Thursday, December 10, 2009

My First eSeminar on eLearning Suite

Last week I had the privilege of conducting my first eSeminar for Adobe Systems on the Adobe eLearning Suite. The whole seminar was recorded, so if you would like to take a look, here is the web address.

Adobe eLearning Suite - eSeminar

Friday, August 21, 2009

Key update for Adobe Presenter

In Adobe Presenter 7.0.5 released yesterday. Adobe has enhanced the support for embedded Captivate created flash content in Presenter presentations. At last Captivate content containing FMR (Full Motion Recordings) will now play properly without you having to manually copy the Captivate output files to the Presenter data folder.

In addition, the Adobe Presenter team have also fixed a number of issues related to the loss of display fidelity when Captivate content was imported with incorrect dimensions.

You can download the Presenter update by simply choosing Help > Update in Adobe Presenter or any other Adobe product. The update can also be downloaded from the Adobe Presenter Downloads page.

Visit the Adobe Connect Pro User Community to review more of the key highlights of the Adobe Presenter 7.0.5 update.

Friday, August 14, 2009

What does Broadband Support have to do with eLearning? – Part 1

Recently, I had to contact two broadband provider support teams. One of which was an extremely pleasant and productive experience whilst the other was like pulling teeth.

In this blog post I am going to start with the “pulling teeth” experience. In this instance I was asked to help out some folks who had signed up with an ISP for the first time. Like many other people they had relied on the company that they purchased their computer from to help them get up and running so that they could perform simple tasks like sending and receiving e-mails, viewing web pages etc.

Anyway, they had encountered some problems and through a third party I had been asked to help them out; in a previous life (when we were all using 28 K modems) I was an ISP support technician and only too familiar with the way that some companies address support issues.

So on their behalf I got through to the Broadband support help desk. To save some time, I thought it would be helpful to explain to the support person that all I needed was for them to confirm that I had the correct customer email address and password. The response I got was that they couldn’t just give me the customer’s credentials and instead I would have to go through a long winded linear process.

Whenever I hear the word linear, I automatically think of linear eLearning and how sometimes this can be very inflexible; more on that later.

So now I have to go through the process of confirming each of the support person’s steps which they duly broadcast down the phone to me. Everything was fine until the support technician told me to confirm a screen that I didn’t have. The problem was that somebody else had tried unsuccessfully to configure this mail client application and although I knew what the problem was and how to solve it, like a stuck record, the support person could not be flexible, instead they insisted I had done something wrong.

What does this have to do with linear learning? Well, in many sense asynchronous linear learning can be like this support technician because the learning is simply broadcast out to the learner. Ever faithfully followed the steps in a video tutorial only to find that what the trainer is showing is nothing like what you are seeing on your screen? I have and typically this can lead to two things occurring:

1. The learner starts to lose faith in the training / trainer.
2. The learner is left having to try and work out why they cannot reproduce task to match that of the trainer.

In addition, I tend to start shouting at the video screen, trying somehow to will the learning to provide me with the solution – not that this ever works.

Now don’t get me wrong. Getting learners to work out solutions for themselves in the right environment is perfectly acceptable; however, in the wrong environment this ultimately leads to the learner becoming frustrated and losing faith in either the training content or the trainer themselves.

Also, in the case of much of the eLearning content that is created, the learner is never given the opportunity to correspond with the trainer so that they can find out what the problem might be and learn from either their or the trainer’s mistakes.

If you are creating linear and / or video based training it is important to make sure that you provide your learners with a way of asking questions. Whilst many of us don’t want to be inundated with e-mails, one way of addressing this issue would be to provide learners with a newsgroup forum. If that isn’t possible then consider setting up a mailing list or post updates to your course via a Blog or Wiki.

Irrespective of the type of eLearning content you are creating, it is important to understand that in many cases your courses have to be considered as living and breathing entities that will need to be modified and updated - maybe many times - to meet the requirements and expectations of your learners.

Just in case you were wondering I eventually managed to convince the support technician that our screens were different and they then agreed to give me the information I needed to get my customers up and running, as well as provide them with some basic “how to send e-mails” training.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Creating eLearning Prototypes using Adobe Captivate

There is much talk in the eLearning industry at the moment about how can you ensure your eLearning content is engaging.

