- Demonstration mode (“show me”): Records what’s going on on-screen, but with no user interaction in the Flash movie output. Useful to get your learners oriented to a process or user interface (or just to show them how cool your new system is). Captivate automatically adds text captions that label what’s happening.
- Training simulation mode (“try it”): Captivate automatically adds click boxes, text entry boxes, and feedback (failure/hint captions). Your learner can interact and perform within the simulation.
- Assessment simulation mode (“test me”): The click boxes and text entry boxes are there, but the feedback isn’t. You can actually assess your learner’s ability to use the system.
Here’s the kicker: you can rig Captivate to capture in all three modes at the same time. You don’t have to capture three different times; separate output is available for all three modes.
There is also a custom mode available that allows you to create hybrid “demo-sims.” You can use your imagination as you get more comfortable.
Think about it. If you’re short on time, you can take your learner through a rapidly-built “show me-try it-test me” process that actually requires them to perform in a closely simulated environment before they have to go live.
Is it perfect? No way. You’ll need to polish your captures before you publish. Don’t worry: it’s fairly easy to edit the text captions, straighten/speed up the mouse pointer, and make sure the timing is correct. Still, it’s remarkable how quickly you get get something effective to your learners.
The output is also SCORM-compliant, and can be tracked easily by an LMS (such as Litmos). We’ll soon look at ways to use Captivate with your LMS, but here’s a teaser: Captivate’s Advanced Interaction screen allows you to set or disable tracking/scoring/reporting for every action your learner takes.
If you have mission-critical systems training (like financial or electronic medical records), you may want to know how your learners perform on a click-by-click basis. If you don’t want to look under the microscope, you can just track whether or not they’ve looked at parts of the course. It’s your call. Talk to your Litmos team about how to use Captivate output with the Litmos system.
Tip: There’s lots of great conversation about Captivate on Twitter. According to soon-to-be Adobe eLearning Evangelist RJ Jacquez (@rjacquez), a good bet is to search for and use the #AdobeCaptivate hashtag. If you’re new to Twitter and hashtags, here’s a Captivate demo from RJ on how to add a column on TweetDeck for the #AdobeCaptivate hashtag (how meta!).
We’ll look more deeply at Captivate 5 and look at its feature set (this version, for instance, allows you to set up master slides much as PowerPoint does). We’re also going to look at Articulate Studio ’09 and its own magic bullet(s). Stay tuned!
Many users need to create systems training. Captivate got its start as a Macromedia product called RoboDemo—it made its bones as a simulation tool, and it’s one of the great strengths of the program. You can create demonstrations, interactive simulations, and even hands-on assessments.
Always check with your LMS vendor, but both Captivate and Articulate are SCORM-compliant. Litmos customers: ask the team any questions you might have about compatibility.
We’re going to look at these tools in detail. Next post: a look at Adobe Captivate’s features, and how to think about them from an organizational perspective.
Greetings, worldwide Litmos community!
- Captivate allows import of PP presentations (and round-trip editing).
- Articulate Presenter is integrated with PowerPoint itself (see below).
2. Both have extraordinary support communities (soon, we’ll be looking at these resources in greater detail).
3. Both allow you to judiciously add interactivity and graphic elements (buttons, arrows, quiz interactions, etc.) to static material with ease.
4. These tools come from stable, well-staffed companies. If you invest in either (or both), you will likely see long-term support and improvements.
In the coming weeks, we’ll take a look at both of these tools in greater detail. They are by no means your only options, but using them will help you get moving. The key is to practice and use those guidelines you’ve developed.
Until next time!
Here’s a secret about your learning management system (LMS): it’s rarely used to its full potential. The Litmos crew tells me that clients often have questions about how to “get stuff online.” The questions may seem strange, but the same dysfunctional process plays out all over.
If you’re relatively new to the process of getting your organization’s knowledge ready for eLearning, take heart. There is an extraordinary amount of information out there. Over the coming weeks, we’re going to talk about strategies to get your stuff online, and we’re going to direct you to some favorite resources. Of course, we can only scratch the surface—we encourage you to add your favorites in the comments.
