Training Simulation: images as feedback


This step-by-step blog is for newbies, based on a question launched in the forum yesterday, look at the thread:

Goal: to have automatically images instead of the default failure message in a Software Simulation, Training mode. Don’t fear: I will not use any variables nor shared/advanced actions. It is a very simple workflow, provided to use it before recording! It is a lot more complicated if you want to achieve this after recording.

Default setup in all Themes

Feedback messages exist not only in Training/Assessment Simulations where they are linked to a Click box or a Text Entry Box, both interactive objects. You also have them for Interactive objects in normal, non-sim projects. In the default setup this is a bit confusing to newbies for these reasons:

  1. Feedback messages can be captions or shapes (both are text containers). Success, Failure, Hint messages have no individual timeline, they appear automatically, are linked to the interactive object: click box, button, Text Entry box
  2. In the default setup, the choice is to have Shapes, not Captions. You see this under Preferences, Defaults. You can change that preference by checking this box (SFH stands for Success, Failure, Hint):
  3. However this is NOT the default setup for those messages in Software simulations where Captions are the default. To change to Shapes, you need to check this box under Recording, Modes:
  4. Both types of text containers, Shapes and Captions do use a dedicated, default style. There is one style for Success, another for Failure and one for Hint message. You can check all of them out in the Object Style Manager (menu Edit, or SHIFT-F7). As all styles, these are part of the used Theme. FYI: I used the Windswept theme packaged with CP2019. Here are two examples: one for a Failure message in a Shape, another for a Failure message in a Caption.
  5. If you use the same type of text container for both normal projects and software simulations by changing checking either the checkbox in Preferences, Defaults to switch to captions, or the one in Recording, Modes to switch to Shapes for sims, in the default setup you will use the same style for all messages of that type. This may not necessarily be what you want, as is the case for the original issue here: only the Failure feedback message for the software simulation slides have to be ‘converted’ to images, not those for non-sim slides.


1 Switch to Shapes for Simulation feedback

Open Preferences, Recording and choose Modes.

Check off the option ‘Show Smart Shapes instead of Captions’.

2 Create shape filled with Image

2.1 Import Image in Library, check Size

Import the image you want to use to the Library using the second button: 

It will be in the Images folder, you can use JPEG or PNG (eventually GIF). Open its Properties with the right-click menu on its name and take note of the size:

2.2 Create a shape with that size

Create a (rectangular) shape with exactly the same size, using its Options tab (or eventually a grid created with guides);

That shape will automatically take on the Default shape style, in this case it is filled with a  Solid color, grey, from the Theme Colors.

2.3 Fill the shape with the image

With shape still selected, switch back to the Style tab in the Properties. Open the dropdown list under Fill, and choose Image instead of Solid. The default texture will now fill the shape.

Click the Image button to open the dialog box in this screenshot. You’ll see the folder Images from the Library and can choose your image, confirm with OK:

2.4 Edit Character features

Although the feedback now looks like an image, the text defined in the rdl file for recording feedbacks (too bad that it is not available in Preferences like the Quiz feedbacks) will appear anyway. For that reason you have to set up margins to force that text in the correct position by changing margins font size etc…

If you want to be able to add text in the shape, you can style that text (font, size, color) in the Character part, under the Style tab. For this particular image the challenge was setting up the alignment. I used the maximum number for the left margin (100), which was not sufficient. I had to add twice the Increase Indent as well.  In this case I supposed the feedback text would be edited in each slide. If you just want to keep the default feedback text which is (in English) ‘Incorrect, please try again.’ I would increase the font size, and probably also the bottom and right margins.

3 Create custom style

At this moment the field Style still shows ‘Default Smart Shape Style’, but preceded by a + sign. This sign means that the style has been overridden, which is a situation you have to avoid whenever possible. You will create a new custom style, using the tiny hamburger menu in the top right of the Style part. In that menu choose ‘Create new style’ and give that style a meaningful name. I labeled it ‘MyFailureShape’:

You don’t need the shape anymore now, you could delete it.

