Sunday, June 24, 2007

Disposable or re-usable content

In a traditional e-learning environment the general consensus is that when creating learning content you should ensure that your e-learning objects are reusable. However, with rapid training tools such as Adobe Captivate is this still valid?

According to William Ward the keynote speaker on the Adobe e-learning tour I have just finished; in many situations the cost of creating new content is so low that you can just throw the outdated content away and start again and in many cases William (Billy to his friends) is absolutely right!

This is something that I have done many times with the Captivate content I have created. In many cases amount of time and the cost of trying to integrate new content into existing projects just isn't worth it. This is especially true when the narrative needs to be recreated from scratch as trying to ensure the tone and the color of voice-over is exactly the same just isn't worth the time and effort involved.

Yet there are also many instances when, Adobe Captivates flexible work flow has enabled me to literally drop a few new images and voice-over into an existing project and save myself a ton of work.

For example, last week as part of a marketing campaign I had to update an existing product feature tour. In total these updates took no more than approximately 45minutes whereas, creating the project again from scratch would have probably taken me a whole day and this is what I probably love the most about Adobe Captivate. As you may have heard me state before, because Adobe Captivate is so flexible, I can mold my content around my work flow rather than being forced down a single path.

The upshot of this is that whether you always ensure your e-learning content is reusable or you because of a short product life cycle you are happy to throw existing content away and start again from scratch with a rapid e-learning tool such as Adobe Captivate it really doesn't matter.

So over you to. Wherever possible when creating your Adobe Captivate projects do you re-purpose existing content or do you always start with a blank canvas?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Announcing Nutshell

Last week the company I work for ( announced the release of Nutshell - Enhanced Reporting for Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional.

So why I am talking about this in a blog that is supposed to be dedicated to Adobe Captivate and e-learning? Well, because Adobe Captivate works seamlessly with Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional. Integrate Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional with Adobe Captivate and you can track your learner's progress and ensure they meet their learning objectives and what Nutshell does is offer multi-tiered reporting on all Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional trainings as well as meetings and events. With Nutshell you can not only generate reports on your Acrobat Connect activity you can also do the same for all groups, departments or your entire organization!

Want to learn more about Nutshell? View the feature tours I created for this new product, which of course were created in Adobe Captivate!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Upgrading from Captivate 1 to Adobe Captivate 2: Fudging Text Entry Boxes:

Today I am going to share some of my experience of working with Text Entry Boxes when upgrading from Adobe Captivate 1 to Adobe Captivate 2.

Back in Adobe Captivate 1 WebAssist (the company I now work for) asked me if I would create a series of interactive simulations for an eCommerce extension to Dreamweaver – eCart. This was a very detailed project and involved me creating over 60 interactive project files, many of which included TEBs (Text Entry boxes.)

Recently due a number of corporate branding updates I had to upgrade the original Captivate project files from Adobe Captivate version 1 to version 2.

Naturally I started the lengthy process of testing the upgraded files to make sure that during the conversion process no issues had been introduced.

Imagine my horror when I found that any text I inserted into the Text Entry boxes (during preview / run-time) was rendered at a different font size in Adobe Captivate 2.

Here is the reason why this happens.

After upgrading a Captivate 1 project to Adobe Captivate 2, font in text entry boxes appears large in Adobe Captivate 2. This is because of a bug in Captivate 1 and Flash Player. The font used while editing and publishing the SWF file was not the same as the original font. This bug has been fixed in Adobe Captivate 2. However, Captivate 1 projects will continue to have large font in Text Entry Boxes when the projects are upgraded to Adobe Captivate 2.

The Adobe Captivate team offers two workarounds to address this issue.
  1. After upgrading a Captivate 1 project to Adobe Captivate 2, open the upgraded project.
  2. Edit the font in a text entry box.

  3. Use the Apply all option to apply the change to all text entry boxes in the project.

Now in theory this all sounds fine and certainly much easier that the second workaround which I will introduce in a moment.

The problem is that whilst you can change the font size in the TEBs in many cases when testing the TEBs at run-time having entered the correct text and moved to the next slide or whatever On Success action you have specified the text on the next slide of the project jumps slightly.

Now when you’re working with a single project file that has maybe one or two TEBs repositioning the Text Entry boxes isn’t a huge deal; especially since you can use the Advanced Interaction dialog box to locate all these controls. However, when you are working with multiple files all of which have many TEBs then this approach is simply a non-starter.

The second workaround might be a lot more complicated but at least it saves you from having to manually reposition your TEBs.

Here are the steps:

  1. Upgrade all the Captivate 1 projects to Adobe Captivate 2.
  2. From the Start menu, click Run, type REGEDIT, and click OK. The Registry editor appears.
  3. Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Adobe > Adobe Captivate > 2 > FudgeFactor.
  4. Change the value of the FudgeFactor key to 1. The default value of the key is 1.4.
  5. Close the Registry editor. The changes are applied after you restart Adobe Captivate.
  6. Preview or publish the Adobe Captivate 2 projects.

What I do is create a folder on my Windows desktop and Label this “Fudge Factor is set to 1”