- A client engages an LMS vendor as part of a single, extraordinary training effort (New system! New product! Merger! Revolution!). A consultant builds fabulous eLearning, the LMS people create a model for a repeatable (and scalable) user experience, employees learn and perform, the LMS tracks and reports—but that’s it. No more engagement. There’s no momentum, because nobody at the client organization is empowered to fully use the LMS by getting additional content into the system.
- A client has an LMS relationship in place, and all kinds of assets ripe for conversion: PowerPoint® decks, PDF files, Word® docs, static intranet material, new hire/orientation packages, etc. Unfortunately, the mass of collective knowledge sits there, diffuse, gathering dust…
- You have an LMS environment in place (such as with Litmos), or you are in a position to set one up. This environment gives your learners a place to go when they need to build knowledge and skills, and allows you to monitor what your learners find most effective.
- You have content. Lots of content. Reams of content. This is the hard part. Your people could have access to organized and engaging, rather than semi-accessible and static, content. Example: imagine how your workforce could (really) internalize your company’s marketing strategy, if only they actively participated in eLearning modules instead of just doing some reading.
e-Learning and the Science of Instruction (Ruth Colvin Clark and Richard E. Mayer): Fantastic first read about eLearning. and a terrific example of theory-into-practice. Consider this: if you practice what the authors preach, you’ll have a strong idea of how to use text, visuals, audio, and interactivity. As important: you’ll know why.
Better than Bullet Points—Creating Engaging eLearning with PowerPoint (Jane Bozarth): Let’s face it. This software is everywhere. That’s why I like this book. It’s an excellent complement to e-Learning and the Science of Instruction. If you are just getting started, it might surprise you to realize that PowerPoint is a perfectly fine blank canvas for eLearning. Furthermore, you probably already have some PowerPoint skills. Why is this a foundational book? You will not only gain a wealth of hands-on experience (that transfers to other tools), you will also avoid the monsters of bad eLearning: page-turners and endless bullet points.
Here are some more interesting figures from a different Tagoras report this time called “Association E-Learning: State of the Sector” (my last post focused on a report about LMS costing / implementation time). This one was released over a year ago in March 2009 so the figures may have changed a little, but this time they are in relation to eLearning authoring tools and who’s using what.
From the summary: The report is primarily based on a survey of associations from November 20 – December 19, 2008. Out of the 488 responses received: 61.1 percent were from individuals who indicated that their organization is currently using e-learning. An additional 26.2 percent indicated they plan to start using e-learning within the coming 6 to 12 months, while 12.7 percent indicated they have no plans to start using e-learning in the coming 12 months.
Anyway – on with the interesting figures that reveal who’s using what to design their online learning content:
- 60.4% Microsoft PowerPoint
- 24.8% LMS/LCMS tools
- 13.5% Articulate Presenter
- 8.1% Adobe Captivate
- 7.2% Camtasia (Techsmith)
- 3.7% Adobe Connect
- 1.4% Lectora (Trivantis)
Looks like PowerPoint is still the favorite by a long shot, probably because Microsoft Office would be the all-purpose product suite of choice for most organizations – even before moving in to eLearning – so it’s a natural extension. Plus, it is the base tool that many of the others listed above build on and also because of the familiarity we have with using Microsoft tools.
I see they have done a February 2010 follow up to this report but I couldn’t find an update to these particular figures; it would be interesting to know how things are changing. Maybe it’s time to put together another survey…I’ll work on that.
For more information on uploading different types of content, don’t forget to check out The Litmos Help Guide.
This is the first post in a series I’m doing on eLearning content authoring tools. I should clarify that I’m not affiliated with any of the products I have included in this series.
