One of the best things about going to conferences is that we get to hear from colleagues around the world and see what they’ve been up to. Last week in Las Vegas, eLearning Developers, educators and trainers from around the world gathered to share industry trends, the latest techniques and teaching / training methods and to learn from one another at the Adobe Learning Summit (Monday) and at DevLearn, the annual eLearning Guild event during the remaining week.
The Adobe eLearning Team was out in full force to host the Adobe Learning Summit on Monday. We kicked off the day with a keynote from Author and Continue reading…
AICC enabled LMS allows SCO’s to reside on different server i.e. CMS, File server etc. When the Captivate course and LMS are in different domains and when user tries to access the course from LMS it hangs at the loading screen
Adobe Captivate does not construct the required URLs correctly when the course and LMS are in different domains. Same domain no issues have been reported, course which resides in LMS also has no issues. The fix is specific to cross domain AICC
These are manual steps and you need to use the terminal/shell to execute the command on a Mac machine where you have your Apple Developer Certificate and Provisioning Profile installed: Continue reading…
Last week Tristan Ward (creator of the Widget Factory) treated me to another lesson in development of Widgets for Adobe Captivate using the development library he created. It was a great opportunity to learn more about widgets and how they work in Captivate and it was incredible to be able to build a widget from scratch so quickly.
Tristan picked up the lesson where we left off (see the first widget development eSeminar online for more) and he walked me through the basics of widget development. I learned about the three major modes of display for Captivate widgets (the properties dialog, the stage view and the live playback view.) It helped immediately to understand how a single widget can present its many faces to users.
Then we dove into the code, which was much easier than I expected. Most of it we had written during the first session, so I had a pretty solid understanding of the basics. We learned about importing a few more resources from the flash event listener to the flash ui elements in order to create a new widget that lets the user replace the mouse cursor with a new piece of custom artwork.
Best of all we learned how to allow the user to dynamically associate the art asset (using the sprite’s name in Captivate) with the Text Entry Box property entry that we had initially built into the widget. The whole process took less than an hour and was an incredible jump start into developing more complex Captivate Widgets.
I sometimes spend time meeting young people with broken or ineffective memes. The word meme itself is a combination of ‘gene’ and ‘mimesis’ (effectively referencing mimic or that which can be imitated.) It was coined by Richard Dawkins, and is a logical outcome of the shifting sands underpinning thought about the transmission of ideas in society.
A practical way to think of a meme is that its an idea that can spread like a virus. In fact there’s a whole field called Social Contagion Theory, which is sort of a parallel theory to Social Capital theory that suggests that memes do spread in exactly that way. Understanding how ideas spread in a society like ours – rapidly becoming overwhelmed by social networking, web 2.0 and user generated content is a constant challenge.
I’ve been thinking about memes today however, because more and more often I encounter people who seem to be unconsciously following memes that will not function effectively now or in their future. I suspect that like cheese in a rat’s maze, the incentive to follow the known structure of the meme is now stuck in the individuals mind, and it becomes habit to follow, even when the outcome is probably not going to be successful.
For learners this can manifest in a variety of ways, but it generally breaks down to a failure to create knowledge transfer from an effort invested. I think it helps to know that I have been suspicious at best of most traditional educational systems for my entire life. In general I have not seen most of what is taught in schools, training programs, and even on the job training curriculum to be very effective ways to alter behavior. Unfortunately most of what is worth learning & therefore justifies the expense of training is content that doesn’t necessarily transfer well from the kinds of materials, systems and solutions that we typically use to teach – into applicable knowledge that the learner can use at the appropriate moment in the correct context.
The more stressful the environment or context in which the knowledge must be applied, the more unlikely it seems to be that the learner will apply the correct knowledge and behavior to the situation. This effect is amplified by resistance to behavioral change when the learner has already established a habit of performing tasks or applying knowledge in a different way.
Indulge me while I tell a little story to illustrate my point.
There once was a young man who would each year visit the city festival with his parents. At the festival there was a giant maze made of pipe frames and ribbons. The multicolored ribbons would blow in the breeze and you could see between the gaps in the ribbons as the wind blew. He had come to the park and experienced the maze every year since he was very young and had a sort of lingering memory of the maze as he and his father excitedly approached the front gate the year he was turning nine.
