Here's an interesting scenario: You create a Captivate project that contains 12 slides: 10 question slides, each worth 10 points (that's 100 points total), and two non-question slides that contain some text, images, and simple image buttons used for navigation.
Soon after you roll out your course, learners report a big problem with the way the quiz is scoring. Several people answer every quiz question correctly but instead of receiving the expected perfect score of 100, they get a 96. Say what?
How about this one? You have a 5-question quiz in the project. As with the first example, the project also has a couple of non-quiz slides containing simple "go to the next slide" buttons... maybe even some click boxes. During the testing phase, the progress indicator is off... learners are told that they are on question 1 of 6 when there are only 5 questions
Both problems mentioned above are more common than you might think. The issues aren't with the question slides and they're not a problem with your learners. The problem is typically found with the interactive objects on the non-question slides.
If you were to select a click box or button and observe the Reporting area on the Properties Inspector, you'd see that any interactive object (click boxes, buttons, text entry boxes, etc.) can report interactivity. In essence, any interactive object can be treated like it's a question in a quiz.
In the example below, I've selected a regular button and, on the Properties Inspector, Actions tab, I've told Captivate to treat the button like a quiz question by simply selecting "Include in Quiz." I've also assigned a point value (in this instance, 100 points) and told Captivate to not only count the points as part of the quiz (Add to Total), but to Report Answers to my Learning Management System (Report Answers).
The Include in Quiz, Add to Total, and Report Answers options are awesome if you want to create non-traditional quiz questions. However, the options can also cause the troubles I mentioned at the beginning of this article. When I'm working with interactive objects, I am always on my guard to ensure that none of the Reporting options are enabled (unless doing so is intentional). Between the three options, I find the Add to Total and Report Answers options to be the root cause of the miss-scoring issues.
Disabling the Reporting options is a simple matter of clearing a few check boxes. But what if you have a large project (perhaps 100 slides or more)? While some of the slides are question slides that you might want to score... and perhaps there are buttons or click boxes that you also want to include in the quiz... the majority of the slide objects aren't supposed to report a score. It's going to be a real pain to open each of the slides, show the Properties of each object and ensure the Reporting options are disabled. What's a developer to do? Read on...
Choose Project > Advanced Interaction to open the Advanced Interaction window. In the image below, you can see that I have objects in my project that are reporting scores (12 points in fact). I wouldn't have known that if not for the Advanced Interaction window. And if I was expecting to have objects report a total value of 100 points, I can see now that I've got a problem.
Perhaps I don't want anything to score at all. All that I would need to do is select the objects in the Advanced Interaction window and then, on the Properties Inspector, deselect Add to Total.
Over the years I have found the Advanced Interaction window to be a huge time- and frustration-saver. If you've found a particular area in Captivate that saves you time, please feel free to share.
I've written several articles about adult learners and attention spans. For instance, there was the article titled "How Long is Too Long?" where you learned that students can keep tuned in to a lecture for no more than 15 to 20 minutes at a time. During that same article I compared the attention spans in humans to the attention spans of the common goldfish (7 seconds for the goldfish; 15 seconds for a human). Then there was my follow-up piece earlier this year (Attention! Attention!) where I provided updated research from Microsoft that suggests the goldfish was short-changed and may actually have an attention span of 9 seconds while the attention span for humans may have gotten worse (down to 8 or 9 seconds).
Each of my attention span articles focused on attention spans of adults and eLearning (asynchronous training where there is no live interaction between a trainer and the learner). In those articles, I recommend that no individual eLearning lesson (or module) play for longer than approximately 5 minutes. (Anything longer than 5 minutes and you're inviting your learner to tune out and drift off to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or some other site.
