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June 29, 2007

Become Site of the Day on Adobe.com

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Unlike web development and Flash authoring in general, Adobe Captivate content is usually proprietary and only used/viewed in house so the submissions to our customer showcase have been minimal. Did you know though that the Customer Success Showcase including Site of the Day is one of the most popular sections of Adobe.com?

Have you thought about what this could mean for your personal career or even your department to be featured on the Adobe site?

Have you ever talked to your manager to see if you can post a little piece of your training online? Or create a version without any proprietary information?

Give it a try because we've received a lot of positive feedback from our customers and partners regarding increased awareness of their organization as well as traffic to their web sites.

In the past, we have featured boutique agencies, large creative firms, partners, as well as submissions from enterprises and the public sector. For our upcoming launch, we would love to include your projects in the Adobe Captivate showcase.

To submit your project for consideration please complete the online form.

June 28, 2007

Help fine tune Adobe Captivate and chance to win

Our Product Management team developed a survey (about 10 min to complete) to find out more about tools usage for capturing knowledge and creating eLearning.

You can win a copy of Adobe CS3 Web Premium (that's a value of $1,599!!!) or one of four American Express Gift Cards valued at $100. You'll need to submit before 7/7.

Take the survey now.

June 26, 2007

Did you know?

>Brent Schlenker has links to some great movies on his blog - "Did you know?" and "When I grow up"
Lots of great stats and it gets you thinking to encourage kids to learn and use technology. My nieces are going to school in Germany and I am still surprised how little computers are part of the daily school life ...

If you are a teacher, think of projects where you could encourage students to use Adobe Captivate - it's visual, it's easy to learn, and they can use the SWFs for their own portfolio. Here is a cool case study where Thane Williams, a Spanish teacher at North Charleston High School, had the students create storyboards in Adobe Captivate: they had a topic, needed to create a slide show and record their dialog in Spanish. Watch the video (It's #3).

PS: We do offer educational pricing at only $199 for a full license of Adobe Captivate.

June 25, 2007

Easily add voice over - without recording yourself!

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TextAloud screenshot to add voice over to Adobe Captivate contentMy friend Tricia at Qualcomm drew my attention to a low cost (only $29) text to speech tool called TextAloud from NextUp. She heard about it in a session at the eLearning Guild event last year.

It's a simple shareware tool that generates your voiceover from your text - copy and paste from Adobe Captivate and generate the MP3 file you can import to your slides. It's easy to use and I recommend you actually buy the AT&T voices - each is only $35 but worth it. You can check out the quality of these natural voices on the AT&T site.

What's In It For You:

  • include narration with different voices without having to find talents, especially when using multi-character scenarios
  • consistent recording levels on each slide and after script changes, which is difficult to achieve if you are not a recording pro with a pro voice talent
  • easy changes - you don't need to rerecord anything, just change the text and update the audio file*

Tricia said that she can do voice overs now in a third of the time it would take using her own voice.

If you know a good text to voice tool, please submit as a comment.

* There is a nifty feature in Adobe Captivate 2: When you import content, the library remembers where it came from. So if the original file changes (e.g. new audio), you can simply select the file name, right click and choose update.

June 18, 2007

Tip: Adding Slide Numbers

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I just saw a request from a customer regarding displaying slide numbers without having to manually create a caption which then has to be manually updated every time you insert/delete a slide. Adobe Captivate supports the insertion of SWF files and you can do all kinds of things using this functionality. One of our Community Experts, Paul Dewhurst, has a great site with such a SWF: frame number display. Paul, like most of our active Advisory Board members, has been with the product since RoboDemo days in 2002/2003. Don't miss the many other downloads and tips on his site RaisingAimee.

In addition to Paul's great site, check out some sites from our other board members for further tips and tricks:

Larry Walther       http://www.captivate-tips.com PS: Larry has used pedagogical agents in his content long before the snazzy SWF or FLV based characters were available - he used to use the Microsoft Agents. He is currently working on his site and has a character telling you that :)

Rick Stone             http://www.robowizard.com (check out his tips & tricks CHM)

Mark Fletcher             http://macrofireball.blogspot.com/

Kevin Siegel             http://iconlogic.blogs.com/weblog/

John Daigle             www.showmethedemo.com

Who am I missing? Please comment and I add your link. I don't have a blog roll or I would add all these links on the side bar ...

June 11, 2007

Virtual Characters in Adobe Captivate projects

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CodeBabyI first started taking pedagogical agents seriously when I read Ruth Clark's book e-Learning and the Science of Instruction several years ago. The preliminary research evidence listed in the book was quite compelling. The fact that the performance didn't differ between a real character and a cartoon character opens it up to the many different virtual character tools already on the market. CodeBaby has provided me with an example of their characters by converting the Adobe Captivate 2 sample project. Take a look. Each scene for each slide is simply exported as FLV and inserted in the Adobe Captivate slide. A similar solution is offered by VCom3D.

I am just updating this entry: Here is another cool implementation from Vincent Buecher at VB Consulting.

PS: You can also generate characters using Oddcast - there might be some limitations though using it with Adobe Captivate as is since it generates a set of SWF files for each scene.

 

Update 9/25: You might also try MediaSemantics - they have a knowledgebase article on integrating their characters with Adobe Captivate

June 8, 2007

Adobe case study on using our own tools

We just published our first Adobe eLearning case study on how we use our own tools for training and development.

