Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Using Adobe Captivate for Branching Scenarios

Last semester I worked with a few faculty to try using PowerPoint for branching scenarios. What I mean by "branching scenario" is this: the learner clicks on the screen to make a decision and then they go to a different slide depending on what they chose, then they can continue to the next question or go back and try again. Another use would be a software simulation so that students get some practice clicking on the place on the screen they would if they were actually using the program. So, it's a low stakes way for students to practice and gain familiarity with feedback.

PowerPoint didn't work very well for this. So, I decided to re-explore Adobe Captivate. I used Captivate a lot at my last job and kind of hated it. I think it was version 4 then, and now 6 is out. It's like all Adobe products - lots of options. Although I used it a lot, I never felt like I really knew what I was doing. However, it has gotten better and now it publishes into HTML5 so it's accessible on iOS devices.

The biggest advancement in Captivate, to me, is it's integration with PowerPoint. You can do most of the work in PowerPoint - a much more user friendly environment - and then pull it into Captivate to add the buttons, branching, and quizzes. While you're working in Captivate, you can edit in PowerPoint and then go back to Captivate. Then it publishes into a Flash/HTML5 video so it plays much more consistently than it did when we were just using PowerPoint.

Another cool thing about Captivate is that it can create roll over captions, which means you put your mouse over something and then info pops up about it to explain a bit more. A very user friendly option for this functionality is Thinglink, but Thinglink is pretty much a stand-alone deal, whereas these Captivate roll overs can be incorporated right into a tutorial.

Captivate also does a great job with quizzing right in the tutorial and it now offers some advanced interactions like Articulate.

I haven't used it a lot, but I made a video showing what I know now about adding click boxes, buttons, and roll over captions. You'll probably want to make it full screen. It is in HD but takes a minute to focus once in full screen.


  1. Very cool. Is Captivate free or do you have to purchase it?

  2. Thanks! It is about $175 via Wisc Software: http://wiscsoftware.wisc.edu/wisc/.