One of most popular trains of thought is that instead of following traditional instructional design models such as ADDIE (Analyze, Design, Deploy Implement and Evaluate); instead you should create prototypes even before you write your eLearning specification documents.

The thinking here is that by creating quick prototypes and showing them to your learners they can then help you in the process of developing the best learning. After all, if your eLearning content does not resonate well with it’s target audience then what is the point in creating it in the first place?

Let's be honest here; if your eLearning content is as dull as dish water then the chances of your learners getting anything out of it are pretty slim.

The idea of creating prototypes before you really understand what the learning problem is, as well involvement from those who are going to consume the learning, is now seen by many as the best way to ensure your eLearning projects are successful since it results in your prospective learners / users giving you their ideas for free.

Whilst many of the cutting edge eLearning companies still rely on Flash and ActionScript to develop their eLearning content, when it comes to creating rapid prototypes is Flash – as in Flash Professional, not Flash the platform – really the best choice? In my mind the answer is, “no”, because creating eLearning content in Flash is a time consuming process and a better option most of the time is to use a rapid eLearning authoring tool.

Whilst there are many rapid eLearning tools available, I think that when it comes to creating prototypes Adobe Captivate is the best choice; here is why.

Flexible Working Environment
Adobe Captivate provides you with a flexible working environment. Because Adobe Captivate uses the Slide rather than frame metaphor, prototyping in Captivate is incredibly straight forward.

Adding and Editing Content
Adding content (even graphics created in Adobe Photoshop) is very straight forward. Not only that, but thanks to Captivate’s Library panel, replacing existing content with new imagery or audio can be accomplished within just a few steps. In addition you can edit any imported content graphics, audio, Flash files in the applications such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Fireworks, Adobe Flash and Adobe SoundBooth.

Storyboarding your audio
Thanks to the Text to Speech feature introduced in Adobe Captivate 4, you can now include voice-over in your prototypes, enabling you to storyboard any narrative you want to include in your prototypes.

Adobe Captivate includes great interactive objects and control. Anyone who has used Captivate will know that you can insert Click boxes, Text Entry Boxes, Buttons etc. but if you own Captivate 4 that really is just the tip of the ice berg.

Let’s be clear here; although some in the eLearning community still consider Adobe Captivate to be IT System training author tool, that really isn’t the case any more.

Advanced Interactivity
Adobe Captivate 4 introduced Variables and Actions which enable the regular Captivate user to create complex interactive effects. Need to include a button that when clicked will hide several objects? No problem, you can do this thanks to the ability to set Multiple Actions. Want to hide the playback control on Question Slides? Again, easy as pie. You can do this using System Variables.

Want to learn more about Captivate and Variables? Read the “Break the ice with Variables” post on the The Adobe Captivate blog.

Now you may be thinking this is all fine but I can create my prototypes in PowerPoint and output to Flash using other well known eLearning tools and, yes that is true; but Adobe Captivate too can import PowerPoint presentations and– thanks to the Roundtrip PowerPoint workflow introduced in Adobe Captivate 4 you can both edit and keep your PowerPoint and Captivate content in sync.

User Feedback
However that isn’t all that Adobe Captivate brings to the prototyping table. One of the biggest advantages I think that Captivate offers is in being able to receive feedback from your users and integrate this directly into your Captivate project files.

Adobe Captivate 4 introduced a revolutionary new feature called SWF Commenting. SWF Commenting enables you to send your SWF files for review. Your reviewers install a very small AIR application which enables them to add comments to your SWF files without them having to have Adobe Captivate installed. Once they have completed the review process they can then send their comments which can then be imported to the appropriate slides in your project.

Repurpose your Captivate content in Flash
In addition to these points Captivate also provides you with the ability to export your entire Captivate project to Adobe Flash Professional so even if you do want to create your main project or components of the project in Flash, you can still repurpose much of the prototyping you have created in Captivate.


In short, Adobe Captivate provides you with the best environment to create prototypes, modify the content based on user feedback and output to the Flash platform available in the eLearning space.

Friday, July 24, 2009

eLearning Templates

Do you sometimes wish that there was an easy way to incorporate the sorts of games, quizzes and other interactions that Flash developers / ActionScript Programmers include in their eLearning projects?