His strongest memory of the maze was the bell at the end and all the smiling faces. He also remembered the sweet taste of chocolate and that there would be candy. He knew that the purpose of the maze was to ring the bell and enjoy the cheering faces of friends and family as he exited triumphant having solved the puzzle and rung the bell. As he approached and entered – he had but one objective, to ring the bell and hear the crowd cheer.
As he entered, he noticed something shimmering through the ribbons to his right. He cocked his head and realized it was the bell. Confused he stepped a little closer and then parted the ribbons to reveal the shining final bell on the other side of the ribbon wall. His mission set, he slipped through the ribbon wall before his father could even speak and heaved on the rope to trigger its happy ring.
Triumphant he exited the maze and smacked his lips in search of the chocolate. He craned his ears in search of the cheering crowd. He found only a cross faced father, and shocked looking friends and family.
“Where’s the candy?” he asked his father, still entirely confused. His father explained that the candy was in the maze, scattered throughout. That by breaking the rules, he had missed the entire point of the game, and missed all of its rewards.
We train learners today to find the most expedient solution to any given task. Learning is very often not a matter of expedience, but a matter of patient investigation and discovery. Sometimes that means practice, sometimes it means attempting solutions that are destined to fail in order to understand potential negative outcomes, and sometimes it simply means manipulating ideas repeatedly until new paradigms form and the understanding comes rushing in to replace the prior idea.
I spoke last week in Brussels to an amazing group of educators all assembled at the Flemish Ministry of Education for the annual Media and Learning Conference. I wanted to talk about the process of education … the process of breaking down old behaviors and opening our minds to new ideas. It’s a particularly important thing to consider in the face of ever-advancing technology. I began with a quote from Alvin Toffler, author of Future Shock, who said “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
I think its an interesting meme for educators and trainers and especially learners to consider as we face today’s technologies. The slides for the presentation are below.
I spoke to the attendees in Brussels about the notion of unlearning and the overall need to re-evaluate the processes that we use to create educational and training content. As many of you know from my past discussion on the subject, the central theme here is on focusing on the ROI for a given bit of information wherein we don’t consider the effort valid unless there is a very high probability that the learner will be able to transfer the knowledge gained in the form of useful actions and behaviors. So the outcomes I’m most interested in are whether or not there was any applicable learning happening. The important distinction is that we can ‘learn’ all kinds of things and know them on an intellectual level without even a hint of application of those concepts. In business this can be particularly harmful as people who have a significant conceptual knowledge of the subject seem all to often incapable of applying those concepts to real life problems.
These issues are at the heart of pursuits revolving around 21st Century learners – both in North America and Europe and I suspect that they are becoming the foremost concern of businesses striving to compete in a global economy and struggling to identify potential employees who are able to solve problems creatively, rapidly adapt to evolving landscapes, and communicate / collaborate in teams productively.
This kind of discussion invariably leads to an urge to return to the bipolar face off between didactic (lecture and drill) instructional methods and constructivist (challenge the learner but don’t provide the answer) approaches. It’s an unnecessarily divided debate that is rooted in extremist viewpoints of both philosophical and paradigmatic approaches that would benefit greatly by lots and lots of common sense and moderation. The truth (at least as I see it) is that real training and teaching efforts need to adapt rapidly to the needs presented by the immediate goal. Some learning objectives lend themselves well to more traditional models of information delivery, while others will perform much better using simulations and experiential learning.
My primary concern is not that more traditional methods be abandoned, but that alone, they are often insufficient and ineffective. We see evidence of that constantly in the way people often react to eLearning. When a basic knowledge based training unit is placed in front of learners who don’t see a valid reason for the training – or feel overburdoned by other obligations, it is common to hear complaints that the training is boring, inane or busywork. While it can help to approach the problem with a bit of finesse, the most useful solution to the eLearning module doldrums is to identify the actual trigger for the training, and do a better job delighting the learner with actual education.
People love to learn. If the learning is genuine, they’ll love the training. The key is to identify the core objective, make clear to the learner how & why it will help them to learn it, and then design activities that make learning the content engaging and lead to reliable knowledge transfer and application. Too often in eLearning we focus on the information available, rather than the desired outcome. It helps to think of it as, what do I want to change – what new behavior or activity do I want as a result of this training. Then rather than just regurgitating and testing information about the subject, design simulations and other activities that motivate the learner to engage actively. We know from Cognitive Learning Theory that the learner must actively engage and input the information – working independently to bring it from short term memory into their long term memory. Our best chance to facilitate that process is to make the educational meal both appetizing, and ensure that once consumed that appetite is sated. It doesn’t do any good to consume learning that looks delicious, but leaves you feeling empty after all.
