Convert to Shared Action: Tips & Tricks


Recently i presented ‘Deep dive into Captivate with Shared and Advanced actions’ at the Adobe eLearning Word  202 conference.  During that presentation I used the ‘newbie’ scenario because the start poll pointed out that the majority of attendees were not really familiar with those actions. For the intermediate or advanced user, will try to post some blogs about tips which I would have included in my alternative scenario.  You may have seen the memory game which I published yesterday, and shows how you ca n include short JS scripts in the shared action.

The following tips are linked with my more than 19 years history of using Advanced actions, and 6 years with Shared actions. My viewpoints have changed quite a lot in that period. Presently my natural attitude is to reflect in most situations whether a Shared action is not appropriate. Why? One of the reasons is of course rIusability (with an external library), but even more important: it forces me to find better workflows.

Throughout the presentation I used a demonstration project (include d here as well) FlipCard.   It started with an original slide from the Quick Start Project ‘Alliance’. I added two slides where the functionality of the original slide was extended  to have more functionality (toggle flipcard, forced view, reset of slide on re-enter). I used two different workflows for the Advanced action and the Shared action slides. Why? You’ll discover it below.

You can download the project file using this link.


Actions in the slides

Advanced interaction panel (F9) shows all actions on the 3 slides

Slide 1 (original from the QSP)

As you can see in the screenshot above, this slide has no action On Enter (normally meant to Reset), only   3 similar advanced actions for the flipcards. Those cards are shapes used as buttons, with two states: an image in the Normal state and the explanation in the Active state. Here is a screenshot of the

The state Active is shown instead of the Normal state, a spin effect is applied and the shape button (flipcard) is disabled.  This means:

  • You cannot flip back to the image, because the shape button is disabled
  • Nothing happens when all flipcards have been flipped. Without a default playbar or adding a custom Next button, the learner will be blocked
  • When revisiting the slide:
    • the images will show up again, because the option ‘Retain state when slide is revisited’ is not activated
    • the shape buttons remain disabled, no clicking possible
    • which also means there is nothing to pause the slide, after moving throughout the duration (3seconds) of the slide the playhead continues to the next slide

 Slide 2 (extended Advanced actions)

To fix the issues of the first slide, the advanced actions used here look like this example:

No longer a one decision advanced action. These are the changes:

  • The command ‘Go to state ‘Active” has been replaced by ‘Go to Next State’; this means that clicking act a s a toggle, since the shape buttons have only two states. It would also have been an advantage if this action was converted to a SA, one parameter less.
  • To track the clicks, a variable is needed for each of the flipcards, in this screenshot it is v_one. Its default value = 0, is toggled to 1 when the flipcard is clicked and that value remains 1. It is a so-called Boolean variable.
  • The second decision is conditional, checks the value of all the tracking variables and shows in this case a Next button.

When revisiting the slide, some issues are now automatically solved, but to have the slide behave completely like the first time, an action On Enter for the slide was used.

That action will hide the Next button, and reset the tracking variables to their default value, 0.

Slide 3 (Shared Actions)

Many expected that I would convert the Advanced actions of the second slide to shared actions (at least for the flip act), but I used another workflow. If I use the Shared action ‘FlipAct’ as template for an advanced action for the first flipcard (as demonstrated in the session) it would have looked like this (Preview window):

That looks more complicated:

  • The command ‘Assign var with 1’ has been replaced by an Increment command
  • A new variable v_counter was added to keep track of the clicks. It is only incremented on the first click as you see in the second decision. For shared actions I don’t mind so much about needing more variables. Whe they are not defined as a parameters, they are created automatically when importing the action. Moreover this makes the last decision easier
  • since I need only to check the value of v_counter. Instead of comparing with a literal (which should have been 3 in the first project), another variable v_max was used which will be populated with the On Enter action. That will make the shared action more flexible.

Result of this workflow is that only 3 parameters are needed for the shared action FlipAct:

For the Reset issue, I could have used an Advanced action, slightly different from the second slide. However I also converted it to a Shared action. Why?  When I drag that SA to another project, all variables (none are parameters here) will be created. For that same reason, I added some variables (here  7). This is a filled in action to be used On Enter, only the last two commands need a parameter. One of them is the number of flipcards (value fo v_max):

Not convinced?

