users should follow their company (or their client’s) Style Guide if one is available. This can help in selecting colors and creating a look and feel that accurately reflects the brand.
Thanks for the nice comment. I added one more resource to the Timeline articles since this particular post appeared. It is the self-paced interactive version of my presentation at Adobe Learning Summit (24 October). It is a rescalable project, you can view it on any device:
This article was not meant to be a sequential list of assets to be learned when starting with Captivate, just sort of a warning that these three items (TQT) are clearly the most essential and difficult to master for newbies with Captivate. How this skills will be learned depends on the learner. Most efficient way of learning is very individual. Such a list as you are asking can never fit everyone. I don’t believe in a canned classroom or online training as is offered eveywhere, IRL or online, with video or with projects.
When I am asked to offer a training, I start by asking a lot of questions. Which type of eLearning will you create? What is your experience with use of software applications? Have you been using any Adobe application or only MS applications like Word, Excel, Powerpoint? Which formal education did you have: an engineer will probably have a different approach to learning than a psychologist.
This comment is becoming very long, and is not providing the answer you expect. My respect for learners as experienced trainer/professor is essential. One recommendation: explore, be adventurous don’t be afraid to make mistakes, on the forums you will always find users to help you out. Personally I never took any training for Captivate, never did buy one book (most of them forget to explain the core aspects I described in this post), learned Captivate by jumping in, by trying to solve my problems and the problems of other Captivate users on the forum. Your way of learning can be totally different. If I coach a basic class for Captivate I will always start by creating a software simulation in the three modes and from those projects help the trainees to understand the Filmstrip, timeline, the difference between interactive and static objects, navigation. Do not start with a responsive project, start with a blank project. Software simulations only use blank master slide, so you can leave the themes for later.
You have my utmost respect for being so caring and accommodating about commenters here.
You and I are in total agreement about different individuals learning things differently, as you aptly pointed out. I am one of those who are accustomed to organization, rules, segmentation, and order.
I realize This is not always possible, so be it. Meanwhile, I would appreciate any expert or newbie to tell me where I can find a sequentially prescriptive methodology for mastering Captivate.
Thanks again for everything you do to help newbies. My problem is I am the newbie of newbies and completely lost as to where to start.
I was hoping to find a step-by-step, sequential order of videos or numbered or bulleted instructions to tell me exactly how to start learning how to use Captivate.
I’m still wandering in the wilderness, 15 days after downloading it.
I would appreciate if you could direct newbies like me to a sequential list.
We have curated a list of topics that will get a beginner started on Captivate. Visit the blog:
Do let us know your thoughts.
You must be logged in to post a comment.