What about learner attention spans in live, instructor-led classes (synchronous training)? While 5 minutes is an ideal playtime for eLearning (mainly because there isn't any human interaction), with live training (be it an online class or onsite), my experience has shown that you can keep a learner's attention far longer. In fact, 75-90 minutes is reasonable assuming you are engaging your learner and not simply lecturing. Nevertheless, even if your teaching style and course content are the best of the best, there is a limit to how long you can go before even an engaged student will cease to absorb your teachings. With that in mind, here is a typical schedule that IconLogic follows for all of its full-day classes (each of our full-day classes start at 10 a.m. Eastern):
10 a.m.: Class Start
11:30 a.m.: Break (15 minutes)
11:45 a.m.: Class resumes
1:00 p.m. Lunch (60 minutes)
2:00 p.m.: Class resumes
3:30 p.m.: Break (15 minutes)
5:00 p.m.: Class ends for the day
The schedule above is based on a 90-minute rotation of actual class time versus breaks (notwithstanding the 60 minutes for lunch). If your schedule is based on a 75-minute rotation, your first break would be at 11:15 a.m. and so on. And while we do end our classes promptly at 5:00 p.m. each day, we usually begin to wind things down at approximately 4:45 each day to leave time for learner questions. I've found that the 15 minutes gives everyone a chance to breath and decompress (our classes are typically jammed full of great content and hands-on activities so the wind-down period is helpful).
What's your take on the training to break ratio for live training? Do you think 90 minutes is best? Is 75 minutes better? Or perhaps you've got some other ratios in mind that you'd like to share? Feel free to comment below.
If you've been tasked with teaching live, online classes and it's something you're just not comfortable with, I'd suggest checking out the live, online certification course offered by the International Council for Certified Online Training Professionals. They've got a class coming up in December and I'm part of a team of certified trainers who will teach the 2-day session. You'll learn everything you need to know to successfully lead a live online class from the hardware you'll need, the software, techniques for engaging the learner, how to prepare your materials, and even how to create compelling onscreen presentations. Come join me, Jennie Ruby, and AJ Walther for an awesome certification event!
Have you ever been frustrated when your beautifully designed layout in a Captivate responsive project looks nothing like what you created when viewing the content a mobile device (such as a tablet)? The problem isn't with your layout... it's likely due to the Breakpoint you set up in the first place.
A Breakpoint is the layout area in a Captivate responsive project that essentially defines the size of a learner's mobile device. In the image below you can see the default Breakpoints available in Captivate 9. (Captivate initially has three Breakpoints and you can add two more.)
As you move from the Desktop Breakpoint down to the TabletBreakpoint and then Mobile, the layout for the slide automatically gets more and more narrow (from an initial default width of 1024 pixels all the way down to 414 pixels for a smart phone).
I wanted to create a reponsive layout in Captivate for my iPad. I assumed that the default Tablet Breakpoint size of 768 pixels would work just fine. However, after finishing the layout and then viewing it on my iPad, the layout looked nothing like I had intended. It turns out that the size of my iPad is very different than the default 768 pixels in Captivate. To make the layout in Captivate look correct when viewed on my iPad, I needed to set up a Breakpoint in Captivate that was the exact same size as my iPad. The problem was that I had no idea what that size was.
A Viewport is the size of the viewing screen on a device, and there are as many Viewport sizes as there are devices. Fortunately, there are free resources available on the Web that will tell you the size of just about any device. One site that I use all of the time is viewportsizes. Besides offering an extensive list containing just about any device you can think of, the site offers a page that will tell you the size of the device you're currently using on the fly.
I opened Safari on my iPad and browsed to http://viewportsizes.com/mine. Once on the site, I was surprised to learn that the Viewport for my iPad was actually 1024x644 in Landscape mode, 768x900 in Portrait mode.
Now that I had the size of my iPad, it was simple enough to return to Captivate and modify the width and the height of my Breakpoint.
To adjust the width, all I need to do is drag the Size slider shown in the image below to 768. (If dragging the slider isn't precise enough for you, you can always type the value into the field to the right of the Slider.)
Specifying a specific height for a Breakpoint is also a snap via the Device Height field on the Properties Inspector.