4 Set custom style to be used for Failure feedback

Open Preferences, Recording and go to Defaults. The Recording defaults dialog box opens. Those defaults are also part of the Theme, it is not necessary to change anything in the Object Style Manager. Find the feedback message where you want to change the style, in this case the Failure Shape style and choose the custom style from point 3.


Now you are all set. Start the recording, the Failure feedback will have your image style. However the size of the feedback will be automatically be rescaled to fit the size of the feedback text. You will have to check each slide and have to resize the shapes. AFAIK there is no way to keep a fixed size for any feedback message which would have been very useful for this use case. Will certainly log a feature request. Have a look at a failure message as it was inserted:

You could of course also use the same workflow for the Hint and Success feedback messages. If you want to use those feedback styles in other projects, the easiest way is to save the theme and to apply it to other projects. As explained in this blog, both object styles and Recording defaults are part of the theme (Master slides and Skin are the other components).

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Videofeedback in der Lehre – Ilka Nagel im Videointerview

Ich habe gerade noch ein paar Hausarbeiten Studierender vor mir liegen, und vielleicht probiere ich es einmal aus. Es braucht sicher einige Vorüberlegungen, denn die Kommentierung und Bewertung von Dokumenten verläuft ja in der Regel nicht linear: Man wirft einen Blick auf das Inhaltsverzeichnis, springt zur Literatur am Ende der Arbeit, startet mit dem ersten Kapitel, blättert irgendwann zurück, wenn man Wiederholungen oder Brüche vermutet oder Fragen hat, die ein früheres Kapitel betreffen. Oder man unterbricht die Lektüre mehrmals. Ilka Nagel von der Østfold University (Norwegen) ist jedenfalls von den Vorteilen des Videofeedbacks überzeugt. Alles nur eine Frage der Routine, meint sie. „Feedback Out Loud“.
Florian Hanke und Till Rückwart, Interview mit Ilka Nagel, Hochschulforum Digitalisierung, 8. August 2018

Bildquelle: Hochschulforum Digitalisierung

Problem: Feedback with input occurences in quiz


I use Captivate 7 and noticed that in some quiz question where there is an input occurence, where the user must enter an answer (drop-down list, Fill in the blank), the feedback associated to the question appears under the answer.  As you can see from the example below


I do not have this issue with the mulitple choice question.

Is there a way to make the feedback appear on top of the answers

The post Problem: Feedback with input occurences in quiz appeared first on eLearning.

How to solicit feedback after a course using Adobe Captivate Prime

I found a question in my inbox today and thought the answer might interest others. The question in a nutshell is, how can I get feedback from people after they take my course? This is a pretty simple task in Captivate Prime. I’ve outlined the steps below.

You can activate automatic triggers for the feedback to immediately follow the course in the admin section in Prime. Here’s how to find it.

Step 1: Change your role to Admin (upper right corner, click the arrow next to profile pic and select Administrator.


Step 2: Select Courses from the menu on the left.


Step 3: Find the course you want to set for immediate feedback and select View Course


Step 4: In the Left menu – select Instance Defaults under the Configure group.


Step 5: Enable L1 Reaction Feedback


Step 6: Select the toggle to enable immediate capture of feedback on course completion.


There are also pre-configured Likert questions that you can use: Here is how to enable those…

Step 1: In the Admin Role, select Settings From the menu on left


Step 2: Select Feedback under the Basics Group (Note that there are separate tabs at the top for L1 and L3 feedback.)


Step 3: Select Edit at top right. Enable or disable questions as desired. You may also edit / remove individual questions.


Step 4: Set the reminders at the bottom of the page to enable email and alert notification of the opportunity to complete the Likert responses. You may remind as often as you wish, and may include as many reminders as you wish.


Repairing/Editing Themes in CP2017

Why this short post?