For those who are not yet sure that the second workflow is better for shared actions, have converted the first Flip advanced action to a shared action. These would have been the needed parameters:

This is the situation if you have only 3 Flipcards. If you have 5 flipcards, you’ll will have 2 extra parameters: tracking variables.  The risk of missing to indicate the correct parameters when attaching the shared action to the shape buttons is much bigger than with the shared action I used in the third slide.

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Memory games (Javascript IN shared actions)


Last week I presented at the Adobe eLearning World 2020 “Deep dive into Captivate with Advanced and Shared actions’. I had prepared 3 different scenarios, to be ready for any audience. Due to the poll before the session I decided to go for the ‘newbie’ scenario because the majority was new to Shared actions, and a considerable amount of attendees even to Advanced actions. That means that intermediate and advanced users were perhaps disappointed. To remediate I plan some blogs and examples as illustration. This is the first one.

Javascript and Shared actions

It is possible to have the command ‘Execute Javascript’ embedded in a shared action. When talking about games, randomization is mostly used but not a ready-to-go feature in Captivate. In the session I showed a very simple board game where the tossing of a dice is simulated, and the board cursor advances based on the result of the dice toss. That was realized with one shared action.

This game uses random numbers as well. It is a memory game which can be used in many variations due to the flexibility of shared actions, variables and multistate objects.


You will learn about the game rules in the game. There is an easy and a more complicated way to play the 3 games. Hope you don’t keep only the easy one if you are in for some memory training:


Have fun!

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Do you use ‘Advanced Interaction’ panel?


Some panels in Captivate are ‘underused’, perhaps because they never show up automatically in the Newbie UI which is the standard after installing the application. You may know the Branching view panel, but from what I hear on the forums the Advanced Interaction panel is much less visited.  Personally I use it very frequently, find it very useful (contrary to the Branching view) in many circumstances (see later).

Open this panel is possible in several ways::

  1. Use the shortcut key F9
  2. From the Project menu which has Advanced Interaction as option
  3. As expected, since it is a panel, from the Window menu.

Although it has the looks of all panels, it is a ‘passive’ panel. You cannot really edit in this panel. Do not ignore it however, continue reading.

Exploration of the panel

Be not confused, this panel is not exclusively about Advanced Actions (often confused with interactions). Its user interface can be confusing, hence this section.

Control bar

In the top of the panel you’ll see this control bar. I ‘translated’ the tooltips:

From left to right:

  • Next to view you see ‘All Scorable Objects‘. That label is not correct, because you can show not only scorable objects. This is a button, when you open the panel, it is in a ‘pressed’ state. That means that all the filters (icons further on the bar) are selected. There is no way to deselect them all at once, has to be done manually. But if some or all of the filters have been unselected, pressing this ‘All Scorable Objects’ will again activate all Filters. I really wished this was a toggle button to select/deselect.
  • Next to ‘Filter by’ you have 8 icons,. The explanation is visible in the image above. Those icon buttons are toggles. In the screenshot all filters are active except two: Interactive Widget because since 11.5 there is no interactive widget (learning interaction) packaged with Captivate anymore, and Hidden Slides because I don’t have hidden slides. Two of the item categories for which you can filter can never be scored: Hidden slides and Hyperlinks. The other categories can be scored, but need not to be scored. Think about Drag&Drop slides which can be used as Knowledge Check slides. Same for Text Entry Boxes, buttons, click boxes. Knowledge Check and Pretest slides will appear in the same style as normal Question slides?
  • In the center you see ‘Total…x points’. Beware; this is the total of the scores of the items shown in the table using the filters. If you show only the questions, you’ll see the total score of those questions, not those linked to other scoreable objects.
  • At the end you see three buttons: first will collapse all items to the highest level (which is slides), second will expand all items and the last allows you to print the table which can be useful.


Some of the column headings are confusing.  Let us start with a very simple use case which can be supplementary to or an alternative to the Filmstrip. All filters are deselected in this screenshot (marked in purple). Advanced interaction panel is floating, you can resize it. This is the minimum size which is possible:

In this situation you see only the slides (top level item)… with the exception of the Question slides. The first column shows the slide numbers, the second the name if you edited the name. The missing slides 4-11 are quiz slides. It is a bit strange that the Results slide is showing.

