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A Quick Look at Captivate 6

July 11, 2012

Adobe’s Captivate 6 has been very recently released and I thought I would jot down my initial impressions of the demo I’ve been testing.  This is by no means a review as I’ve only had time during the last couple of days to take it for a spin.  Think of this as more of thoughts on the top new features from a Coaches perspective and how they may work into our current workflow, or even create new workflows.

HTML5 Publishing:

While Adobe provided a downloadable plugin for Captivate 5.5 that provided this functionality, it is now built into version 6.  At this point, I guess you could say, I’ve tested the feature but have yet to actually spend time with it in depth.  Can a feature based on an incomplete specification even be tested properly?  I suppose, until the specification changes or is finalized maybe.  Regardless, Adobe is jumping on the HTML5 bandwagon so that means we as developers get more publishing options.

For my “testing” I opened one of our existing eLearning briefs and republished to HTML5.  To keep things simple (along with the fact that I didn’t have time to test with an LMS), I removed the export for LMS reporting data.  The pictures below tell the story of publishing to HTML5 vs publishing swf.

Pictured above:  With HTML5, you’re going to have many more files to track and maintain.

Pictured above:  Publishing to swf means fewer files to maintain since everything is embedded within the swf.  The captivate.css is new to v6.

Once everything is published to HTML5 you’re still going to have to contend with ensuring your audience has a browser that supports HTML5.  Internet Explorer 8 or earlier will not work with HTML5.

High-Definition Screencast

This could be something we incorporate in the future.  Right now our eLearning is much more storyboarded and our step-by-step method doesn’t lend itself to live screen recording.  These types of recordings tend to run larger in file size and limit interactions without additional editing in post.  This certainly doesn’t mean Traveling Coaches can’t look at how to integrate something like this into future iterations of our eLearning.  Being able to more informally capture something “in the moment” along with one click publishing to a YouTube channel could have merit if implemented properly in my opinion.

Smart Learning Interactions

These remind me of Articulate’s Engage offering in the past.  Recently I was a beta tester for Articulates new offering, Storyline.  I remember thinking while testing Storyline that Articulate had moved more toward looking like Captivate and now that I see the Smart Learning Interactions it looks like Captivate is offering what Articulate Engage provided in the past.  I really like the Smart Learning Interactions for soft skill learning.  Although our eLearning briefs take a more literal, step-by-step approach to gaining skills with software I would still like to find a way to incorporate these in the future.


The themes are very well done and professional looking but since Traveling Coaches records eLearning to take up the entire window and there is no background to see per say, themes wouldn’t really do anything for our current workflow.

Characters are also available in various styles (business, casual, illustrated) that can lend a nice touch in the appropriate training scenario.

Rounding everything out is a tweaked user interface, better object styles for consistent formatting, XML file export and a Table of Contents aggregator.  Of these I would really like a bit more time to play around with the XML export and see how many platforms I could build out with the data.  Take a look and let us know what you’re most excited about with the new features.  As always, we look forward to hearing your feedback.

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