Founded in 2002 by Adam Schwartz, eLearning company Articulate has grown over the years to offer a full suite of eLearning authoring tools which can be purchased together as ‘Articulate Studio‘ or separately as outlined below:
- Articulate Presenter ’09 – Presenter is a PowerPoint plug-in that allows you to instantly and easily add narration, animations, Flash movie and interactions to your PowerPoint presentation then publish it to Flash. Presenter also enables the integration of quizzes from Quizmaker (below). With SCORM and AICC output for Learning Management Systems (LMSs) this is the perfect tool to liven up your presentations and really involve your learners.
- Articulate Quizmaker ’09 – This is Articulate’s quiz building offering with which you can create interactive, multi-lingual quizzes and surveys filled with multi-choice, fill in the gap, drag ‘n drop, image hot spots and many more types of assessment scenarios. To make quizzes more exciting you can incorporate slide designs and color schemes. All of your essentials are there: question randomization, time limits, passmarks and more. When you’re happy with the end result quizzes can be published to the web directly or connected to an AICC or SCORM-compliant LMS. As mentioned above, quizzes can also be integrated in to Articulate Presenter to be a part of a more comprehensive learning module.
- Articulate Engage ’09 – The specialty of Engage is creating interactive models to explain processes and concepts. The best part is you don’t have to create them from scratch! Engage opens with 10 options for interactions ranging from a process, labeled graphic, circle diagram, time-line and more. Once again, the finished interactions can be integrated in to a PowerPoint Presentation to be published to Flash using Presenter.
- Articulate Video Encoder ’09 – This highly useful tool allows you to record new or convert current rich media video files to .FLV format. During the process you can add in narration, trim and crop the media, brand the content with your logo, and tweak visual and audio settings.
These guys also offer an LMS called Articulate Online which can be used to deploy and track content created using their proprietary tools only.
I have always liked the Articulate brand, but I haven’t used their products until recently. What I’ve always liked about them is they have a thriving and friendly online community. It is definitely a huge resource to take advantage of should you decide to go with Articulate. In fact, they have just published a great list of resources called “How to Get Articulate Support, Training and Tutorials” which just demonstrates how much they want you to succeed.
Finally, with a whole page on their website dedicated to the numerous awards their products have won (see here), it’s no surprise that Articulate has ‘more than 15,000 organizations in 115 countries’ using their products.
I’ve been reading Tom Kuhlmann’s eBook as pictured on the right. Tom is the author of The Rapid E-Learning Blog (part of the Articulate website) and although the book has been around for a wee while, there are some really great ideas and relevant tips in there. I extracted a few of the ones I liked the most for this post:
10 Tips from ‘The Insider’s Guide To Becoming a Rapid E-Learning Pro’:
- The difference between a novice and pro is that the pro knows how to contribute to the organization’s bottom line. Remember, while training is important and e-learning is vital to effective training, the organization’s true goal isn’t to create more training. Instead, the goal is to meet performance objectives. E-learning is just a means to an end, and performance results are the pot of gold at the end of the e-learning rainbow.
- The more relevant the course is to the learners, the more engaged they would be, even if the course isn’t “best in breed” multimedia.
On content authoring tools…
- START WITH A TOOL THAT LEVERAGES POWERPOINT. PowerPoint is a very flexible application and most people have access to it, and there are many products that leverage PowerPoint to create Flash-based e-learning.
- The secret is to step away from the PowerPoint look. Treat it like a blank canvas and you can do some really nice things with it.
- Effective e-learning requires assessment, and there are many similar quizzing tools on the market. What I’d look for is SCORM compliance, ability to publish to flash, and ease of use.
- To get the most out of your authoring tool you need to leverage multimedia to make quality e-learning courses.
On images, audio and video recording…
- One of the main considerations is whether the image can scale without losing quality. Those that can are called vector images and are preferred when working with most e-learning tools.
- When it comes to audio, start with the best quality you can, because you’ll never have better quality than your source file. [Here are some more tips on recording audio]
- Before you commit to using video, ensure that your organization has the infrastructure and investigate the technology available to your end users.
- Make it a habit never to exceed 3-4 minutes on a single video and you’ll avoid losing viewers.
I would definitely recommend giving the full eBook a read as it’s free to download here.