The column ‘Success’ heading is misleading. On slide level this column shows eventual actions triggered by the On Enter event.   The actions are identified: simple action (slide 1, 13), Advanced action  (slide 2) or Shared action (slide 3). The panel is dynamically linked to the Filmsbrip. If you click another slide, it will be selected in the Filmstrip and its Properties panel will appear.

Similar the column ‘Failure is showing the actions triggered by the On Exit event of the slide.

None of the other columns has any meaning in this situation.

When the filters of the first screenshot (control bar) are activated (sorry Hidden slides i added here, but is not relevant), this will be the result:

All objects from the filter categories are now visible, with their actions. The type of object is in the  second column. ‘Smartshape’ is a shape button, Image is a bitmap image used as button, SVG is a SVG used as button. I don’t have click boxes, TEBs nor Drag&Drop in this example.

When you select an object in the table, the dynamic link will result in the object being selected on the stage and its Properties panel popping up. A nice enhancements would be to have the Quiz Properties being selected when you choose a quiz slide.

Success column shows the action triggered by the Success event in this case. It doesn’t matter whether there is a score or not.

“Failure” column is still not a correct heading for most instances. Only when the number of Attempts is set to 1 it will be a real Failure event. For attempts higher than 1, the name should be replaced by ‘Last Attempt‘ action. If the number of Attempts is Infinite, there will never be a Failure attempt, you can ignore that column.

Watch the other columns having an entry, they summarize the settings for scored items and quiz slides: score (Points), penalty (Negative score), whether the score is added to the Quiz total (default quiz slide’s score is always added, but not marked here), if they are included in the quiz and reporte (get interaction ID-. All settings of the Reporting section for interactive objects.


Advanced Interaction panel is fantastic. When using Drag&Drop slides the Success column will show the action ‘On Success’. When you have a limited amount of Attempts, the ‘Failure’ column will sow the ‘Last Attempt’ action. But if you are a fan of the Object Actions  (like me) you have to know that they will NOT appear in this panel. Maybe in a future release?

Use cases

Quiz result

A question often appearing in the forums ‘I have answered every question correctly, but I don’t have a score of 100%’. 

Answer; use F9 to open the Advanced Interaction panel. Check the total score on top (all filters are selected by default). Is that what you expected or is it higher? If it is higher look for other scoreable objects in the Points column.

Busy with Advanced/Shared actions

Having an overview of all events to which you have attributed actions is a time saver.  Moreover, due to the dynamic link, you can navigate immediately to a ‘suspicious event’.

Example 1: You have created some enhanced advanced actions to replace the present ones. To double-check if the replacement has been done for all the events, use this panel.

Example 2: After testing out an advanced action, you’ll replace it with a shared action. Did you not forget some?

Example 3: some slides do not reset on testing. Check if they have (or need) an On Enter action. Find the slide without On Enter action in this dialog box.

Example 4:  because your project now needs to be viewed on multiple devices and browser resolutions, you decided to replace all images used as buttons by SVGs. Filter on the buttons and you have a good overview of tthose image buttons (at least if you use a consistent labeling system).

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Mute only 1 slide, not all the slides in the project

HI! I first tried the mute button in the playbar, and then I created a mute button with advances action. In both cases mute the audio in the current slides, when the project goes to the next slide I can hear the audio again. I need to help to solve this, I need that the audio keep muted or unmuted in all the project. Thanks!

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Custom Multiple Choice Quiz Questions Made with Shared Actions

Patreon members get to download the project file for free. Become a Patreon member:

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6 Killer Examples of Gamification in eLearning (Updated in 2020)

Gamification for learning (or, notably, serious learning) is all about using the principles and key elements of gaming to meet the required learning objectives.

The value that Gamification brings in is summarized very effectively in the following statement (as per Wikipedia):

“Gamification techniques are intended to leverage people’s natural desires for socializing, learning, mastery, competition, achievement, status, self-expression, altruism, or closure.

Gamification strategies use rewards for players who accomplish desired tasks or competition to engage players.

Types of rewards include points, achievement badges or levels, the filling of a progress bar, or providing the user with virtual currency.

Making the rewards for accomplishing tasks visible to other players or providing leader boards are ways of encouraging players to compete.”