If you have read my article about the 3 most important stumbling blocks for Captivate (newbie) users, you’ll know that Themes are amongst them.  The components of themes are described in What’s in a Theme/template. and in this post you’ll learn about he use of Theme colors. Almost daily I see questions, comments on the forums like “I don’t use a theme” which is  – sorry for the word – nonsense because every project is based on a theme. The theme with the least intrusive design is the Blank theme, which has no color palette and only offers the minimum set of 6 master slides.
The themes packaged with Captivate 2017 have some issues with the feedback messages:
  1. Hint shape is using the Success Shape Style, should use the existing Hint Shape Style
  2. Failure shape is using the Success Shape style, should use the existing Failure Shape Style
Shapes are set as default for feedback messages, not captions
The feedback captions use an appropriate style in the themes Easiest way to solve the problem would be to change Preferences, Defaults and choose for captions if that is not messing up your design.  Below you’ll read how to ecit the themes.

Where are default Themes stored?

The original themes can be found under the installation folder, in the GalleryLayouts for the language you used when installing. I am on Windows, installed the US version of Captivate and the path on my Win system is:
Crogram FilesAdobeAdobe Captivate 2017 x64GalleryLayouts10_0en_US. 
You’ll also find the ThemeColors folder in that location. The included themes are: (Blank), Blue, Clear, Clean, OldPaper, Poise, Suave, White (which is the default theme). All themes are responsive, but can be used for normal, blank projects.
However, while working with Captivate, you will use the themes from a copied folder. In Windows that copied folder can be found under
UsersPublicPublic DocumentsAdobeeLearning assetsLayouts. 
Reasons for this work flow are possibly:
  •  you cannot mess up the original themes
  •  the Public folder is accessible for developers which do not have administration rights.

If a theme seems corrupted or is too messed up, you can always restore it by copy/paste from the Gallery (need for administration rights). If you have both CP9 and CP2017 installed, you’ll see both Layouts in the copied folder. But the layouts folder for CP2017 has a subfolder ‘bpthemes’ containing all the CP9 themes on my system (not sure if that is the case when you only have a CP2017 install).

TIP: don’t put custom themes in the sames folder as the default themes (Public). If you have to restore all themes by deleting the Layouts folder you will not lose the custom themes. I store them mostly with the project(s) they are used for.

Editing default Themes

Restoring the correct object style for the Failure and Hint shapes is pretty easy: open the Object Style Manager (SHIFT-F7), and replace the Success style by the appropriate style (which does exist) as you can see in this screenshot

I suspect you will want to keep the correct object styles for the feedback messages for future projects as well. Use the menu Themes, option Save Theme.  The result will be that the theme is edited in the copied folder, in the Public documents To change the original theme in the Gallery, you’ll need to do it outside of Captivate, using Explorer and needing administration rights. However a user yesterday reported that the option ‘Save Theme‘ was dimmed(?).  Reason was that he was working in a blank, normal project. All default themes in CP2017 are responsive. To protect the responsiveness, you have to edit the theme from within a responsive project. The option ‘Save theme’ will be available in that case. You can always use a responsive theme in a normal project.

Providing Feedback on Quiz Questions — Yes or No?

I was asked today the following question from a learning professional in a large company:

It will come as no surprise that we create a great deal of mandatory/regulatory required eLearning here. All of these eLearning interventions have a final assessment that the learner must pass at 80% to be marked as completed; in addition to viewing all the course content as well. The question is around feedback for those assessment questions. 

  • One faction says no feedback at all, just a score at the end and the opportunity to revisit any section of the course before retaking the assessment.

  • Another faction says to tell them correct or incorrect after they submit their answer for each question.

  • And a third faction argues that we should give them detailed feedback beyond just correct/incorrect for each question. 

Which approach do you recommend? 


Here is what I wrote in response:

It all depends on what you’re trying to accomplish…

If this is a high-stakes assessment you may want to protect the integrity of your questions. In such a case, you’d have a large pool of questions and you’d protect the answer choices by not divulging them. You may even have proctored assessments, for example, having the respondent turn on their web camera and submit their video image along with the test results. Also, you wouldn’t give feedback because you’d be concerned that students would share the questions and answers.