Well now thanks to e-Learning you can! According to the developers these templates work fine in Adobe Captivate, though in order to edit them you will need Flash 8 or newer.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

OnDemand Resources for Adobe Captivate 4 Users

Senior Product Evangelist RJ Jacquez has created a series of onDemand resources and tips and tricks to help new and existing Captivate users get to grips with Adobe Captivate 4.

Visit RJ's blog post to learn more.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Adobe Captivate 4 Easter Egg

The Adobe Captivate team have revealed a hidden gem in Adobe Captivate 4. For the first time we can get to know the Captivate team a little better.

To access this feature go to Help > Adobe Adobe Captivate. When the About dialog box pops up press the End key on your keyboard.

After a few seconds you will see a Flash demo of the Adobe Captivate team.

At last I can put faces to names!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Adobe Flash Catalyst - First Look

This week Adobe has released the first public beta build of Flash Catalyst on Adobe Labs. Catalyst (formerly known as Thermo) is an application that enables you to quickly build interactive user interfaces and content in Flash without having to perform any coding.

Flash Catalyst enables you to take designs you have created in either Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator and using Catalyst convert these into interactive components including objects such as buttons, scroll bars etc.

At present Flash Catalyst does not bring anything to the Captivate user’s table. Flash Catalyst SWFs do not seem to play well in Adobe Captivate 4.0.1 even if you create AS 3 projects. But that doesn’t mean that there won’t be any integration in the future.

One area where I think that Flash Catalyst might be able to help the Captivate user out would be as an alternative to creating Widgets.

Introduced in Adobe Captivate 4, Widgets though extremely powerful, require that you have a solid understanding of Flash and Action Scripting which unfortunately many Captivate users just don’t have and this where I think that Flash Catalyst could be of use. Personally, I would like to have the option of building components from Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator files that I could then be imported and used in my Captivate projects.

If like me you would like to see Catalyst integration with Adobe Captivate in a future version then please do submit an Enhancement Request.

Some might think that I have my head in the clouds here, but as a member of the Cloud Appreciation Society, I don’t consider having my head in the clouds a bad thing.

You can learn more about Adobe Catalyst from the link I have included below.

Learn about Adobe Flash Catalyst.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Adobe Captivate 4.0.1 - What got fixed.

Further to my post on Friday regarding the Adobe Captivate 4.0.1 patch. Below is a complete list of what issues the Captivate team have addressed.

Note: In order to download the Adobe Captivate 4.0.1 patch choose Help > Updates

Audio Quality improvement

  • In Captivate 4, some users observed poor audio quality in the published movie. We’ve addressed all the elements that caused this issue. With this patch you will see a noticeable improvement in the audio quality.
USB Microphone support for Vista setups and working well with RealTek and Sigma Tel soundcards
  • Captivate failed to recognize USB microphones on the Vista OS. Also, in some instances, specific sound cards were not recognized. Both these issues have now been resolved in the patch.
Open another project’ now works from any location
  • In Captivate 4, the navigation option ‘open another project’ was based on an absolute path. This led to issues when these linked projects were published and moved to a different location. This has now been resolved.
Inserting objects at playhead position
  • We have worked on an important productivity issue. Now it’s possible to insert objects at the exact position the playhead is on. This is helpful for content developers as they can easily play the slide on timeline, pause the slide at a specific time, and insert objects at the playhead position.
Memory Leak in Image insertion and Editing
  • Few customers had reported memory leak issues while inserting and editing images. These have been investigated. The leak was significant only in a specific case and has been resolved now.
Image quality while resizing is improved
  • There was some degradation in the image quality when images were resized inside Captivate 4. This patch will help address this.
HTML page Title
  • Captivate now picks up the title name from Project preferences > Project name section. This name appears as the HTML title when the project is published and viewed in a browser.
Question Type identification by LMS
  • This addresses a specific scenario in LMS reporting. We have worked on the way the question type data is reported to LMS systems.
PPT slides containing Master Templates work well with Captivate
  • Some PPT files containing Master templates were getting corrupted once published from Captivate 4. This has now been resolved.
Widget Template is modified
  • Widget template had a few undefined variables which created compiling problems. This has been sorted out in this patch update.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Adobe Captivate Updater Now Available

Adobe has just announced that the Adobe Captivate Windows updater is now available. I am still waiting to find out what has been fixed but you can download this now by selecting Help > Updates to download and install the fixes.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

First look at Adobe Presentations

Adobe PresentationsYesterday RJ sent a tweet announcing that Adobe Presentations was available on Adobe Labs, so I thought I would take a look.