What Is the Value That Gamification Provides for the Learners and Business?

As Gamification offers a learning journey to have fun as you learn, the learners welcome it. However, L&D teams who invest in it still have reservations on the value, impact, or the ROI of this spend. As we pitch for Gamification, we often come across the following questions on its value and impact:

  • Will Gamification truly help learners learn?
  • Gamification is all about having fun, but can it drive learner performance?
  • Does Gamification offer tangible gain and value to the learners and business?

However, the fact remains that the success of any learning strategy is determined by the effectiveness of its application. If you craft a Gamification concept that can capture and retain learners’ attention, challenge them, engage and ensure they complete the journey, plus teach them, you will have a high-impact training that will indeed deliver the desired impact.

As a result, well-designed Gamification based trainings provide value to both organizations and learners at many levels as shown here.

The Value from the Learners’ Perspective

Let us take a look at the following stats that re-affirm the value of Gamification based learning from the users:

  • 80% of learners claimed learning would be more productive if it were more game-oriented. (Source: eLogic Learning)
  • 67% of students reported that a gamified course was more motivating than a traditional course. (Source: Taylor & Francis Online)

The Value from the Organizational Perspective

The use of Gamification for learning provides several benefits to L&D teams:

  1. Gamification is a very engaging learning strategy and the right gamified approach will enable L&D teams to meet the learning outcomes (similar to other strategies used in traditional eLearning).
  2. As Gamification for learning offers a more engaging and immersive learning experience, this would translate to higher completion rates. The gain would also be reflected in better recall or retention.
  3. The versatility of Gamification for learning enables you to use it various levels of learning (different cognition levels). You can use it for not only learning acquisition but also for practice for performance improvement, upskilling, or application of the learning successfully at work.
  4. Bringing in a change in thinking and behavior is a tall order. Coupled with principles of spaced repetition, you can successfully leverage Gamification to influence both aspects over time.

How Can You Create the Desired Impact Through Gamification for Learning?

At EI Design, we have a very mature Gamification practice and since inception, our focus has been on using techniques that enable us to create the following value:

  1. High learner engagement.
  2. Immersive approach.
  3. High recall.
  4. Better retention (sticky learning).
  5. Improved application of the acquired learning on the job.
  6. Reinforcement.
  7. Challenges that stimulate a refresh or review of primary learning resources.
  8. Practice and proficiency gain.
  9. Trigger change in thinking.
  10. Influence behavioral change

To meet these gains, a majority of our solutions under the Gamification for learning category use the following 8 elements.

To help you understand how these 8 elements help you meet the learning goals, I highlight the value of each element by mapping it to the equivalent technique in traditional eLearning.

  1. Challenges: These map to the learning objectives or learning goals.
  2. Levels: These map to the learning journey and as the learner goes through each level, it signifies a step up in proficiency for him or her.
  3. Instant feedback: This helps learners know how they are faring against their learning goals and based on this, they can adopt the necessary measures to step up their performance.
  4. Scores: They are indicators of their performance and are closely aligned to offering gratification as well as a sense of accomplishment.
  5. Badges: As the learners go through the learning path and clear certain levels, they are given badges. These reflect affirmations for their significant achievements.
  6. Leaderboards: They are dashboards that are used to provide a pictorial view of the overall progress (including against others). The analytics keeps learners connected to the learning journey and aligned to meeting their terminal objectives.
  7. Competition: This can be leveraged effectively as it helps learners assess where they stand against other peers or competing teams.
  8. Collaboration: This feature not only facilitates team building but also enables learners to leverage the support of peers or guidance from experts to meet their goals.


Gamification in eLearning: 6 Killer Examples 

I have selected 6 Gamification examples from our rich repository to illustrate its value. These examples illustrate how Gamification can be used across different corporate trainings for value ranging from better recall, retention, or application on the job.

Gamification Example 1: Induction Program for a Globally Renowned Entertainment Company

The purpose of the course was to orient employees with the company’s history, policies and benefits, procedures to be followed, and career growth opportunities through a fully gamified approach.

  • A guided visual tour, relatable terms, rich and customized visuals, and details created what the organization called a ‘magical’ learning experience.

