VR Projects – tips and tricks

Intro

The ability to embed 360 images/video in an eLearning course is an enhancement (CP2019) which can be used in a lot of eLearning courses. As a civil engineer I think about the setup of a construction site, detection of lack of safety in a building etc. The most recent release of Captivate allows to use those assets in two different type of projects: either a full VR project, or on individual slides in a normal cptx project. Not yet possible in a Fluid Boxes project as far as I know.

A VR project will be created right from the welcome screen. It can only have slides with a 360 Image or Video. All other Slide types except 360 slide are dimmed under the big button Slides, and the menu Insert is completely dimmed. You can add hotspots to trigger several possible actions,to the 360 slides, and overlay Question slides (not KC slides) where two types are possible: T/F and MCQ). The score slide is available but will not show up as overlay for the 360 slide, you’ll have to define a background slide for it.  I will offer some tips for the overlay Quiz slides, and for the Quiz Preferences.

If you use a 360 slide in a normal (blank) cptx-project, you’ll have the same hotspot functionality but will not be able to have overlay question slides. However you can use normal quiz slides and KC slides in the project. You’ll find more information about 260 slides in a future blog post.

In this article I will only talk about VR Projects using 360 Image slides.

VR project

Overlay Quiz slides – tips

Quiz Preferences

Quiz Preferences are available for the graded Overlay Quiz slides. But lot of the options are dimmed. Reporting setup is the same as in any other project with a quiz. In Settings options are limited to:

  • add the Clear button
  • add the Review navigation buttons if Review is allowed for the learner
  • hide or show the Score slide
  • allow Review

As usual for all Quizzes in Captivate, I strongly recommend to keep the Required field set to the default ‘Optional’ to avoid problems. You have same control over Quiz Result Messages and Quiz Review Messages as in any other quiz.

In Pass or Fail you can set the passing score (in % or points). But for the number of attempts on quiz level, you have only th choice between 1 or Infinite Attempts. In the last case you should activate the Retake button on the Score slide. There are no actions possible for Passing or Failing grade. No advanced actions are possible in a VR project, not only here for the Quiz, but also for the hotspots, for the On Enter events of any slide.

Default Labels are stripped out as you can see in this screenshot. It is impossible to change a style, only the Feedback messages, Clear and Submit button labels are available:

Styling the Quiz and Score slides

In a VR project, Themes are not available. Moreover the Object Style Manager cannot be used (as you did see in Quiz Preferences, Default Labels).  That seems to be a show stopper if you want to implement the font and colors that are part of your company’s default styles. However it is possible, manually,  to change the font and other features of the different text containers on quiz and score slides. You can even use Typekit fonts. It is of course more work than just applying another style, which is a pity. Maybe launch a feature request?

Score slide

Since the score slide needs a background slide, I tried to add slide audio to that background slide. However that audio played, but only for 1,5sec. As usual the pausing point for the sore slide (as for quiz slides) was set at 1,5secs.  You can move that pausing point and increase the length of the slide. But I did not succeed to make the audio play in combination with the score slide showing up.

Hotspots and actions

A hotspot is similar to a click box, but without a duration. It shows in the Timeline up as a brown circle. If you just add a number of hotspots without touching the timeline, they will all show up on the first frame of the slide, which means they’ll all be available to the learner at the same time, when in ‘Exploratory’ mode. If you prefer to use the ‘Guided’ mode, the sequence used to show a hotspot is following the stacking order: bottom hotspot shows up first, top hotspot last:

You can also scatter the hotspots over the timeline. But I will dedicate a separate article to the timelines of the 360 image and video slides in a near future:

Possible actions triggered by clicking hotspots are limited:

  • Show/Hide Playbar
  • Navigation commands: Go to Previous Slide, Go to Next Slide, Jump to Slide, Go to Last Visited Slide
  • No Action, Continue, Exit
  • Play Audio/Stop Triggered Audio.  There are more ways to have audio playing in a VR project:
    • You can add slide audio.  There is no way to pause that slide audio however with a custom action triggered by a hotspot (Pause is lacking in the commands). The only way to pause or mute the audio is with a playbar that has the appropriate buttons.
    • Hotspot audio: you can add audio to a hotspot like with any object. Be aware of the fact that this audio will play when the object becomes visible. This means that if the hotspots are all in the first frame, all audio clips start playing immediately (maybe even parallel with slide audio). If you scatter the hotspots, this is a way to combine a Display Text or Image command with audio. More info later in an article about the Timeline of a 360 Slide.
    • I mentioned above that adding
  • Display Text: the text will always be in Times New Roman, no way to change the style at all. The only possible workaround I see at this moment is to create an image with text in the appropriate font, size and color. Beware: you need to have a background for the text, or it will not show up. You also have to take care of eventual have a lower opacity, which means you will be limited to PNG  images, because JPEG doesn’t support transparency. Here is an example of a simple text image which I created in Word (text box, not simple text), captured with Snagit and lowered the opacity to 80% (this is not visible here, but shows well up in the VR project.:
  • Display Image: can also be combined with audio as explained before, and is probably the most versatile way of adding information. I mostly use it also for Text display?

Zooming?

The question has appeared a couple of times in the forums. It is not possible to zoom in on the 360 image, hoping this will make it in a future release. At this moment, a possible workaround is to take a 2D enlarged image and insert it on a hotspot that displays that image. Not the real stuff of course. I used it to display a full shot of my kitchen appliances in a 3D image of my kitchen.

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Custom Effects in Advanced/Shared Actions

Intro

Almost 8 years ago I posted this article on my personal blog: Editing Motion Paths and Using Custom Effects. 

Since that time Effects have been improved a lot, advanced and shared actions can make life much easier. Time to upgrade that blog post, meanwhile testing the behavior of effects in HTML output in CP2019. While Flash was always to be trusted, that is not the case for HTML output. And indeed, I bumped onto a problem with the Scale effect, and sometimes the Rotate to effect. When those problems are solved, I will post a published movie. The workflow to use Custom effects in a shared or advanced action is however still the same since many versions. It is a bit complicated, I have answered many questions about it in the forums. I will write it out now step by step.

When do you need  a custom effect?

Effects have been improved in some ways. Some parameters can be defined in the Advanced Actions dialog box. Look for the start time of an effect, its duration and more numeric fields (alpha, rotation, ease in/out, alpha….). However when using a combination of effects over and over again, you can create one custom effect which saves that combination and can applied in one step including the sequence and duration of the different effects. Another practical example are the motion effects, where you need to edit the motion path, which is certainly the case for more complicated custom motion paths.  This screenshot shows an example of a complicated combination of effects on the Timeline. It was meant to be applied to simulate a swimming fish:

Step by Step

Step 1:  Create and save effect

Create the effect or combination of effects on any object as a ‘Self)time based animation and test it out thoroughly (Preview HTML in Browser for a non-responsive project) in several browsers before saving it with a custom name.

You don’t need to save it in a specific folder. I use to save it with the project I am working on as is the case in the screenshot above. Effects are stored in XML-files.

Step 2: Apply the custom effect as time-based animation

If you would try to use the saved effect in a shared/advanced action it will no be available. If this is the first custom effect you ever created, there will not even be a Custom category to choose from You need first to delete all the individual effects applied to the object (above it was to the object SV_Fish (a SVG image). Then apply the custom effect as a (Self) time based animation again, but now with ‘one’ effect chosen with the browse button.

When looking at the timeline you’ll see exactly the same result as in the screenshot at the beginning: all the effects in the correct sequence and with the duration you had chosen.

The result of this second application is that the Category ‘Custom’ will now have been created, and it will have the new custom effect ‘Swimming’.

Step “: use in advanced or shared action

If you only wanted to apply this action using an interactive object, you could use a simple action. The field Category will now have the Custom category.

However often effects are used in Advanced or Shared actions in combination with other commands. In this example the Fishes are originally hidden, so I need to Show them and apply the effectn eventually also have an audio clip playing separately.

The two buttons on this example will trigger the same shared action. Both fishes are hidden in output at the start. When creating the advanced action, the category Custom can now be used, and the available parameters (start, duration) could be edited, but mostly you’ll not want to do that.

Because I needed to use this action twice, maybe also later in other projects unchanged or as template for other actions, I preferred a shared action which will have only one parameter: the object itself. An effect cannot be a parameter. However, the effect can not only be applied to one object, but also to a group. I can replace one fish by a group of fishes.

