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October 30, 2007

Adobe Captivate tutorials to brag about

A friend recently forwarded a link to a discussion list where an entry called readers to provide their tutorials to brag about. These examples were to be used at a class for library faculty and staff at Purdue University.

Check out the responses - there are some neat samples.

If you want to brag, simply comment and provide a link and one sentence description of your tutorial :)

October 26, 2007

Technical Communication Suite Trial available


Technical Communication SuiteThis week has been tough on many people in our office but life is getting back to normal and we actually have some great news: The Technical Communication Suite just started shipping this week. This means, the trial is also now available on the web site. If you work a lot with documents, I highly recommend giving FrameMaker a try. Or, if you have a bunch of Adobe Captivate demos but don't know how to post them in a searchable way, try RoboHelp. All our trials are fully functional and available for 30 days.

October 22, 2007

Wildfires in San Diego

It's been tough to concentrate on work today while several of my coworkers and friends had to be evacuated. I don't think anybody is currently at our SD office - the news advised to stay indoors due to the smoke. We live about 7 miles south of the current evacuation area so we are fine ... Thanks to those of you who had expressed concern.

Let's hope the fire can be contained. Air support is finally starting.

Live news on the fire is streaming online and a fireblog is keeping everyone up to date.

October 18, 2007

eSeminar 10/19: Working with SMEs



Involving SMEs White PaperFYI - we are going to have a very interesting free eseminar tomorrow on best practices and case studies on involving SMEs in the authoring process. Jennifer De Vries has done some research on how Adobe Captivate is being used in some organizations with SMEs and wrote a very informative white paper with best practices for using Adobe Captivate with SMEs.

You can still register for the session

Gaining Efficiency with SME Adobe Captivate Use
Friday, October 19, 2007
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM US/Pacific

The white paper can be downloaded by session attendees. It is not available on our web site at this point.

If you register now but you can't attend, you should be able to watch a recording later and also download the white paper for the recording.

Training Tech Solutions

I am back from Training Tech Solutions. Overall I think attendance was quite down from the expected participation. It was a very small conference with the benefit that you meet a lot of people. For me personally, the best part of the conference was getting together with some speakers and sharing about the new stuff that's out there. I usually don't have time to play with the new cool toys so dinner was great to get up to speed. I did check out some of the tools they mentioned and liked this one: FlockPod - I'd describe it as a social network Web 2.0 way to run a debate about a topic with an option to vote if you agree/disagree with someone's point of view or contribution - if I ever catch up with my emails again, I'll try it out on my blog.

Bryan Chapman on selecting simulation toolsBryan Chapman did several interesting sessions in the expo hall on choosing tools - I attended the sim tools one. He showed the shootout winners from 2005 (we had won) and 2007 (I didn't have a chance to participate this year). He separated sim tools into desktop tools and server based tools which I thought was a great approach. Your cost for a simulation authoring tool can quickly jump from $699 (CP3) to $20k plus for some of these server based tools.

More blogging about the conference can be found by Brent Schlenker and Rovy Brannon.

I did a hands-on session on Adobe Captivate 3 - there were only 16 computers and 28 attendees. It was quite tough to run a session where only half the attendees can really participate. I was trying to include some extra tips since 50% were existing users and these tips were often too fast/advanced for new users. It's best to split it up into two sessions which wasn't an option this time.

As promised, here are the PPT slides I used in the beginning of the session. Most of the other files and examples can be found in the Adobe Captivate Exchange.

Flight SimulatorI liked the option to attend a tour at the end of the conference and I joined the tour of Flight Safety International where we got a glimpse at the flight simulators. Quite impressive.

October 12, 2007

What's your favorite feature?

Adobe Captivate 3 has been available for a couple of months now and we'd like to know, which of the new features are the most important to you. Please vote below.

October 11, 2007

Adobe Captivate won two new awards



How exciting! This week Adobe Captivate won two new awards!

Technology & Learning 2007 Award of Excellence Legacy Award and a Business Software Satisfaction Award in the UK.


We win product awards and you can win project awards :) If you want chances to win with your content, you might still be able to sign up for DemoFest at DevLearn.

October 10, 2007

Handbook of eLearning Strategy



The eLearning Guild recently released a free Handbook of eLearning Strategy. If you haven't downloaded it, I highly recommend reading it (not just because we sponsored the book, but because it covers the basics for an eLearning strategy).

It contains a great selection of articles that cover strategy, implementation, tools, change management and more.

Patti Shank's article beautifully summarizes the concepts I try to get across all the time when it comes to rapid eLearning and the design decision between traditional and rapid design. It's not the tools and the tools are not the solution. Rapid design and development are strategies, and simply using a rapid tool to convert a bad presentation into Flash is not rapid eLearning. The tools are designed to allow you to speed up the development process, or, in many cases nowadays, get SMEs involved to capture their knowledge directly with the tool - to make your life easier. And in some cases, like my own, enable a SME to crank out 'disposable' sales training and job aids because the ID team doesn't have time.

Plus, when thinking about tools, don't just look at one single tool but create a toolbox that provides what you need for your design.

Here is my meager attempt of creating an "ADDIE toolbox" for the tools we offer at Adobe (larger version) - it's a work in progress.