The lesson of the boy and the maze is two-fold. Just as our learners are the boy, trying to skip the process and jump to the conclusion in order to satisfy a fundamentally incomplete meme, we too are the boy. We must not allow ourselves to get stuck in the efficiency machine, jumping toward the most expedient solution. Learning requires the journey, and personally, I’d miss the chocolates if we skipped ahead all the time.
We know that ‘Advanced Actions’ help you develop dynamic content rapidly. I would like to add few tips on Advanced Actions in this tutorial. Probably most of you would already have found these workarounds/hacks. Let me take you through the topics that are covered in this tutorial.
How to compare a variable with an empty string?
How to mix ‘Standard Actions’ and ‘Conditional Actions’?
How to compare a variable with an empty string?
Say in your course, on the first page you have a password to authorize. So you would be adding a textbox and attach an advanced action to check whether the password is valid. Now if we have to compare the password with empty string and prompt user saying, ‘Empty password’. How do we do this?
Usually what we tend to do is to create a condition action, something like this
But this does NOT work!!! !
Well, to make it work, you need to add a variable called empty_string (name can be anything. Just giving an example) without providing any value to it.
Now change your advanced action a little bit.
That is it. It will start working.
How to mix Standard Actions and Conditional Actions?
In CP5, by now you would have realized that advanced actions are separated into two categories called ‘Standard Actions’ and ‘Conditional Actions’. But at times we might want to mix these two categories.
If you want to compose an advanced action something like below
Box1 indicates a ‘decision’, Box2 indicates ‘Standard Action’ and Box3 indicate again a ‘decision’. We do not have such category of advanced actions. So all we need is to turn the Box2 into a decision by adding a dummy condition that evaluates to true.
Example: ‘1 == 1’, ‘var1 == var1’…etc (Any condition that evaluates to true).
Now all the Boxes are decisions and hence we can have a conditional action to achieve this.
The Find and Replace palette can be invoked by using the shortcut “Ctrl + F” or it can be selected from the Edit Menu and choosing “Find and Replace” option. Legacy users may find that, in Captivate 4 from being a dialog, it is a palette in Captivate 5 which can be docked in any of the panels or left floating anywhere on your screen.
The find and replace feature is highly effective in global text changes in your project (For example, to replace all instances of “100$” to “64£” in your project). But text changes are just the tip of the iceberg of what you can do with the Find and Replace palette. You can use it to search for Images, Videos, Objects and Styles in Captivate 5. Ever wanted to search for the video you inserted somewhere in your 100-slide project, in times like that, Find and replace palette will be your time saviour.
To do this, you have to select “Slide Video” in the “Search in” Drop down box. And click on Find All. The find all will show the result in rows in the find results area at the bottom of the controls. Here, you can select the slide video result, it automatically takes you to the slide having the video and selects the video for you to modify it.
The Search in Category allows you to search objects of a certain category. They are classified as
All Object Types
Text Entry Box
These categories allow you to search more efficiently in your project. To find all those “Click Boxes” or “Text Animations” in your project or all the “Placeholders” in CPTL files, select the required category and just proceed.
Categories such as Text Captions, Button, Rollover Caption, Oval, Rectangle allow you to search the text in them. If you want to search in all the text in your project, it would be wise to select “All Object Types” in the Search in Category. Other categories show up the item’s name in the results area.
There are also various options which one can choose from.
Whole Word – It searches only if the word is a whole word. For Example, you can replace all “hi” to “bye” but “hit” wouldn’t get replaced to “byet”
Match Case – It takes into account the case of the text when finding and replacing. For Example, it finds “Chair” but not “chair”.
Quiz Slides – This check box is to specify whether to include Question Slides in the search or not.
Hidden Items – This check box is to specify whether to include hidden slides and objects in the search or not.
Locked Items – This check box is to specify whether to include locked slides and objects in the search or not.
You can do the following actions
Find Next – finds the next correct match from your current cursor position and slide number and sets the selection to that object
Find All – Lists all the instances of objects/Text based on the criteria selected.