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What is Branch Aware?

Intro

Branch aware feature appeared with Captivate 6.  I created a blog post to explain it, but I regularly meet users who are still unaware of its existence, or its possibilities. So I decided to refurbish that old post, and create a new example movie with CP2019. You have seen a first version of that movie in my recent post about localisation with CSV import. That post discusses the workflow to create quiz slides in different languages in the same project. The example did use the Branch aware feature, but some of the features were not fully localised: the score slide was the default score slide which is in English since I am using a version in that tongue.

In this post I will also talk a lot about the quizzing system variables. If you didn’t download my explanatory table yet, please do so. You’ll find a link in this blog post: Creative with Quizzing variables.

What is Branch Aware?

Look at the Advanced Interaction panel of the example movie. It gives you a lot of information, not only about the events and the triggered actions, but also about all scored objects, including question slides.

You see that the total score is set at 60 points, result of the 9 graded questions in the file. For each of those graded slides both the individual score and the penalty are shown. There are also 3 Survey slides, without a score. Those values are also stored in quizzing system variables:

  • Total score in cpQuizInfoTotalQuizPoints
  • Score per question in cpQuizInfoPointsPerQuestionSlide (reusable variable)
  • Penalty per question in cpQuizInfoNegativePointsOnCurrentQuestionSlide (reusable variable)

If you don’t activate the option ‘Branch Aware in Quiz Preferencesn Settings (see screenshot later on), the default score slide will show 60 as maximum score. If the learner takes only one branch (language) of the quiz, the percentage (cpInfoPercentage) will be calculated as the obtained score (cpQuizInfoPointsscored) divided by that maximum score of 60. Same with the number of correct answers and total number of answers. This means the learner would be very confused, and never succeeds in that case. Reason is that those system variables are fixed when the course starts, I label them as being ‘static’.

When turning on Branch Aware, the system variables become ‘dynamic’, they will be changed on runtime based on the branch, thse slides visited by the learner. In this example movie that has been my choice: if the learner succeeds in one branch (maybe Dutch) the maximum possible score will be changed to 20, the percentage will be calculated with that maximum and the obtained score and the learner will see correct data on the score slide, can reach the passing score. No problem if a trilingual learner did visit the three branches, since the variables are dynamic, he will be judged on the maximum score of 60. This is the setup of Quiz Preferences, Setting for the example movie:

Example Movie

Play

Setup Project

The project has 16 slides: Title slide, Dashboard slide, 3 groups each with 4 questions, the default score slide and a custom score slide. This is the Filmstrip, I expanded the group ‘Dutch questions’:

Dashboard slide (slide 2)

I will not explain the effects on the dashboard slide, where I used a loop action (While) triggered by the On Enter event.

I created a user variable v_all The four buttons on this slide trigger a shared action which has two parameters: which value has to be assigned to the variable (1=All, E=English, D=Dutch, F=French) and the slide to jump to. Here is the instance for the button ‘Nederlands’ (Dutch):

Start slide of question groups Dutch/French

On all quiz slides a shape is displayed with info about the obtained score and correct answers so far. That shape, labeled SS_Info is a multistate object. In the Normal state the English version is displayed, there are two more states:  Dutch and French. Switching to the appropriate state is done with the On Enter event of the start slide of the Dutch and the French group. It is a simple action:

Because the project is pure linear, and there is no opportunity to go back, this setup is sufficient.

Last slide of each group (Survey slide)

The event ‘After Survey’ is used to navigate to the appropriate score slide. For the learners who did take the three branches, the default score slide (ScoreDefault = slide 15) is used, for the others the custom score slide 16. The same advanced action ‘LastAct’ can be used for the last slide in each group. If that last slide was a normal quiz slide, not a Survey slide, the same action could be used but for both Success and Last Attempt events.

Custom Score slide (16)

On this slide I used several multistate objects: where I added two states (Dutch/French) to the Normal state which has the English text. The On Enter event of this slide is used to trigger this action which will take care of showing the correct language information, and of the appearance of the Tropy image if the learner has passed.