If this is largely a test to give feedback to the learners—and to support them in remembering and performance—you’d not only give them detailed feedback, but you’d retest them after a few days or more to reinforce their learning. You might even follow-up to see how well they’ve been able to apply what they’ve learned on the job.

We can imagine a continuum between these two points where you might seek a balance between a focus on learning and a focus on assessment.

This may be a question for the lawyers, not just for us as learning professionals. If these courses are being provided to meet certain legal requirements, it may be most important to consider what might happen in the legal domain. Personally, I think the law may be behind learning science. Based on talking with clients over many years, it seems that lawyers and regulators often recommend learning designs and assessments that do NOT make sense from a learning standpoint. For example, lawyers tell companies that teaching a compliance topic once a year will be sufficient -- when we know that people forget and may need to be reminded.

In the learning-assessment domain, lawyers and regulators may say that it is acceptable to provide a quiz with no feedback. They are focused on having a defensible assessment. This may be the advice you should follow given current laws and regulations. However, this seems ultimately indefensible from a learning standpoint. Couldn't a litigant argue that the organization did NOT do everything they could to support the employee in learning -- if the organization didn't provide feedback on quiz questions? This seems a pretty straightforward argument -- and one that I would testify to in a court of law (if I was asked).

By the way, how do you know 80% is the right cutoff point? Most people use an arbitrary cutoff point, but then you don’t really know what it means.

Also, are your questions good questions? Do they ask people to make decisions set in realistic scenarios? Do they provide plausible answer choices (even for incorrect choices)? Are they focused on high-priority information?

Do the questions and the cutoff point truly differentiate between competence and lack of competence?

Are the questions asked after a substantial delay -- so that you know you are measuring the learners' ability to remember?

Bottom line: Decision-making around learning assessments is more complicated than it looks.

Note: I am available to help organizations sort this out... yet, as one may ascertain from my answer here, there are no clear recipes. It comes down to judgment and goals.

If your goal is learning, you probably should provide feedback and provide a delayed follow-up test. You should also use realistic scenario-based questions, not low-level knowledge questions.

If your goal is assessment, you probably should create a large pool of questions, proctor the testing, and withhold feedback.


Uberizing Organizational Learning – Thinking Beyond Courses

Das ist jetzt schon der zweite Beitrag in dieser Woche (siehe auch: “From Courses to Campaigns: using the 70:20:10 approach”), in dem es um Bildung und Lernen jenseits klassischer Kurse und Seminare geht. Sahana Chattopadhyay geht sogar noch ein Stück weiter und bringt die notwendige Veränderung auf den Begriff “Uberization”. Er wird ja - mit einer Verbeugung vor Uber, dem “Online-Vermittlungsdienst für Fahrdienstleistungen” (Wikipedia) - in jüngster Zeit immer häufiger als Bild für Innovationen und ein radikales Umdenken genutzt.

Wenn Sahana Chattopadhyay jetzt meint, “we need to uberize organizational learning”, dann hat sie folgende Parallelen im Blick: “… however, it is worthwhile to remember in the L&D context that Uber owns no “assets”. Agility and pull lie at the heart of uberization. Users - with a single tap on the app - can get a ride. Uber taps into existing resources providing people - both the suppliers and the buyers - with a platform to connect.”

Diese Vorlage führt sie in diesem lesenswerten Aufschlag zum Jahresbeginn weiter aus und schreibt L&D folgende Aufgaben ins Stammbuch:
1. Take a mobile-first approach …
2. Build communities …
3. Curate from existing sources …
4. Build a culture of feedback …
5. Make it an ongoing effort …

Schließlich: “In summary, the world of L&D has dramatically changed. Just as the rules of business and leadership have changed in the networked era, so has the rules for how to enable employees to deliver with efficacy. The L&D department can no longer sit in an isolated bubble designing courses for skills that are fast becoming redundant. It is time to build an entirely new set of skills in oneself as well as in the workforce.”
Sahana Chattopadhyay, ID and Other Reflections, 7. Januar 2016