Category Archives: authoring tools

Bespoke feedback in Captivate assessments – Part 3

This is a follow up post to my previous Bespoke Feedback in Adobe Captivate Assessments.  I was reviewing the results slide and thought that having the subject to be reviewed appearing with text ‘You might want to review’ on each line was a little clumsy and so I wanted to put the review text separately.

This meant I needed to add another tab in the advanced action which would present the review text if any of the subject text was going to be presented.  This took advantage of using the condition ‘if any of the conditions are true’ option.

This might sound a little complicated but it really is quite straightforward.  Have a look at the video.

Could there be another way of making the text appear?

I’d love to have your feedback!


Creating Bespoke feedback in Captivate Assessments

I’ve recently been putting together some assessments for a new system release and was presented with a request.  Our project lead wanted the assessments to let the delegates know the subject area that they got wrong, without having to use the ‘review quiz’ option in Captivate.  The review function in Captivate is fine, but not only does it tell the delegate which question they got wrong, but it also tells them which was the right answer.  We didn’t want to do this, so I had to devise a way of presenting subject areas only, which they would need to revisit before re-taking the assessment.

I also wanted to keep the random question functionality along with the question pools.

So I came up with this solution.  This is my first attempt at doing a demo video – I had to cut it into two!  Hope this is useful.

Creating a menu in Captivate

As I’ve mentioned before, we’ve had Adobe Captivate 5.5 for over a year now, and with no formal training, me and a few others are learning the software as we go.

Here is an example that I put together of a menu using the rollover sidelet feature.  This was inspired by the ‘flat’ design of this website Palace which utilises a tiles layout with rollovers.

Here is the example

Click on the picture to see the example
Click on the picture to see the example

As the user hovers round the sections, a transparent colour appears.  When they click on the colour, information about that section is shown, and then they can click to be taken to that section.  The concept is quite simple, but here is how I did it.

I used rollover slidelet as this has two functions in the properties box.  ‘On click’ and ‘On rollover’.

  • First of all – make sure all pictures, colour blocks and transparencies are named! this will avoid confusion later.
  • Arrange the slide how you want it with all of the elements on it.
  • Insert the rollover slidelet – but remove the ‘reveal’ shape – we only want the rollover box.
  • Build some Advanced Standard Actions – you will need to create a standard action for each of the rollover boxes, this is so that the transparent box will appear, and then disappear when the mouse rolls over another box.
  • The standard action will be something like this

Standard action name – ‘Rollover_1

Show – Colour_orange

Hide – Colour_blue

Hide – Colour_red

Hide – Colour_Dark blue

  • Create the standard action for the rest of the coloured boxes, revealing each colour, but hiding all of the others.  Turn the visibility of each of the coloured shapes off.
  • Under the properties box for the rollover, on rollover, choose ‘execute advanced actions’ then choose the relevant standard action.
  • I then duplicated each slide so that when the delegate clicks on the rollover slidelet, they will be taken to the relevant slide where the information for each section will be displayed.  Again in the properties panel, under ‘on click’ choose ‘jump to slide’
  • It’s then just a matter of inserting click boxes to either go back to the main menu, or to the actual module itself.

Hope this was interesting – If you have any thoughts as to how I could do this in a simpler way, please let me know!

Captivate Quizzes – a quick workaround part 2

In my last post I looked at getting most of the information from the results slide off the stage so that I could get  a consistent look with using the results (I wanted to use Century Gothic which does not seem to be supported in the preferences in Captivate).  Now I wanted to show certain text depending on what the result was.  Here is my results page now.

Results slide with blocks of text for all options

Here I’ve inserted the system variables for the quiz results.  Note that the percentage attained is listed as $$cpinfopercentage$$ as the variable that is associated with the quiz is only the pass percentage.  The blocks of text have been named ‘Failed’,’Max_attempts’, and ‘Passed’.

  • Go to Project
  • Advanced actions
  • In ‘Action Type’ select ‘Conditional Actions’
  • Name this ‘Results.

You can subdivide this action using the tabs in the middle of the page.  Name these ‘Passed’, ‘Max_attempts’ and ‘Passed’.

Under failed –

  • select variable cpQuizInfoPointsscored
  • Choose ‘Is less than’
  • select cpQuizInfoQuizPassPoints (the number of points needed to pass)
  • The action is ‘Show’ the ‘text_failed’ text on the page.
  • Under ‘Else’ select ‘Hide’ the ‘text_failed’

Under ‘Max_attempts’

  • Follow the same process but use the variables ‘cpQuizInfoAttempts’ is equal to (literal) 3
  • Action is ‘Show’ ‘Max_attempts’ text
  • Else ‘Hide’ ‘Max_attempts’ text

Under ‘Passed’

  • If ‘cpQuizInfoPointsscored’
  • is ‘greater or equal to’
  • cpQuizInfoQuizPassPoints
  • Action – Show ‘text_passed’ and Hide ‘text_failed’ and ‘Max_attempts’
  • Else ‘Hide’ text_passed.

This should allow your user then to be presented with bespoke text depending on their results.

I hope this makes sense – and I know this is quite a straightforward advanced action.  If you have any ideas as to how I can tweak this further please leave a comment and let me know.

Here are the screen shots to illustrate the points above.