One warning: the maximum score on the custom score slide is not created by using a system variable, but typed in (can also be calculated, as I explained in an older post about intermediate score slides). The variable cpQuizInfoTotalQuizPoints will not have changed from the original 60 points which took into account all quiz slides. It is strange because cpInfoPercentage where that maximum score is used, is correctly displayed as is  cpQuizInfoPointsscored.

Conclusion

I know that more improvements are possible, but blog post is already pretty long. If you really want to show a custom progress indicator on the quiz slides, maybe you’ll find some inspiration in this old post. 

If you allow backwards navigation, even give the opportunity to choose another branch on the dashboard, there will be some more editing needed. This article was meant to explain what happens when using the Branch Aware feature. Hope it helps some people.

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CSV import – localisation

Intro

Some time before the release of CP2017 I published a blog post, where I explained how I use the GIFT import for localising projects. Time to check if a similar solution is possible with the new CSV import. I used the provided template file, an Excel spreadsheet with macros. ‘CSVQuestionsCreationMacro.xlsm’. You find this worksheet in the GalleryQuiz. That may be a problem for users who don’t have administrator rights, because the installation folder is not always accessible for them. That is one of the reasons that a lot of folders are duplicated in the Public documents (Windows) or Shared documents.

Example movie

You can watch this movie, which I’ll also be using to explain the Branch aware functionality in a future post. After the title slide, you have a choice slide: you can opt to take the quiz in one of three languages. Or, if you are trilingual, why not choose the option ‘ALL’?

Play

Workflow CSV import

English questions

I used the provided Excel worksheet to create these questions. I first double checked the Quiz Preferences for the Default labels, and the master slides. I took out the option to show the Progress. Reason: contrary to all other labels, when you change the Preferences to have another language, the labeling of the Progress will not remain on the existing slides. That is an annoying small bug. The progress text will always be converted to the last used language.

After importing the questions some manual work has to be done, because not everything can be set up in the CSV file:

  • The positive score for each question is imported, but if you want a penalty, you will have to add it manually. Refer to the Advanced Interaction panel shown below
  • For the MCQ slide with multiple correct answers, you need to set up the individual scores manually for each of the answers. With GIFT import it is possible to insert already the positive partial scores, not with CSV for what I detected.

It is very easy to set up the Matching slides, the Help documentation is not updated: you do not have to insert the pipe sympbol, there is a matching field. Nicely done!

Dutch and French questions

The third sheet of the Excel worksheet has the fields for the to be exported CSV file. However you are not allowed to edit those fields. You don’t have access to the questions as they were defined in the second sheet, so that is not a workaround.

My workflow was to use the exported CSV file with the English questions, and open it in Excel as a copy. That file can be translated to any language. You can save it as a CSV file from Excel and import in Captivate.

Before importing such a translated file, I set the Quiz Preferences to the correct language. Especially the Default labels need to be translated. For that purpose I have always a Preferences file ready that can be imported. Only newly created quiz slides will take on those new labels (also for the buttons), with the exception of the Progress mentioned above: it will also override the progress on existing quiz slides.

Conclusion

At this moment, I still have a slight preference to use GIFT files for import, especially if I need to translate questions for the same project or for other projects. Translating a GIFT file, that is already set up correctly is a quicker workflow. Being able to define partial score in that file is another plus.

In a next blog post, I will explain the ins and outs, and the setup of the Branch aware feature which has been used in the example file.

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Would like to meet you on 2-4 October in Las Vegas

Why?

The Adobe team has invited me to the Adobe Learning Summit (3-4 October) based on my 10 years of answering questions in forums and other social media (I don’t like titles like ‘Legend’ or ‘Top most contributor/expert’).  They insist on having me meet users, being able for once to do in person what I do daily throughout virtual channels with Captivate users worldwide: help for solving small and big issues you are bumping on, offering practical tips, explaining and clarifying workflows.  It is always a pleasure to meet users in person!