Update 11/2/07: Thanks Kathi for your comment. Here are the tools spelled out:
Analysis: FrameMaker , Acrobat, LiveCycle, Acrobat Connect Professional
Design: FrameMaker, Photoshop, Captivate, Acrobat, LiveCycle
Development: FrameMaker, Captivate, Dreamweaver, Director, Photoshop, Premiere, Presenter, Flash, Soundbooth, Bridge, Acrobat, LiveCycle
Implement: Connect Family (Professional and Training), RoboHelp, Contribute, Dreamweaver, AIR, Captivate, Acrobat, LiveCycle
Evaluate: Acrobat Connect Professional, ColdFusion, RoboHelp, Acrobat, LiveCycle

Choosing the right tool depends on what you want to accomplish and the type of eLearning you are developing. And guess what, sometimes a simple job aid in form of a PDF can be the solution...


PS: there is something else that I think is often overlooked: You can use many of the rapid tools to create a traditional training piece. For example, there is still the perception out there that Adobe Captivate is just a screen recording tool. The features are advancing all the time and you can create quite complex operational and conceptual simulations using Adobe Captivate.

October 8, 2007

$200 Discount for new registration at Training Tech Solutions Conf

Next week is the Training Tech Solutions Conference in Salt Lake City where I'll be doing a 3 hour hands-on session on Adobe Captivate.

The organizers had sent out a note to speakers regarding free expo passes and a $200 discount:


As a special thanks to our speakers, you are welcome to share the special Training Tech Solutions 2007 discounts shown below with your colleagues and clients.

To obtain these discounts, just send your colleagues and clients to: www.TrainingTechSolutions.com and click on the Registration link.
Please instruct them to input VIP code TSSP1 for a $200 discount off the three-day conference or VIP code EXPS1 to receive a complimentary two-day Expo Hall pass.

See you at the conference :)

October 5, 2007

Buzzword - Adobe's new online word editor


BuzzwordAt MAX this week, we had announced that we signed an agreement to acquire Virtual Ubiquity, which publishes an online word processor called Buzzword. I signed up for the beta to take a look.

Click here for larger image

It's still a bit rudimentary compared to desktop word processors, but for an online tool with built in collaboration features, it's really sweet.

Here is what I like about it:

  • It's Flash based - so pretty much everyone with a browser can access, view, edit, and print the content. No need to get special players or viewers.
  • UI - it's cool. I love how intuitive it is - menus slide in and out and tool tips for the entire toolbar show up.
  • Speed - it's extremely fast to work with it and save files.
  • Sharing - at any time, you can simply share a doc with someone else and when that person is viewing it, you can see it. Real time collaboration!
  • Commenting - fully built in and visible to the other person as soon as you save.

  • Import and export RTF and DOC files - so you can easily get started.
  • History - it's easy to go back to a previous version.
  • Lists - working with lists has probably never been easier: there is a skip paragraph option so you don't have to go through a 5 clicks to remove a bullet or number and include the paragraph in the list item.
  • PDF support is announced as the first step of integrating the tool into our offerings.

Features I'd like to see in the future:

  • I am so used to styles - definitely something I want to see in the future.
  • Color picker (Adobe Captivate has one and I use it all the time).
  • Ability to insert .swf files - you can already do that with PDF documents.
  • The history seems to go into the wrong direction ...? Usually any timeline goes from left to right ...

Overall it's a nifty new tool worth checking out in the Web 2.0 world.

PS: I am on the board of cfive which provides funding for the Innovative Video in Education (iVIE) awards. We are still working on updating the website. Amazing program - check it out.

October 4, 2007

Video - how our customers use our tools

We just published a great video on our website how our customers use our tools all over the world: Enabling Engaging eLearning

Just hearing customers talk about Adobe Captivate makes my day!

We want to learn about your stories and see what you do with Adobe Captivate - please submit your success story. See you in our future videos :)

October 2, 2007

Authoring and development tools surveys

The eLearning Guild recently added new surveys to the member profile.

If you are a member, please check in the profile section and complete these new surveys:
(If you are not a member, you can join free if you complete a profile)

1) Rapid e-Learning Tools Survey
2) Courseware Authoring / e-Learning Development Tools Survey
3) Simulation Tools Survey
4) Media Tools Survey
5) Combining & Deploying Authoring Tools

What I like about their surveys is the option for members to pull real time data from the thousands of completed profiles. You'll find out about which tools and services are being used most, which ones members are satisfied with, what the typical salaries are, as well as some trends. You have powerful filter options to drill down to the data you are interested in.

October 1, 2007

Free document sharing using Adobe Share

We just made a new service codenamed Share available on Adobe labs . It's a free web-based service that allows you to easily share, publish and organize your documents.

You can't preview Adobe Captivate .swf files yet, but you can still use the free service to share a project or output with others (I would zip the output folder up before uploading it). What I like about it is that you can always just have the latest version available so people don't work with or view old content.

For PDF files, there is also a document viewer you can directly integrate with your blog or website. I included the Share user guide :) It created the URL for the link and the code for the viewer automatically and I simply copied/pasted into my blog.

Key features:

- Send documents without email attachments.
- Access your documents from anywhere.
- View all the documents you have shared or received in one place.
- Post a link to your document on a wiki or blog.
- Embed a Flash® preview of your document on any website.
- Limit access to a document to a list of recipients.