Did you know that Adobe Captivate can perform some pretty high-end math? If you’re new to Captivate, I'll bet that you didn’t! Even if you’ve been using Captivate for eons, asking an eLearning development tool to do calculations is not something that likely comes to mind when starting a project.
Let's say that you need to create an annual healthcare enrollment lesson for your employees. Everyone knows that Open Enrollment time is not exactly the most fun or easy thing to figure out. Employees are given tons of information and often left sorting through confusing documents or boring lecture. Using Captivate, you can create an eLearning lesson with interactive text entry boxes that will help pique the learner's interest.
In the image below, I created a form that allows employees to put in the cost for three selections and then calculate the total by clicking the "Calculate My Cost" button.
Here's how you get the form to work using Captivate. First, add four new user variables via Project > Variables named MedicalCost, DentalCost, RetirementCost, and AnnualDeduction. (Keep in mind that it’s always a good idea to fill in a the default value and description for your variables.)
After you’ve created the variables, ensure each variable is associated with the Text Entry Box. Go to the Properties inspector for each Text Entry Box and select the appropriate variable.
Create an advanced action via Project > Advanced Actions.
I named my Advanced Action calculateMyCost. In the action, I’ve used the Expression command to add my variables together. You can only add two things at a time. so I added the MedicalCost and the DentalCost and saved it in the variable AnnualDeduction. Next, I took that total, AnnualDeduction, and added it to the RetirementCost again (saving it in the AnnualDeduction variable).
That’s it for the action.
The last step in the process is to attach the advanced action to the "Calculate My Cost button" via the Properties inspector.
Was the process I wrote about above intimidating? If you’re not sure what all these variable and action things are, join me for my Variables and Actions series of mini courses. 101 starts off with the basics. We add a new twist to each class, so by the time you finish 401, you’ve got a solid handle on all of the ins and outs of variables and actions... with some great practice along with way.
Lori Smith, COTP, is IconLogic's lead programmer and Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) in Captivate. Lori has a Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from MIT as well as a Master’s in electrical engineering from George Mason University. She has been working in the field of software engineering for more than 20 years. During that time she worked as an embedded software engineer at Raytheon (E-Systems) and ARINC.