Welcome to everyone. It is possible you don’t know me, in that case have a look at the blogs I posted on this portal, and at my personal blog: http://blog.lilybiri.com.  You will see that I have some favourite topics:

  • Shared and Advanced actions: since they appeared with Captivate 4 I have explored them in depth, helped many developers solving use cases (also as consultant and trainer). A fan recently indicated me as ‘True empress of Advanced and Shared Actions’, a promotion over the title ‘Queen of Advanced Actions’ which I got long time ago.
    Example: Shared Actions
  • Stumbling Blocks:  most users struggle with the Timeline,  which is the most important panel in Captivate. The sequence of articles and movies I published about the timeline, and their popularity proves my statement. Second main problem is understanding the design of the Quiz in Captivate: how is it set up, which tweaks are possible. Third problem, linked with design, is setting up a custom Theme. This can save so many hours while developing, and its power is often misunderstood.
    Example: Pausing Captivate’s Timeline
  • Workarounds: Captivate is to me the most flexible and multifeatured eLearning authoring tool. Because of that multitude of features, not every feature has all the functionality some users wish to have. Explore my blog posts, for many of those lacking functionality I have posted a workaround.
    Example: Navigation button for InteractiveVideo

When/Where?

I will be available in the hotel of the conference (Hard Rock) on 2 October (afternoon), 3 and 4 October.  If you want to meet, send me a note using any channel you want: Twitter (@Lilybiri), comment on this article, mail at info@lilybiri.com,  If I am able to have a US phone number, will post it here as well.  Or you may just hail me when you see me walking around (will assist in all classes for the certificate on 3 October).

Looking forward to meeting!

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Interactive Video (CP2019): Navigation button

Intro

Interactive Video is without any doubt my favourite new feature in Captivate 2019. It makes adding some interactivity to a passive video very easy compared with the old workflows which I used to simulate such an interactive video in previous versions. I had in mind to blog about some possible workflows that could add even more functionality. A user posted a question today about Bookmarking for Navigation. I had already some workflows in mind, and want to share one of them with you. I tried it out on the sample project provided with Captivate. That project has only two bookmarks, which are labeled ‘ExerciseBenefits’ and ‘O3Jump’. the workflow can easily be extended to more bookmarkst. We’ll create a shape button to pop up a menu.

Popup menu

To create the menu, which is hidden when the video starts, I used a shape,  but you can use a text caption as well. I filled that shape with one word for each of the bookmarks. In this case I used the words ‘First ‘ and ‘Second’. Those words will be indicated as hyperlinks. Hyperlinks have a lot more functionality than just pointing to an URL, as I explained in some blog posts.

Close button

Dropdown menu

The menu for hyperlinks is missing some options (which I regret): you will not see the option ‘Jump to Bookmark’ nor ‘Execute Shared Action’. My only choice was to use the command ‘Execute Advanced Actions’.  That means that you have to create as many advanced actions as you have bookmarks. They are very simple oneliners, but with a simple action or a shared action it would be a better workflow.  It is also impossible to prevent release of the playhead, but that is not really an issue in this case since we are creating navigation actions, and the video may continue to play when it gets to the chosen bookmark.

The shape with the hyperlinked texts needs to be invisible in output, and timed for the rest of the slide. If you have multiple video slides, and you want one menu for all videos,  time it for the rest of the project. Because the overlays are possible, you’ll not have any problem to have the shape being visible on top of the video.

Menu Button

The menu button (which you could see in the screenshot with the popup shape) is a shape button. I added a custom state ‘Close’ to the 3 InBuilt states, where the label is changed from Menu to Close. To avoid confusion I took out the label from the Rollover and Down state which are used both for the open and closed version of the button:

The button is a toggle button, to track the visibility of the popup shape I needed a user variable (Boolean) which I labeled v_visib as usual. Default value = 0, which means the popup shape is closed and the Normal state of the button is active. When the button is clicked to open the popup, the state will change to Close, and the variable will be toggled. This leads to a conditional action which I have described/used already many times:

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Short answer question or Scrolling Text for Survey?

Intro

Once in a while a question like in this thread pops up:

“….students will need to answer short answer questions.  They will not be right or wrong, they will be their thoughts.  Is there a way to have all their answers compile into a final screen at the end?”

It seems logical to use short answer quiz slides, in Survey mode, for this use case. However I prefer to use one of the Learning Interactions, ‘Scolling Text’ for reasons I want to explain in this article, by describing both workflows with their specificities. It is up to you to decide which you’ll use. In both workflows variables will be important, hope you are familiar with them.

