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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Captivate and Articulate for Interactive Slide-Based Presentations

I got a question (and you know I love questions):
We are being asked to use Adobe Captivate on a project. I understand that Captivate is great for simulations and demonstrations of computer tasks, and can be used for scenario-based training for that kind of content. All good.

However, this project doesn't involve ANY simulations, demonstrations, or scenario-based training. It's an employee orientation that consists of many (500) slides of text and graphics. We'll make the slides fun with graphic effects and movies, but that doesn't change the slide model.

So, I thought that Articulate Presenter might be a better choice for this project. What do you think?
First some good news - I happen to like both of these products and if you look at my posts: Course Authoring and Rapid eLearning Tool Satisfaction and eLearning Course Authoring Tool Satisfaction - More you can see that both of these tools score pretty high in satisfaction. So I'm not alone in my opinion about these tools.

Certainly, as the person asking the questions states, if you were going for Software Simulation eLearning then Captivate (or the other tools list in my post) would be more appropriate than Captivate. But, in this case, it's not simulation, it's interactive presentation.

For the task described, where the source is initially MS PowerPoint slides, Articulate Presenter is going to be easier to use. Especially if you have animations or anything beyond the slides in your source PowerPoint. There's actually another product that Adobe offers - Adobe Presenter based on Breeze that is a plug-in or add-on to PowerPoint that allows you to continue to author in PowerPoint but it doesn't offer the same level of interaction support as Articulate Presenter.

From the question - "make it fun through graphic effects and movies" doesn't necessarily imply interaction - quizzes, games, etc. But I sincerely hope that somewhere among your 500 slides, you plan to make things interactive. However, if you really are not, then either Articulate Presenter or Adobe Presenter should be fine. I just feel sorry for the person going through the content.

One last point to make on this - these tools are not mutually exclusive. Captivate can be used to create Flash movies that can be embedded inside of Presenter. So, if there's a brief interaction that you feel can be created best in Captivate, you can always do that as well. So depending on how stubborn the person is who is pushing for Captivate, you might suggest that you primarily use Presenter and use Captivate for certain aspects.


Jesse Ezell said...

Don't forget, Articulate Presenter offers learning games and a few interactive things, as well as the ability to embed Quizmaker quizzes and SWF content from 3rd parties. So, you can do a lot of interactivity while still getting the rapid development for the rest of the content.

Wendy said...

Captivate 2.0 has more branching capabilities than the previous version. I'm still playing with it. I have found that Captivate is great for building chunks and placing those chunks into another, more easily branchable, program.

Tony Karrer said...

Wendy - well said. We've used it a lot that way recently as well. Because it produces Flash, you can embed what it creates inside other things. And you can do some very fun branching stuff with Captivate to use it for soft skills sims.

Maddie said...

There should be a document or a checklist which should list the features of all the different tools like captivate, RWD Infopacs, Articulate and the like. It would be of great help while deciding which tool to use for a particular project according to the list of features it possesses.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the explanation!

Anonymous said...

hello i use the oracle UPK (user productivity kit) for the capture and simulate, does the captivate work on the same lines, if it does will it work for any software applications.

Anonymous said...

I use both Adobe Captivate, Presenter and Articulate Presenter.

They are great tools and bulid more interacttivity.

Anonymous said...

UPK is much more interactive than Articulate or Captivate. UPK also allows you to print instructor and Student learning guides, I do not think that is true from Articulate or Captivate without another program attached. UPK does not have a quizmaker type template but it can be done.

Steve Mackenzie said...

Hi Tony,

I have not worked extensively with with captivate or presenter. But i have had brief experience and i know the types of products. My perception is that Captivate would be able to acheive whatever presenter could do and lost more. Would you agree? If so a further question for non technical academic staff would you say it is much easier for them to use? does captivate plugin to powerpoint like camtasia and articulate?

Final question. Institutionally apparently we pay a lot for a site wide articulate license. have you ant pricing comparisons at all.

many thanks