Failed advanced action.
Max attempts advanced action
Quiz passed. Note that both the failed and max_attempts text must be hidden



I’ve realised you can make the advanced action leaner by only using the variable ‘cpquizinfopassfail’ and setting this to a literal value of 1.  This means that as long as the quiz is passed (variable = 1) then you can run the other actions.  If not, put the actions in the ‘Else’ tab. Just a thought!

Captivate quizzes – a quick workaround! Part 1

Having finally decided on Captivate as our e-learning software of choice, I am getting to grips with its functionality and quirks.

We have had an influx of projects recently which have needed assessments, and as we are now using our LMS (finally) then we are creating quizzes with Captivate.  One of the annoying things with creating quizzes is the results page will not display with your chosen font.  I’ve tried using the global default settings for ‘score’, ‘attempts’ etc but although I can change the ‘You scored’ text, the actual score always appears in Times New Roman.

However our team has come up with a way of getting the right font and the result to match.

  1. Remove all of the result information off the result slide.  Don’t delete it, just move it off the stage.
  2. Insert the text you want in a text box e.g. ‘You have scored – ‘ and then insert the system variable for the score.  It should start in the list ‘cpquizinfo….’
  3. Insert the quiz variable that you want to insert into the rest of the text.
  4. Tip – the variable for the percentage attained does not start ‘cpquizinfo..’ but is simply ‘cpinfopercent’.  The quiz variable for percent only offers you the pass mark percentage.

And that’s it!  Once I started inserting the system variables, my results page looked so much better.  You can then display the text that you want by using advanced actions – but I’ll cover that in part 2!

With thanks to @alanbarnfather, @P_Daykin & @nickemmett

A surfeit of lampreys

It may have been Henry I who died from a supposed ‘surfeit of lampreys’ but at the moment, I feel like we’re going to drown under the authoring tools we are currently using! We seem to have a surfeit of authoring tools.

After not having anything to develop self managed learning, except PowerPoint, I find myself trialling and developing on 3 different tools. It’s been a hectic couple of months trying to keep up, so as part of my ‘reflection’ process I thought I’d post a few thoughts on my progress so far.

First up….

Atlantic Link by Kaplan

The company I work for is currently in the process of de-coupling from a large banking group and this is the group preferred option. This was only available to us from September, and I and another colleague had training from Kaplan. From having nothing I was initially excited about the possibilities this presented to us. Proper branching, scenario building and assessments were some of the functionality that attracted us. Exploring screens and using the bank of ‘assets’ meant that we could make our modules as in depth as we wished. Maybe it was because I left it a couple of weeks before having a good look at it, but I began to find that it didn’t quite work in the way that I wanted it to. This is what I found-

Layout looks a little crowded but enables you to keep tabs on all your chapters/pages
Find assets from a side bar and drag and drop onto your page
Each asset has a properties window which means you can manipulate the assets
‘content point’ is where you assemble your courses, ‘capture point’ is the screen capture tool.
More assets can be imported from the Atlantic Link library (although I couldn’t get this to work, and had to e-mail the asset to myself and then add it to the library-probably owing to our browser)
It is necessary to use the correct asset to do the action you want. You can’t seem to mix the assets-use a button to prompt some roll over text etc.
Very simple to produce a ‘show me, try me, test me’ feature for software simulations.
Not WYSIWYG. One you have amended your assets (colour etc) you need to publish to view correctly. There are two ways to view, either the page or the complete course.

At the moment we are heavily involved in producing software simulations so the simulation functionality was a real winner. However, we were then presented with-

Lectora Online by Trivantis via Success Factors

We are also launching an LMS (better late than never, even though it seems some people are moving beyond the LMS) and we get this product bundled with it. At first, the software looked a little ‘bare’ and simple, but this belied the power that this product offers. I found that-

This is WYSIWYG. Designing the page is great as you can see it how the end user would see it.
You still use assets but tend to just be buttons, text boxes, pictures, movies, audio
This sounds quite limited, but every item on your page can be modified in lots of different ways.
Actions can be added to everything and multiple actions can be added. Group multiple actions together and run them simultaneously.
Variables can be added to assets ( just getting my head around these!) to improve their functionality further
Simple preview button that shows the page and functioning as the user would see it-and it will show the page you are on and will move forward if you want-no need to run the whole course from the beginning
Easy to add assessments and to manipulate them in anyway you want.

This seems to be quite straightforward to use and the possibilities seem endless as everything can be manipulated. We don’t have Camtasia, which is packaged with Lectora inspire, so there is no screen capture software. You can do simulations though using interactive static screens. If this wasn’t enough to be getting on with, we are now getting-

Adobe Captivate

I’ve only been looking at a demo copy of this, but my initial thoughts are that it seems to combine the other two applications. This is going to be mainly for screen capture, but you can assemble courses as well. As you are building the course you see the slides as the end user will see them. To manipulate the assets there is a properties box which is laid out like Atlantic Link. What makes me think that this will be good for us is that the screen capture can be exported as a .swf or .flv and can then be exported to Lectora. I’ve not really begun to explore everything in this software, but I’m looking forward to getting to grips with it,

My preference then is for Lectora combined with Captivate which I think will give us the best options when designing online learning. I don’t think that Atlantic Link will be flexible enough for us as we try and develop the best learning offering that we can create.

Has anyone used any of these before? Anything to add? Pease let me know your experiences with authoring tools-hints and tips would be very welcome!

Atlantic Link

Lectora Online

Adobe Captivate