Short Answer quiz slides, Survey mode

Setup quiz slides

No right/wrong answer means that scoring has no sense, change the stqtus of the quiz slide to ‘Survey’. Nevertheless a score slide will be inserted but you can hide it easily.

Answers to quiz slides are stored in a reusable variable, cpQuizInfoAnswerChoice. After a short answer question the variable will contain the text typed in by the learner in the short answer field. Reusable means that the value will change after each short answer slide. Since we need to store each answer safely (for reusing on the slide at the end), you will need:

  • to create a user variable for each short answer question; I will label them v_First, v_Second, v_Third for the example you’ll see in the demo movie;
  • the default answer area is pretty small (one line), if you expect longer answers, make sure to increase the height of the answer area. It is not possible to edit the used master slide because it applies to multiple types of quiz slides;
  • the content of the system variable cpQuizInfoAnswerChoice is updated when the Submit button is clicked; it has to be transferred to the appropriate user variable, using the After Survey event; for that purpose I created a shared action with two commands:
    Assign v_First with cpQuizInfoAnswerChoice
    Go to Next Slide
    only parameter is the user variable (here v_First)
  • apply this shared action to each of the question slides, with the appropriate parameter.

Setup Answer Review slide

In the example movie I created one text container (shape or caption) and inserted the three user variables in it. Be careful to increase the number of characters to be shown when inserting the variables. You’ll also have to leave enough space for each variable. Of course you could create multiple text containers and/or have the answers distributed over multiple slides.

Using Scrolling Text interactions

A limitation of Short Answer quiz slide is that you can have only one answer per slide. When using a Scrolling Text interaction you can have several question on a slide as you can see in the example movie.

Setup interaction

Setup of the first answer box can be seen in this screenshot:

Two important items are indicated  in the screenshot:

  1. You have to type in the name of the variable to be used. There is no way to use a dropdown list. Beware: you have to create the variable, it is not created uatomatically.
  2. To allow text to be typed in by the user, the checkbox ‘ReadOnly’ has to be unchecked. By default it is checked.

It would have been possible to enter the question in the interaction, instead of having it in a separate text container. I preferred not to do it. Reason: if the user adds the answer, instead of overwriting the question, the variable will contain html tags, like <br>.

The Submit button, which you’ll see on the slide, triggers  the (default) action ‘Go to Next Slide’.

Since I reused the three user variables in this part of the example, I have created an advanced action triggered on Enter to empty the user variables with the technique described in this article.:

Setup Answer Review slide

Very easy: duplicate the slide with the interactions, and take out the On Enter action to reset the variables. The interactions are now populated with the given answers. Moreover the learner can still edit those answers, because of the option ‘ReadOnly’ being unchecked. If you don’t want it, check the option ‘ReadOnly’ on this duplicate slide.

It is also possible to use a similar slide for the first workflow with short answer quiz slides. That will be useful if you want indeed to allow editing the answers.

Example movie

Play

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CP2019’s Tiny Gems

Review?

Not a complete review, I need more time to explore some of the features. Not yet 3 weeks is insufficiente, especially since I already coached a training which included some of the new features. For long-time fans, who are used to my treasure hunt for little gems, I only found 3 so far, but probably more are hidden behind the big treasure. No lack of ideas for future articles, my mind is purring like a cat…  Today I will start with the tiny gems, or my article could be too long. I value the big gems as well, will tell you some secrets soon.

Tiny Gems

Skin editor

Default setup of the included themes all include a default playbar. That is fine for pure linear projects but personally I largely prefer custom navigation and buttons for my projects which will seldom be linear. When you uncheck the playbar in the first tab of the Skin editor, up till now you had to remember to go to the second tab to uncheck the Borders as well.  If you forgot, you ended up with an ugly thick grey bottom border on all slides. This is no longer needed: when you deactivate the playbar in CP2019, borders get deselected by default. Saves a couple of clicks….always welcome!

Preview Methods

I suppose all developers are aware that the final death of Flash Player, SWF output will be there sooner than expected.  This gem is only valide for non-responsive projects because responsive projects can only be previewed as HTML. For the ‘blank’ projectstThe big button Preview has changed the sequence of the methods and clarified that the former ‘Preview in Browser (F12)’ is creating a temporary SWF. I had hoped on more promotion for HTML output, but the methods ‘Project’, ‘From this slide’ and ‘Next 5 slides’ are still based on a temporary SWF. As indicated in this image, never use Play Slide as Preview, only for synchronizing on the timeline.