Replace – The selected found text is replaced with the text given in the Replace field
Replace All – All instances of the text in the Find field is replaced with the text given in the Replace field.
One more thing which you can do with the palette, is to narrow down the search by selecting the required “Object Style” for objects.
One such usage would be to find all objects of a certain style, say “Style1”.For this,
Choose “All Object Types” or certain Item type in “Search in” category.
Select “Style1” in the Style category
Click on “Find All” Button.
The results will be shown in the results area from which you can click the required row.
It would select the required object on stage and Properties palette will also be updated thereby enabling you to change any appearance of that object.
All results of Find all will also show the object style of that item, if available, along with the object’s text/name.
Find and replace palette will help you save time, especially in large projects.
A few of the users have observed that the animations which have some audio or flv video embedded in them, when used in Adobe Captivate, face sync issues. The embedded audio starts playing ahead of the actual timing of the animation which was leading to audio going out of sync. Worry no more, here is the solution. Our friend Srinandan, from Adobe Captivate team, has developed a widget to solve this issue.
You can download the widget from here. Try it out. The widget will make sure that audio is always perfectly in sync. Here are the steps to use the widget:
1. Open your project in Captivate.
2. Go to the slide where the animation is to be placed.
3. Select Insert->Widget
4. Browse to the location of widget
5. Chose “AnimationWidget.swf”
6. In the widget parameters, specify the swf file name that needs to be inserted
7. Close the widget dialog
8. Set the duration of widget equivalent to duration of animation specified in Step 6
9. Repeat Steps 3-8 wherever an animation has to be inserted
10. Publish the project
11. Place all the animations in the same folder as published project.
One of the most amazing things about Adobe Captivate is that ultimately anything you can do in Adobe Flash, you can do in Adobe Captivate simply by adding a widget. Captivate’s architecture makes it ideal for extending functionality via interactive Flash Widgets and at this week’s eSeminar I got a walk through from one of the folks who create custom widgets for Adobe Captivate, Rod Ward of Infosemantics. Rod crawled out of bed at an alarmingly late hour in Australia in order to teach me how to work with Infosemantics new Drag and Drop Question Widget for Adobe Captivate 4 and Adobe Captivate 5.
I was literally wowed by how easy it is to use and how incredibly simple it is to integrate into an existing project. The widget once added creates a question slide – just like it were a multiple choice or any other kind of question. It automatically integrates with all the other question slides in a given project so its amazingly simple to add to an existing project. Rod also had amazing additional resources for folks at the seminar. He shared a chart he created and used that summarizes the objectives that most commonly align to creating drag and drop interactions and aligns those objectives to Bloom’s taxonomy. It’s an amazing resource, which is not suprising given how awesome the drag and drop widget itself is.
Note:Click the image thumbnail to view full size. The image / table was Created by Rod Ward of Infosemantics and uses Rod’s customized eLearning Hierarchical reference to Bloom’s Taxonomy and learning objectives. Rod cautions that his is his own interpretation and that users should consult the original Taxonomy if they are looking for Bloom’s take on it all.
You’ll see Rod explain as I implement my own drag and drop questions. First going over all the details of the usage and potential configurations, and then he teaches me to build a basic business process diagram using drag and drop to allow the learner to test themselves on the proper sequence of events in a process flow.
There are a host of these awesome widgets out there and they are growing every day. I’d encourage folks to check out these awesome widget developers to see other examples of widgets that are available to extend your Captivate authoring experience.
Part four of the popular series Making effective eLearning Modules with Adobe Captivate focused on the Multimedia Principle within Clark & Mayer’s Cognitive Theory of Multimedia eLearning. We had a huge crowd gather for the session which focused on rationale behind the multimedia principle and introduced some examples of use of the multimedia principle in Adobe Captivate Projects. As has become my habit I’m posting a link to the PDF of the presentation with the notes included here and the embedded version of the slide set is below.
Last week’s topic was the multimedia principle, popularized by Richard Mayer, Ruth Clark & colleagues. At the heart of the multimedia principle is the notion that we should use both text and other media at the same time. In “eLearning & the Science of Instruction” and spread across many of the articles before and since, Clark & Mayer present the psychological arguments supporting the theory as well as the evidence upon which their assumptions are built.