Presentations is similar to Buzzword in that it enables you to for free create, edit and best of all just as with Buzzword you can share your files – no need for e-mail attachments here which is very cool to say the least.

Naturally being a Captivate user I want to see whether or not I could insert SWF files into Presentations files. At present you cannot do this (though you could insert an FLV file) so I thought I would add this as a feature request which I did.

Within two hours of sending in my request I get an e-mail back from the Adobe Presentations team telling me that this is something that they will definitely consider.

Straight away I filed another request asking that they also enable a user to import / export Presentations files to PowerPoint format. This would then enable Captivate users to convert a PowerPoint file into an Adobe Captivate project. Just as with the first request, this is something they are also going to look into.

I think that this is another tool that I will be able to integrate into my eLearning production workflow.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A spot of color for Dreamweaver

When designing eLearning course, one of the areas that I really used to struggle with was getting the color scheme right. Now when creating my learning projects I use Adobe Kuler. Adobe Kuler is a web application that enables you to experiment with color variations something that is incredibly useful for designers and developers of all shapes and sizes.

If you own the Adobe eLearning Suite, you find that Adobe Flash CS4 Professional includes a Kuler panel right inside the Flash app. However, it is also possible to add Kuler functionality into Adobe Dreamweaver as well.

Adobe Dreamweaver is included in the eLearning Suite because Adobe has added the CourseBuilder extension. CourseBuilder (first developed as a standalone extension for Dreamweaver MX) has been completely overhauled for the Adobe eLearning Suite and provides web developers with a great way to create web-based learning interactions.

Just in case your interested, CourseBuilder offers compatibility with the latest versions of web browsers, is SCORM compatible and includes the following 3 new interaction types:
  1. Matching interaction
  2. Sequence interaction
  3. Likert interaction
To add Kuler functionality into Adobe Dreamweaver, download the free WebAssist extension PalettePicker. PalettePicker is available for both Dreamweaver CS4 and CS3 on Windows and Macintosh platforms.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Interactive or Page Turning Learning

Recently I have been involved in a discussion about Interactive or page turning learning. For those of you unfamiliar with the term page turning learning, this is the kind of learning where an individual listens and watches a concept being explained by an instructor. The only time they get to interact with the training is when they are asked to click a button to move to the next page / slide. In Adobe Captivate terms page turning learning is the kind of learning you would create as a demonstration.

Before going any further, it is only fair to point out that for over 10 years I created page turning learning in the form of video tutorials for the online training company Virtual Training Company. During this period I received countless e-mails thanking me for developing what was then considered to be some of the best video tutorials on my specialist subject Dreamweaver. I am therefore not completely against this kind of learning.

Additionally, at work I still create our feature tours using Captivates demonstration mode.

However the big question is this. Does page turning training enable learners to grasp the concepts you are trying to teach and make those mental connections required to ensure that they recall what they have learned after a certain period of time?

In most cases, to ensure that a learner can fully grasp what you are trying to teach them they need to engage with the training. If you are reading this and think that this type of interaction can be accomplished simply adding a quiz at the end of your course, then be aware that this might not be a good indication that your learners have been successful. Many learners are able to pass a quiz soon after they have completed a training course, simply because they have a good memory.

So if page turning or demonstration-based learning is considered ineffective, what are the advantages of creating an interactive training course?

Below are some reasons why interactive training can be more effective:

  1. It can be measured.
    Demonstration based learning does not provide you with a clear indication of how well a learner performed, whereas with interactive based learning you have the ability to track and score every time a learner interacts with the learning.