HTML rectangle Play Icon

With the release of 10.0.1.285 there was a lot of noise and discussion about the AutoPlay having disappeared for all HTML output. In this article I described how to insert a poster image, replace the Play Icon, take away the dimming of the poster image and…. the ugly blue or white rectangle surrounding the Play icon.

Surprise! The last hack, which needed editing CPLibraryAll.css after publishing, is no longer necessary! The surrounding rectangle has disappeared. This recent movie ‘D&D question to behave like normal question slide‘ was published without having to edit the css file, dimming is still there.

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Coaching first training Captivate 2019

Intro

Captivate 2019 (version 11) was released on the 22nd of August. I had agreed to coach a personalised training 27-28 of August, which was planned for CP2017. I got an urgent call: would it be possible to switch to CP2019? Since I like challenges, I accepted.  In this post I will talk about this experience, my view as trainer on this new version. Beware: do not consider this to be a full Review, that will be posted later. I didn’t coach about all the new features as you’ll read.

Personalised training?

Why do I label this training as ‘personalized’?  The client had asked for very specific topics, not for a standardised basic training, because the trainees would start with a very specific project. They needed to learn about quizzes, responsive projects with fluid boxes, branching, themes. I explained that is was also necessary before any other topic to understand the functionality of Captivate’s timeline because that is the real foundation of all functionality. I agreed to add 360 images with hotspots workflow. Due to the limited duration of the training (two days) I would demo interactive video, but not train about its workflow.

It was a small group of trainees, but with very different background. First example: one trainee had been working as freelance developer with Captivate 2017, but had never a real training and only created non-responsive projects.  Another trainee never used Captivate, but had an IT degree, well versed in programming languages and user of Premiere Pro. Another challenge: all trainees needed to be engaged in the training! From their end feedback (orally) this has been a success. I don’t remember everything, but was particularly impressed by one sentence ‘I learned so much in so little time.M oreover you really empowered me. I arrived, believing that Captivate was a simple application to create small videos but it is so much more !’

Captivate 2019 features

Fluid Boxes

It is much easier for a trainer to explain the idea of fluid boxes in this new version. The hierarchy is made very clear, in the properties panel (once a FB has been selected) and by the indicators in the top left corner of each fluid box/object.

Those indicators also show visually the flow of the fluid box, whether it is the selected one (center fluid box in the screenshot) or hovering over a fluid box (green indicator for bottom fluid box).

We did explore the fluid boxes in the default quizzing master slides. Since themes were a requested topic, we created a couple of content master slides. I showed not only the use of the new Position properties for sizing the fluid boxes, but also my (still favourite) workflow for using guides. It is a personal choice. One of the content master slides was used for a Drag&Drop question.

Due to lack of time, I didn’t use the CSV import, but the older GIFT import for the creation of the quiz slides. GIFT has the advantage of allowing to enter partial scoring, couldn’t find it in the CSV import (may have missed it?).

360 Slide

We created a 360 image, and added hotspots, trying out all the possible assets: text, image, audio and question slide. The workflow is so easy that the trainees didn’t really need training. I love it when trainees ask: can we find out ourselves, for any feature!  Here a static screenshot showing a hotspot with a question:

I explained how it is possible to edit the image in Photoshop CC, maybe to correct some exposure flaws.

Interactive video

As explained before I didn’t train, only showed an example of interactive video. Beware: this is really my favourite new feature, be sure you’ll see interactive videos posted here in a near future. It just didn’t fit in this training of two days.

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Make Drag&Drop behave like any question

Use Case

Drag&Drop slides are often used as another type of questions. But its behavior is not totally the same. The typical two-step Submit process is missing:

  1. Tap the Submit button, feedback messages appear. One of them is the Hint message “You must answer the question to continue’.  There is a Retry message possible if you have multiple attempts on question level. There is one success message which has also the invitiation ‘Click on the slide or press Y” to start the second step of the Submit process. Same for the Failure message. You can have multiple failure messages (up till 3) if you have more attempts. During this first step the playhead remains paused at the pausing point (default time is at 1.5sec but you could have moved it).
  2. After clicking the slide or pressing Y, with one attempt, the playhead is released and the actions ‘On Success’ or ‘Last Attempt’ are done.