The core idea then is that words + media is better than words alone. Words in this context could mean written text or spoken language – but its important to note that it means information abstracted by language. This is all rooted in the findings of cognitive theory (the rising evidence and conjecture regarding the manner in which our brains function) provide the foundation upon which these theories of eLearning are built.
This was the fourth of a series which are designed to help explain why module design is the way it is in much of today’s eLearning design, and as we move forward into the many additional sessions that are related to this one, I’ll be demonstrating how those theories lead to end products with practical examples that stretch the ideas all the way out to individual tools and techniques.
Below are the URL’s to the Multimedia session I did last week, along with links to the others in the series, also included are those which are coming in the next couple of months.
Available Now On Demand:
Part 1:Making Effective Adobe Captivate eLearning Modules
This one hour session hosted by Dr. Allen Partridge, Adobe eLearning Evangelist, will focus on creating effective eLearning content, specifically on the Contiguity Principle, which indicates that the spatial relationship (proximity) of symbols (like text) to analogous images (things that look like the subject of the learning) is significant, and plays a key role in how effectively we learn. This session will explain the overall concept and demonstrate how this concept can be applied with particular focus on the following features in Adobe Captivate; Position, Resize, Transform, Align, Pan, Zoom, Auto-Captions, Rollover.
December 15 – Making Effective Adobe Captivate eLearning Modules Part 6: Redundancy
Dr. Allen Partridge, Adobe eLearning Evangelist, will present a one hour online eSeminar for users of Adobe Captivate and / or Adobe eLearning Suite. The session focuses on the Multimedia eLearning Design Principle known as Redundancy, which suggests that presenting symbols via both text and aural channels is less effective than presenting via only one. Examples will focus on the use of Audio Editing & Text in Adobe Captivate 5.
January 5 – Making Effective Adobe Captivate eLearning Modules Part 7: Coherence
This one hour session hosted by Dr. Allen Partridge, Adobe eLearning Evangelist, will focus on creating effective eLearning content. The session focuses on the Multimedia eLearning Design Principle known as Coherence, which suggests that off topic ancillary material can distract from learning. This theory stands in opposition to arousal theory, providing research based evidence that when stimulating animation or any form of non-relevant information is provided, it can actually decrease the efficacy of the instruction. Examples will focus on the use of Templates, Master Slides & Object Styles in Adobe Captivate 5.
January 12 – Making Effective Adobe Captivate eLearning Modules Part 8: Segmenting
Dr. Allen Partridge, Adobe eLearning Evangelist, will present a one hour online eSeminar for users of Adobe Captivate and / or Adobe eLearning Suite. The session focuses on the Multimedia eLearning Design Principle known as the Segmenting Principle, which suggests that authors of eLearning content should break content up into small pieces or chunks in order to help avoid cognitive overload for the learners. Examples will focus on the use of Slide Paradigm, Object Styles & PPT Import in Adobe Captivate 5.
January 19 – Making Effective Adobe Captivate eLearning Modules Part 9: Pre-training
This one hour session hosted by Dr. Allen Partridge, Adobe eLearning Evangelist, will focus on creating effective eLearning content. The session focuses on the Multimedia eLearning Design Principle known as pre-training, which suggests that elearning content authors should first build up basic information about essential elements which are pre-requisites to understanding the larger concepts. Examples will focus on the use of Quizzes, the Quiz Results Analyzer and the Table of Contents in Adobe Captivate 5.
February 2 – Making Effective Adobe Captivate eLearning Modules Part 10: Individual Differences
Dr. Allen Partridge, Adobe eLearning Evangelist, will present a one hour online eSeminar for users of Adobe Captivate and / or Adobe eLearning Suite. The session focuses on the Multimedia eLearning Design Principle known as the Individual Differences Principle, which suggests that design effects are stronger for low-knowledge learners than for high knowledge learners, and for high-spatial learners rather than for low-spatial learners. Examples will focus on the use of Advanced Actions, ADA/508 Compliance, Closed Captions, Localization, Video Closed Caption, Branching and User Variables in Adobe Captivate 5.
Want to do more reading? Here’s a brief list of recommended supplemental reading:
Clark & Mayer (2007.) eLearning: and the Science of Instruction http://amzn.to/chkPuw (Links to Amazon – but this book is pretty widely available.)