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Adobe announces the release of Captivate 9 - Features review and first impressions Adobe announces the release of Captivate 9 - Features review and first impressions

In catégorie(s) : Adobe Captivate / eLearning / Review


Today is a big day for the eLearning industry as Adobe releases Captivate 9. Personally, I think that what characterises Captivate 9 is
  • Workflow optimisation
  • New powerful tools
  • Responsive projects enhancements.
To illustrate this, I will review the new features of Captivate 9 that I consider to be the most significant. For a comprehensive list of new features, your best bet is the Adobe website.

Workflow optimisation

The main criticism that is usually expressed on Captivate is around its ease of use. But, one must admit that since the release of a brand new user interface in Captivate 8, Adobe has been working very hard to address this criticism. For the release of Captivate 9, it looks like ease of use and workflow optimisation  was one of Adobe’s main priority.

New feature 1 : Adobe Captivate Draft

Adobe Captivate Draft is an iPad application that enables you to convert your creative and pedagogical ideas to storyboards in minutes. ELearning elements such as quizzes and branching scenarios can easily be included into your projects right from the app. You can also share your storyboards and initiate a collaborative review cycle of your project. 

Adobe Captivate Draft
Adobe Captivate Draft is a free iPad add for storyboarding

Once done, import your storyboard into Captivate 9 to fine tune and publish it as a responsive project.

What I find most interesting with this new app is how easy it is to produce multimedia content and to integrate it in the project. Simply use your device’s camera to shoot pictures and videos and to integrate them right into a Captivate slide. Same with audio, use your device’s microphone, to record your ideas or some pieces of audio narration.

Insert multimedia content with Captivate Draft
Use your device's camera to insert pictures and videos in your Captivate projects

Adobe Captivate Draft is an interesting and innovative tool that will help you optimise your workflows and generate lots of multimedia assets for your projects.

New feature 2 : Effects 2.0

In Captivate 9, Adobe introduces a brand new effect module. It has never been easier to apply effects such as rotations, zoom, opacity, etc. to any captivate object. 

First, the effects controls have been relocated to the timing panel on the right hand side of the interface. This finally gives effects the prominent place they deserve in the application.

The effects 2.0 panel
The effects panel has been relocated in the right hand panel

Second, the effects are now visible on the main timeline along the objects. This makes it very easy to sync the effects with the other events of the slide.

Effects in the TImeline
Effects are now visible in the Timeline

Finally, there are some big enhancements to motion paths. For example, you can now access the Bezier points of your motion paths, which enables you to tweak the motion paths in ways that were not possible before. 

Edit the motion Path
Access the Bezier points of the motion path for fine control

Last but not least, all these effects are compatible with any kind of Captivate projects (Flash, HTML 5 and responsive).

What I like the most with this enhanced effect engine is that it gives us access to a whole new level of power, flexibility and creativity. Yet, it simplifies the use of the application and enhances our workflows. 

New feature  3 : LMS Preview

One of the most complicated and misunderstood task when developing eLearning content is to integrate that content into an LMS using SCORM or the new Tin Can API (xApi). To streamline this process, and get predictable results, Adobe introduces the LMS preview feature. 

The idea is very simple. The project is uploaded to SCORM cloud and is played back to you in a preview window. You can use this system to check if your project is working fine when played back in a SCORM compliant LMS.

LMS preview with SCORM Cloud
LMS Preview with SCORM Cloud

You also have access to a log of all the SCORM communication between your content and the LMS. Even is this information looks a bit technical, you can easily spot the problems and hopefully solve them before the final publication of the content

Access SCORM logs
Access SCORM logs and pinpoint problems before publishing

New Powerful tools

As with every new iteration, Adobe adds new tools to Captivate. Version 9 is no exception to this gold rule. Here is a sort review of the most significant new tools.

New feature 4 : Multi-state objects..

This alone is worth the upgrade to Captivate 9. You can now convert any object of Captivate into a multi state object in order to create highly interactive content without using tons of complicated advanced actions. All the states of an object are now part of that single object and a simple action is all it takes to switch from one state to another.

Multistate objects
Create multistate objects for easy interactivity

This adds a world of new creative possibilities while simplifying the handling of the application.

New feature 5 : Knowledge check questions

In Captivate 9, quizzes have finally receive some much deserved attention. I’ve pointed out two new features related to quizzes that will make your life a lot easier.

First, the knowledge check questions simply are question slides that are not part of the quiz. Therefore, they do not interfere with the score of the quiz and are not part of the report sent to the LMS. This is a simple way to insert in the course practice or remedial questions. A long awaited feature!

insert knowledge check questions
Insert knowledge check questions in your projects

Apart from this (not so) small detail, these questions work the exact same way as the other type of questions and fully support branching scenarios.

New feature 6 : Quiz review buttons

Captivate 9 adds two new buttons on question slides. These new “Back” an “Next” buttons will show only in quiz review mode. This helps you differentiate the buttons that are available to the student during the the quiz form the buttons available during the quiz review.

Quiz review buttons
The buttons in red appear only in quiz review mode!

This new feature will considerably simplify quiz creation and management without making the Captivate application any more complicated to use.

New Feature 7 : SVG support

SVG stands for Scalable Vector Graphic. It is an image format that has the huge advantage of being resolution independant. In other words, you can enlarge or reduce an SVG image without affecting its quality. Using such images is particularly interesting in responsive projects. 

Insert SVG images
Insert SVG images on your Captivate slides

Creating SVG files is done in any graphic design software such as Adobe Illustrator. In other words, we finally have a true bridge between Adobe Illustrator and Captivate. 

Roud trip editing with Illustrator
Roundtrip editing of SVG with Adobe Illustrator!

This new integration between Captivate and Illustrator will dramatically simplify the graphic design workflow in eLearning studios and agencies.

A little trick for the owners of an iOS or Android tablet, you can download the free Adobe shapes app to convert a picture taken by your device’s camera into a vector artwork that you can easily import into Illustrator, convert to SVG and import in Captivate. A new promising workflow is born!

Responsive projects enhancements.

To finish off, Captivate 9 proposes some nice enhancements to responsive projects

New feature 8 : Adding breakpoints

The main new feature in this area is the ability to add two breakpoints in addition to the three breakpoints present by default when creating a responsive project. you can now adapt your eLearning to an even wider array of mobile devices. 

Add breakpoints to responsive projects
Add up to 2 additional breakpoints in your responsive projects

Conclusions

As with every new iteration of Captivate, Adobe proposes a bunch of new and enhanced features. What I find particularly interesting in Captivate 9 is the obvious focus of Adobe on ease of use and workflow optimisation.

With Captivate 9 Adobe has succeeded in the immense challenge of introducing a world of new powerful possibilities while simplifying the use of the software at the same time. 

More than ever is Captivate the ultimate choice for eLearning professionals around the world. It is certainly worth a rapid upgrade.

Stay tuned to this blog for more focused posts on each of these new features, plus, the ones we did not talk about in this post.

 

More info on the official Adobe Captivate blog.

by Damien Bruyndonckx


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