The Review situation is also different for D&D slides, compared with the default quiz slides. For that situation I already posted a blog in the past. This post is meant to answer a question in this thread

Quote “I am trying to make the D&D a quiz question and behave just like the other questions with “you must answer” if nothing is done, Correct or Incorrect when answered and only one attempt.

A while ago I already blogged about a solution that is showing the ‘You must answer’ in a dynamic failure message. That solution required to offer at least two attempts, and didn’t mimick the whole Submit process as wanted here.

My Solution

This is the screenshot of the Timeline of the Drag&Drop slide which I created as test case: 4 drag sources (generic names ending on 4,5,6,7 and one drop target – SmartShape_8.

Variables

I created two user variables:

  • v_correct: with a default value of 0. This variable will be incremented by 1 for each correct drag action. In the use case there are maximum 2;
  • v_wrong: also with a default value of 0. It will track the wrong drag actions in a similar way.

Changes to the Drag&Drop setup

  • Originally the score to be added to the Quiz total was linked to the Drag&Drop slide (Reporting section). I took that score away.
  • The default Submit button is dragged off the stage, will be replaced by a custom shape button (in timeline it is named SB_Submit.
  • The messages indicated as Success Caption and Failure Caption (although they are often shapes) were taken away by unchecking them in the Actions tab.
  • The pausing point (not visible on the Timeline) may remain, although it is not really necessary since you’ll have a Custom Submit button which can have a pausing point. If you keep both pausing points, they should be at the same time.
  • All Object Actions, normally set to No Action have been changed to an Increment command. For the wrong drag actions the variable v_wrong is incremented, for the correct drag actions the variable v_correct. See screenshot below:

Feedback messages (multistate)

I replaced the feedback messages by one shape with four states:

The Normal state is invisible to the user (no fill, no stroke). The other states Hint, Incorrect and Correct have exactly the same style as in the default messages in quiz slides. Too bad that you cannot choose the style, because Quizzing styles are not available for non-quiz objects. Weird, do not know the reason for this limitation.

Interactive Objects

I already mentioned the custom Submit Button which you can give exactly the same style as the Quiz Button style (which you cannot choose from the list). That shape button in the timeline screenshot shows a pausing point, at the same time as the pausing point of the D&D slide. It was not really necessary but I prefer seeing the pausing points, which is not the case for the default one in D&D slides. The Submit button will trigger an advanced or shared action.

In the Timeline you also see two click boxes CB_Wrong and CB_Correct. Those click boxes are NOT visible in output. They do not have any feedback messages, and cover the whole slide. Difference between both:

  • CB_Wrong has no score attached to it.
  • CB_Correct has the score you  want to attach to the D&D question.

The reason for those click boxes is explained in a very old blog post (where I used Buttons) under this link.

Report Custom Questions – part 2

Both click boxes allow also to use the shortcut key ‘y’.

Advanced Action triggered by SB_Submit

When the Submit button is clicked or tapped, three possible situations can occur:

  1. The learner has not dragged any drag source. In that case both variables v_wrong and v_correct will have kept their default value 0. The Hint state should appear.
  2. The learner has dragged sources but at least one was wrong. In that case the variable v_wrong will have a value greater than 0. Not only the InCorrect state of the message shape has to appear but also the click box which has no score, CB_Wrong.
  3. The learner has done only correct drag actions, no incorrect actions.   The Correct state has to appear and the click box which has a score CB_Correct.

Here is the Preview of that advanced action:

Remarks

The proposed solution can not be used in a responsive project created with Fluid Boxes because of its strict 2-dimension rule: you cannot stack objects in the same location as is the case here for the click boxes (which are amongst the forbidden objects in Fluid Boxes). In that case you will have to replace them by buttons which are not covering up any other object.

If you want to use this workflow in more projects, I would convert the advanced action to a shared action, and create some extra object styles in a custom theme: styles for the messages and for the button. The conversion to shared action would be an interesting use case, because of the many literals… maybe next blog.

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