From that point forward, I was able to rest easy with the knowledge that the layout I created in Captivate for my iPad would look the exactly the way I expected when opened with the same version/size iPad.
Behance is an online community of Adobe Creative Cloud subscribers. If you're looking for creative inspiration, there is a TON of it here. Use the search field to find people or keywords, and "follow" your favorites to see their latest works.
In the image below, I used the search feature in Behance to find infographics. I have found free templates here, along with a wide variety of creative projects.
Pinterest is an online community with an unlimited wealth of resources at your fingertips. And it's all free! Create an account and start "boards," where you store collections of links and images. I have many boards on Pinterest (@kreatable)--here's an example of my Infographics board.
Good old reliable Google is another way to find inspiration--simply use Google or your favorite search engine to search for a topic. Use specific search terms to help weed out the unwanted content.
In the image below, I searched for "infographics" using Google. More specific phrase or keyword searches produce better, more refined results.
Twitter is one of my favorite social media platforms (@kreatable) and searching on Twitter is super easy. In the image below, I've done a search on Twitter, looking for infographics.
Design books and websites
I recommend using design books and online resources. Websites like Smashing Magazine and Just Creative offer a wealth of creative inspiration. Find the ones that are tailored to your skill set and check them often for new and fresh ideas.
I'm excited to announce that my newest book, "TechSmith Camtasia 9: The Essentials" has gone to my beta team for testing and proofreading. I expect the book to be available for purchase in a few short weeks. (You'll be able to purchase the book direct from my website or resellers such as Amazon.com.) Camtasia version 9 is an awesome upgrade to Camtasia and I give it two hearty thumbs up!
During this step-by-step book you will learn how to:
Share projects to Vimeo, YouTube, Screencast, and locally
Remember the memory game from your youth? Believe it or not, a memory game comes with Captivate... and you can deploy it with zero programming skills. To begin, create a slide and then choose Interactions > Learning Interactions. Scroll down and select Memory Game.
Click the Insert button to open the Configure interaction screen. From here, you can add your images.
If you click Customize at the bottom of the screen, you'll find several areas of the interaction that you can easily control.
When you're finished, click the OK button and that's pretty much it. Preview the project and, believe it or not, the memory simply works... and it works great. (Did I mention there's not an ounce of programming skill necessary?)
When a learner takes a quiz created with Adobe Captivate, failure by the learner to click the Submit button on each and every question is a recurring problem. Many learners don't realize that a question is considered incorrect if it's skipped. And the answer is skipped if the Submit button isn't clicked. How can a learner miss clicking the Submit button? I've seen learners select a correct answer, and then click a slide's Next button to move to the next question. Only after seeing the Quiz Results slide will a learner understand that clicking the Submit button was mandatory. By clicking Next, the answer was never submitted for scoring and was counted as an incorrect answer. Ouch!
I've gotten plenty of emails from developers wishing there was a way to ensure that learners didn't forget to click the Submit button. Fortunately, there is a Quiz setting available in Captivate that will help.
Choose Quiz > Quiz Preferences. From the Settings group, select Submit All.
The Submit button on every question slide will be replaced with a Submit All button.
Of course, the same learner who didn't understand the importance of clicking the Submit button will likely have the same issue with the Submit All button. The wonderful thing about the Submit All button is what happens should a learner click a slide's Next button on the last question in the quiz, or the Submit All button on any slide.
Check out the alert dialog box shown below. Thanks to the Submit All option, there's simply no way a learner can avoid answering every question.
After clicking the OK button, the learner will be required to go back through the Quiz and answer any questions that had not been completed. Once the learner has answered every question, the Submit All Answers button can be clicked while the learner is on any slide. Once clicked, the learner will see the alert dialog box below.
In a future version of Captivate, I'd love to see more information about which questions haven't been answered by the learner (in the first Submit All dialog box). As it stands now, learners will need to go through every question slide looking for anything that hasn't been answered. Nevertheless, the Submit All option is a step in the right direction.