    Adobe Captivate enables you to track and score each interactive object such as a click box, button etc via the Reporting tab. The interactive data can also be published to a Learning Management System or Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional. In fact any interactive learning project can be treated as a quiz, providing the learner with a score at the end using the Quiz Results slide

  2. Failure is acceptable.
    One of the reasons why I think that interactive learning can be so effective is because it provides learners with a safe environment in which to fail. Whilst failure isn’t always seen as a positive thing - after all who wants to fail at something, right! – making mistakes can be a very effective way to learn.

    There are two advantages here:

    Firstly, software training learners (especially those new to a subject) don’t have to worry about breaking the software. In the past when I was a classroom trainer, many students on the first day would want reassurance that they couldn’t damage the software before they were prepared to try out the tasks themselves.

    Secondly, Interactive training can provide a learner with feedback that can assist them perform the task at hand. In addition, if they repeatedly fail they can be redirected to an earlier part of the course, or at least encouraged to review additional learning before they continue.

    In Adobe Captivate you can provide visual feedback using success, failure and hint captions and redirect additional learning using branching. You can also determine what happens if the learners passes or fails the lesson or course.

  3. Learners can discover the learning for themselves.
    Thanks to the fact that Adobe Captivate includes the ability to branch, your courses don’t have to be linear. Learners can branch from one section of the course to another, enabling them to discover the learning for themselves.

    Adobe Captivate has great branching capabilities, enables you to visualize the branching using the Branching view and thanks to the new scripting feature – Advanced Actions and Variables introduced in Adobe Captivate 4 - provides you with a great set of tools for creating advanced interactivity.

    If you need to go the extra mile and own the Adobe eLearning Suite, you can create even more complex interactivity using Adobe Flash CS4 Professional, which includes a comprehensive set of Learning Interactions.

  4. It is self-paced.
    Another benefit of interactive learning is that it enables a learner to learn at their own pace. As creator of eLearning content as well as a consumer, I want to understand the steps being demonstrated before the instructor moves on to even more advanced concepts.

    There have been many occasions when watching a video tutorial where I have shouted back at the screen “back up, I don’t get that bit, show me those steps again.”

    Yes, you can always just rewind the video and play it again, but that certainly isn’t as effective as being able to try out the steps for yourself before you move on to the next series of steps.

    Using the self-paced option built into the Table of Contents feature you can enable learners to dip in and out of a training course.

Can page turning learning ever be effective?

In some cases this style of learning can still be very effective, particularly if you are creating learning for advanced learning where a learner is already very comfortable in the subject matter but just wants to take this to the next level.

It is also fair to say that in the right hands demonstration based learning can be a very powerful tool.

Both Adobe Captivate and Adobe Presenter (part of the Adobe eLearning Suite) can be used to create good quality demonstration based learning.

In some cases even with interactive training it is possible to sprinkle bits of demonstration learning. An example of which in where a learner is already performed a particular task several times earlier in the course and easing of the interactive peddle is possible.

Happy Holidays for Monday

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Clearing dat file

Sometimes Adobe Captivate (like any other piece of software) can behave oddly. Instances where the Timeline won’t open or a certain project won’t publish properly are just two examples of the sort of problems I have experienced over the years working with this program.

The blame for many of the issues you experience in Adobe Captivate can be laid firmly at the door of Captivates DAT file.

Many software applications use dat files. In short this file type is used to store some kind of data.

In the case of Adobe Captivate the .dat file is used (amongst other things) to store session preferences. Adobe Captivate has two kinds of preferences. Project and Session preferences.

Project Preferences
These are the preferences that are specific to a project, such as publish or quiz settings. Project preferences are stored in the Adobe Captivate file itself so that they can travel with the project.

Session preferences
Session preferences are ones that are applied to all projects, for example if you change an objects default settings then these are changed for all the projects. It is these kinds of preferences that are stored in the .dat file.

Adobe Captivates .dat file – in the case of Adobe Captivate 4 called captivate_v40.dat - can be found in the following location.

Windows Vista
Drive Letter\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Captivate

Windows XP
Drive Letter \Documents and Settings\UserName\Application Data\Adobe\Adobe Captivate

Note: You will need to make sure that you have set the Windows Folder option – Show hidden files and folders before you will be able to see the Document and Settings Folder.

It is also possible to peak inside your Adobe Captivate .dat file by opening it up in a text editor. However I would first recommend that you create copy of any application file before attempting to open it.