Gamification Example 1: Induction Program for a Globally Renowned Entertainment CompanyGamification Example 1: Induction Program for a Globally Renowned Entertainment Company

Gamification Example 2: An Experiential Induction Program for a Global Retail Giant

A gamified onboarding training opportunity was created for a customer care team to help them acclimatize with the culture of the organization.

  • The entire course in a 360-degree platform with Virtual Reality (VR) features, personalization through avatars, and Leaderboards and Analytics to understand the efficacy of user interactions are the highlights.

Gamification Example 2: An Experiential Induction Program for a Global Retail GiantGamification Example 2: An Experiential Induction Program for a Global Retail Giant

Gamification Example 3: Professional Skills Enhancement – Account Management Fundamentals for Project Managers and Account Managers 

 This course is a great example of a Gamification approach with multiple levels that reflect the proficiency gain as the learners move from Level 1 to Level 4.

  • The learning journey is driven by scenarios or challenges (matching real-life situations).
  • Unlike the classic approach of having to go through theory and then practice, here the learners can directly jump into taking a challenge. This helps them ascertain if they truly know the concept. They can seek support through an Expert (if they can’t clear the challenge).
  • We also added curated content that offers new content to the learners, every subsequent time they come back. This is a great way to have them refresh their learning.

Gamification Example 3: Professional Skills Enhancement - Account Management Fundamentals for Project Managers and Account Managers Gamification Example 3: Professional Skills Enhancement - Account Management Fundamentals for Project Managers and Account Managers Gamification Example 3: Professional Skills Enhancement - Account Management Fundamentals for Project Managers and Account Managers 

Gamification Example 4: Rewards and Recognition

This uses an avatar-based approach for personalization along with Gamification.

  • The learners go through a series of locations in a fictitious city and have gamified activities that map to the different aspects of the organization’s compensation program.
  • The activities simulate and reinforce the concepts the individuals must understand and remember to win. The scores lead them to gaining the reward.

Gamification Example 4: Rewards and RecognitionGamification Example 4: Rewards and RecognitionGamification Example 4: Rewards and Recognition

Gamification Example 4: Rewards and Recognition

Gamification Example 5: Partial Gamification – Features a Gamified Activity

This example illustrates how you can add punch to enhance a traditional eLearning course by implementing partial Gamification techniques. The usage of gamified activities can uplift the engagement quotient of the standard eLearning course manifold.

  • We used this approach in a course on Time Management, and the activity was for identifying time wasters. It involved rapid thinking to select a time waster activity (mapped to floating clocks that would appear from different directions). If you were not paying attention, you would miss and get a negative score!
  • Unlike a standard approach (a drag-and-drop interaction), this approach is fun and pushes learners to focus – creating a more engaging and rewarding learning experience.

Gamification Example 5: Partial Gamification - Features a Gamified Activity

Gamification Example 6: Partial Gamification – Features a Gamified Assessment Designed as a Micro-Challenge

This example features a very versatile Gamification approach. We created a bank of gamified assessments – each one in a unique format as a Micro-Challenge.

Designed in a Microlearning format that can be consumed on the go (it features a Mobile-First design), the questions can be used to support any formal training for:

  • Practice.
  • Proficiency gain.
  • Post training connect, and the feedback would help them refresh the primary training.

Gamification Example 5: Partial Gamification - Features a Gamified ActivityGamification Example 5: Partial Gamification - Features a Gamified Activity 

As you have noted in the featured examples, Gamification is a great strategy to provide an immersive learning experience. It is an extremely versatile approach and its application will help you improve learning, application on the job, and the tougher mandate of behavioral change. I hope my article helps you leverage Gamification for trainings you haven’t used it for in the past.

Meanwhile, if you have any specific queries,  leave a comment below.

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Gamified Learning – “Kitchen Quest”


This is Kitchen Quest, a small gamified learning demo my team and I built at our little eLearning company.

Our goal was to create a retro Gameboy style game to help technicians learn how to troubleshoot different appliances in commercial kitchens.  To accomplish this goal, we used multiple combinations of Advanced and Conditional Actions, Variables, and JavaScript.  This is the result.

Check it out and let me know what you think!  If you have any questions on the different elements of the game or how we got certain parts to work, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Kitchen Quest  Overworld  

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