If you would like to see your company listed on the Adobe site, the customer showcase or site of the day is a good start. The Customer Success Showcase including Site of the Day is actually one of the most popular sections of Adobe.com. We've received a lot of positive feedback from our customers and partners regarding increased awareness of their organization as well as traffic to their web sites. Having your projects listed there might help you get more recognition in your own organization (and who knows, maybe a bonus?)

Submit your project for consideration.


June 7, 2007

Running Adobe Captivate 2 on Vista

Although Adobe Captivate 2 is not supported on Vista, one of our sales engineers had it running this week at ASTD. Here are the steps (please understand that I quickly took notes and don't have Vista myself - there is no guarantee):

1. Control panel > access security and then security center > other security settings > turn off user access control.
2. Go to Adobe Captivate exe, right click > properties > compatibility tab > Run this program in compatibility mode for Windows XP.

Hope it works for you until Adobe Captivate 3 is out.

June 6, 2007

SWF Content

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From our research team :

Hello –

Adobe’s customer research team is collecting an assortment of SWF content. We are looking to get a wide range of content for a variety of purposes so that we can better understand the types of projects people are working on, and better support those projects that are not as always posted on the web. We are especially interested in uses of SWF beyond web sites and advertising – such as (but not limited to) presentations, e-learning, character animation, prototypes, games, rich internet applications, etc. We’d also like to get representation of a variety of skill levels, so feel free to submit your project even if you are not an ActionScript user.

For every 50 submissions we receive, we will select one at random to receive an Amazon.com gift card for $50 (US dollars). You can submit as many projects as you like!

For each submission, please send the following to flashresearch@adobe.com by July 6, 2007:

  •          Your SWF or a link to your project or a screenshot of the project
  •          A brief description (3 to 4 sentences) describing the audience and purpose of the project
  •          Descriptive tags to categorize the project’s content and purpose – Use as many or as few tags as you like, and feel free to make up your own. Some examples tags are included below.
  •          Percent of all your projects that are SWFs
  •          Percentage of time you spend writing ActionScript
  •          Percentage of time you spend using the timeline
  •          Your name
  •          Your job title and company
  •          Your phone number (so a member of the Adobe’s customer research team can contact you for a quick 15 minute phone call if they need more information)

Please feel free to forward this message to others who might be interested or post it on your blog.

We are looking forward to hearing from you!

Adobe Customer Research Team

_________________________________________________________

Example category tags:

  •          Advertising  
  •          Banner ad
  •          Broadcast graphic
  •          Character animation
  •          E-learning
  •          Forms
  •          Game
  •          Interactive motion content
  •          Interactive prototype
  •          Interactive video
  •          Mobile content
  •          Presentation
  •          Rich internet application
  •          Slideshow
  •          Software demo or simulation
  •          Web design

June 5, 2007

ASTD Conference - Info Overload

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Today has been impressive and being a vendor, talking to customers and partners provides the most value to me. I have had a great lunchtime conversation with a consultant and a training manager for a large software company. Working for software companies, it was a surprise for both of us to hear from the consultant how often IT runs the show and makes business decisions for her clients. My problem is to reach SMEs since they are usually not in the learning field themselves and wouldn't even know a tool like Adobe Captivate even exists to make their lives easier - she responded that IT groups are a factor in that they don't want to control additional licenses outside the training group. I have also heard customers talk about limited bandwidth of 250k. It's tough for me to imagine a world where IT could limit the ability to do my job. Who is deciding what tools you use?

On the showfloor I heard the question on integrating games with Adobe Captivate - check out C3 Visuals. Their games work nicely within slides and I'll post a file once I have an example.

The last session I attended was by Fort Hill Company on accelerating the transfer and application of learning. It was more a sales pitch for their book The Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning: How to Turn Training and Development Into Business Results which is fine with me since I now know to better get it. They made a great learning transfer and application scorecard available - looking at the scorecard and assessing the Adobe Captivate sales training, I wished our own training folks were here ... There is a lot more we can do.

I had the chance to attend an event sponsored by Enspire Learning - a company I have always admired for the Executive Challenge leadership training they developed. If you want effective simulation based sales training, give them a call. I am working with them on some Adobe Captivate project sample projects we'll make available to you later this year.

I liked the world map with all the business cards from attendees posted on the different countries. It really showed how much of an international conference this is. Well done.

Not so well done was the conference event - they had a "party with the fish" at the aquarium and for $10 you could get a ticket with your conference pass. There was no indication that tickets would be limited so by the time I got in line, they were sold out. Oh - and then I heard rumors you got a refund if you couldn't get a ticket? For most people I know, going to a conference is work - it's training. Imagine you are offering bagels before you teach a class, except they are gone by the time learners arrive (and they are not even late) and you tell them the later they could have gotten donuts instead ... How will that impact your course evaluation?

June 4, 2007

ASTD Conference - first day

This was a loooooong day ... started out with a session by Jim Collins who wrote the bestselling book Good to Great. I liked his book in the first place and the session was a good refresher but he is also now looking at organizations that dropped from Great to Good and the 6 stages a company goes through. A company might still do really well on the outside while on the inside things are happening that will lead to rapid decline. Can't wait to read the new book ...
One of his comments today really struck me - the question "What's on your NOT to do list". Might be a good topic to talk to my manager about ;) So, what's on your not to do list?

Spent the rest of the day at the expo which is far too overwhelming and so far I haven't seen anything striking new ... I'll keep looking.

Our booth had a lot of traffic and we received many Adobe Captivate questions - one of the top ones was: Where do you get training on Adobe Captivate. Here are a few links:
- Free online seminars
- Free online tutorials and tips
- Training partners
- Online training and basic work book

Mark Oehlert also has a detailed writeup about yesterday's sessions.