Adobe Captivate 4  Dat file

Above is an example of the type of information stored in the Adobe Captivate 4 .dat file.

Why the .dat file sometimes becomes corrupted is unclear but the good news is that removing this does seem to solve many of the problems you may encounter.

Replacing the .dat file

Replacing the .dat file is incredibly straight forward. Start by closing Adobe Captivate and then rename or move the captivate_v40.dat file outside of the Adobe Captivate folder.

The next time you start Adobe Captivate, the program will automatically re-create the .dat file for you.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Removing the Captivate file bloat

Have you ever noticed that copying original slides and objects from an existing project to a new one can dramatically reduce the file size of the new project?

Manoj from the Adobe Captivate team has recently provided some insight on why the copy paste trick is so effective.

[Quote]From a programmers perspective this is what is happening.

Earlier versions of Captivate had some inaccuracy in cleaning up resources.

A resource ( there are many which are internal and not visible to the user other than those in Library) is always linked to some captivate object. When this object was deleted or changed then the corresponding resource use-count should go down.

This resource should be removed once the project is saved so as to maintain proper resources.

With the number of workflows it turned out that the use-count of these resources are not 0 even though these are no longer being used.

Once this happens captivate sees a particular resource with use-count > 0 and keeps loading/saving it all the time, slowly increasing the size of the project.

How does copy-paste help us out ?

When you copy paste, the items is copied and pasted with exactly the only resource its using, Thus the new file need not bother about unused internal resources. Hope this clears the mystery surrounding this trick.

Why has this not been done already ?

If this has to be corrected then every time a project loads we might have to check for all resources' mapping with objects in the project, without looking at the use-count. This will lead to unreasonable project load times.

A repair tool can be made, but the workaround being so simple it better be left as it is. [/Quote]

Removing Unused objects
Another great way to ensure that your Captivate project files are kept small is to select all of the unwanted objects in the Library panel by pressing the Select Unused Items button and then pressing the Delete button.

Adobe Captivate Library panel with Unused Objects selected

By default in Adobe Captivate 4 when you first open a project, you will also be notified of any unused objects that are present in your file project.

If project bloat is something that you would like to see addressed in the next version of Adobe Captivate then please file an enhancement request via the Adobe Captivate Feature Request/Bug Report Form. According to Manoj since Captivate is currently being overhauled for the next version (Adobe Captivate 5) now is the best time to get this kind of request from the Adobe Community.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Adobe announces beta for Captivate for the Mac

Ok so it is official. Adobe has announced the first of the software builds for Captivate for the Mac. This is a momentous occasion and therefore something I just had to blog about. If you own a Mac and can put some time into testing the first ever build of Adobe Captivate for the Mac OS then complete the Adobe Prerelease form

Adobe Captivate 4 Success Story

In many of my posts you will have noticed that I tend to write about examples of work that I have created for my employer so I though in today's post I would share the link to the Adobe Captivate success story we had the privilege to create for the launch of Adobe Captivate 4

You can read how as training manager for the company I (and others) use Adobe Captivate in our day to day lives. WebAssist Adobe Captivate 4 Success Story

Friday, May 08, 2009

The case of the disappearing Captivate objects

Recently I have been working on updating a number of existing Captivate projects, most of which have the following type of ending slide.

Having made the required alterations to the first project when I previewed this in Adobe Captivate 4, I noticed that everything (part from the slide background) on the last slide disappeared after the playback head had reached the end of the project.

How strange I said to myself (or words to that effect) and tested this with another project – same result. Maybe the original project file had become corrupted I thought and proceeded to create a new blank project and copy all the slides to this new file. Yet again when I previewed, low and behold all the objects on the last slide behaved the same way.

After some head scratching I found that if I set the duration of all the objects on my last slide to “Rest of project” and select the “Place object on top” check box then all the images, text captions etc remained on screen.

Happy that I had managed to find a solution, I applied this duration setting to the rest of the objects on the last slide of all my projects and carried on working.

Once I had finished the task at hand, I then decided that it would probably be a good idea to file this as a bug.

