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Captivate 9 review, part 2

As I promised on my previous post, I will talk a bit more about the Captivate asset library in this article, so that you can have an idea of what you are missing for not using Captivate 😊

Honestly, and beware of the spoiler that follows if you haven’t finished watching the season 6 of Game of Thrones, with this library I kind of feel like Samwell Tarly when he entered the library in the Citadel, and was awestruck by the awesomeness and vastness of the knowledge that surrendered at his feet…

Okay, I am probably exaggerating, but the library is still awesome and useful, when it comes to managing your media assets. Let’s get into it.

The Library

Oh, sweet library! How have I missed you in my years working with Storyline! Okay, maybe you now are wondering why I missed the library so much, and I can describe my enthusiasm in one word: Recycling.

So, recycling? Yes, recycling of assets, specially media assets, like pictures, videos, sounds, things like that. In my opinion, I think this is one of the greatest advantages that Captivate has over Storyline, because in the latter, if you want to have an audio clip that repeats in several slides, you have to either duplicate the slide (along with all the assets in it) or copy and paste your audio clip to a new slide, which is fine, at first, but what if you need to replace that audio file with a new one? My friend, you are in for spending sometime finding all the instances of that audio clip and replacing it. The same happens with images, for example, that you edit in photoshop, you need to find all the instances and then replace it with the new one.

However, in Captivate, this process is simplified so much, that you can almost laugh at it and not even break a sweat when updating assets throughout the module. Why? Because in the library, you have, in a very organized structured, all the assets you have used so far in you eLearning module, and just with a couple of clicks, you can update an asset and all its instances in the module. Cool, right?

Oh yeah, but if you want to recycle assets too, rather than going back and find in which slide you have used that asset to copy and paste, you can just drag and drop this asset from the library, and voila! There you have your asset on the new slide.

Interactions and Actions

One of the things I don’t like much about Captivate 9, is they way you create interactive elements on your slide (i.e. Buttons).

There is a set of predefined buttons that you can use, which is fine, but what happens when you want a custom image to be your button and have different states? Well, you need to create these states in photoshop and save them on separate files (e.g. mybutton_over.png, mybutton_up.png, mybutton_down.png) and then copy these files to the buttons folder inside the core Captivate folder, which is kind of inconvenient, because if you need 10 buttons, you suddenly have to create 30 more files and put them in this folder, which means these new buttons will be available forever and ever in your library of buttons, regardless of your eLearning project.

Also, we have the matter of the actions (or Triggers, in Storyline jargon), which is a bit confusing at first, but can be very useful once you understand how they work. Captivate has by default a number of actions that are simple but very useful, like jumping to another slide, assigning values to variables, opening a URL, executing JavaScript, etc., and it also has Advanced Actions, in which you can create an action that is a combination of any number of default actions, and even add conditionals to them.

But be careful, as far as I have been able to explore, you always have to have these actions attached to an interactive object, compared to Storyline, in which you can just have the triggers attached to just the slide and execute them when the timeline reaches a certain point. This feature is non-existent in Captivate, and as far as I can tell, the actions are always executed as a consequence of user input.

Unless you create your own widget, of course, which I have found to be a bit troublesome on this new version of Captiva, but let’s delve into this matter on a future post.

If you want to know more about Captivate or another eLearning authoring tool, keep an eye on our blog, as we will continue to post this (hopefully) useful reviews.

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