Yesterday I received an e-mail back from the Adobe Captivate team with another solution to this problem. Instead of setting the object duration to Rest of Slide, setting the Slide exit navigation menu to “No Action” also resolves this issue.

Even though sometimes Adobe Captivate 4 does seem to behave oddly, it is always reassuring to know that 9 times out of 10 if you report a possible bug to the Captivate team, they are able to provide you with a workaround solution.

You can report bugs as well as make feature requests using the Adobe Captivate Feature Request/Bug Report Form

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Photoshop Product Manager Blogs about CSS Designer Starter Kit

John Nack, Product Manager for Adobe Photoshop has very kindly blogged about the WebAssist CSS Designer Starter Kit for Photshop. You can read what John had to say on his blog.

Although this was the last project I worked on in Adobe Captivate 3, we did recently updated this interactive training package to include some detailed information on helping learners visualize the box model so I did manage to add some advanced actions, including an image toggle button, which I will blog about another time.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

CSS Menus Starter Kit

Today sees the launch of the latest Adobe Captivate project I have been working on for my employer WebAssist The CSS Menus Starter Kit for Photshop. This was the first project I worked on in Adobe Captivate 4 so it was great to be able to take advantage of some of the new functionality version 4 has to offer including being able to take advantage of the Adobe Captivate 4 Aggregator.

The Adobe Captivate 4 Aggregator enables you (finally) to combine published files (SWFs)and includes a table of content plus other features such as "self paced learning" and a really nifty Search option. I have to be honest and say that at one point I didn't think that we were going to be able to use the Aggregator.

You see by default in Firefox when you load the published Aggregator (SWF)it loads and plays the audio (my voice over) from each of your published tutorials (SWFs)which as one of my colleagues pointed out:

"What a lovely cacaphony of Fletchers! A veritable flight of Fletchers, if you will. The new Aggregator certainly is making quite the impression"

Thankfully we managed to address this issue by disabling the Auto Play option, which can be found in the Start and End category of the Project preferences. Though you have to do this for every single project file - which did prove to be a bit of a pain. Also bear in mind that once you do disable the Auto Play option when you publish you then just get a Play button appearing in the center of the screen.

However, the good news is that you can add your own background image. Below is the screen shot of the background image we are using in this and all future starter kits.

Oh, just one final point, the style of the Play button you have seen in this blog post is determined by the style of skin you choose for your Playback Control.

You can learn more about the CSS Menus Starter kit available for both Photoshop and Fireworks then please visit this web addresses.

CSS Menus Starter Kit for Photoshop
CSS Menus Starter Kit for Fireworks

VTC Hat Tip

I used to work at VTC and had the pleasure of creating quite a few Dreamweaver instructional videos. I left VTC in 2006 to meet new challenges and broaden my horizons at Web Assist and again like at VTC I work in a great friendly environment filled with talented individuals who have a real passion for what they are doing.

Since leaving VTC they have continued to create intuitive titles and the latest Dreamweaver CS4 training video is worthy of a mention. The videos are created with the beginner to Dreamweaver CS4 in mind or anyone upgrading to CS4 from a prior release. Feature by feature Dreamweaver CS4 is the most significant release of the program since Adobe acquired Macromedia. The real beauty of these training videos is that they are split up by subject, so for those of us who already have a some background with Dreamweaver (or design in general) it’s easy to skip the introductory stuff and get right to the new features and upper level techniques.

Beginners Dreamweaver CS4 Tutorial Video

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Adobe announces Adobe Captivate 4 and the eLearning Suite

Today sees the launch of both Adobe Captivate 4 and the eLearning Suite. As Training Manager for WebAssist I need a tool box that enables me to deliver rich and engaging eLearning experiences whether you want to deploy your eLearning content to the web, desktop, mobile device or an LMS the Adobe eLearning Suite is right on the money.

Here is what is included in the Suite
  • Adobe Captivate 4
  • Adobe Flash CS Professional with Learning Interactions
  • Adobe Dreamweaver CS with CourseBuilder Extension
  • Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended
  • Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro
  • Adobe Presenter 7
  • Adobe Soundbooth CS4
  • Adobe Bridge CS4
  • Adobe Device Central CS4
  • SCORM Packager
Learn more about the eLearning Suite and what I think of this incredible new suite of applications