Adobe Captivate

Adobe Captivate

When comparing standalone authoring tools like Adobe Captivate and Articulate Storyline, I like that they don’t depend on a base program such as PowerPoint for operation.

Similar to PowerPoint, they both use a graphical environment that allows me to arrange objects on slides, and they offer deeper capabilities for designing user interactions with options such as variables and system states, triggers, etc. These capabilities require knowledge and training to utilize to the fullest, which is why we as ISDs spend so much time talking about which tool is the best for specific needs and how do the features meet those needs, because each tool has their strengths and weaknesses and experience helps.

Introducing HTML5 output was a defining moment for eLearning authoring tools but Adobe, having almost unlimited funds, introduced two new features recently that are new to the collective toolset we all use (Camtasia, Storyline, Studio, Lectora, Captivate).

“Responsive Design and Geolocation move our industry forward by taking any of our authoring tools and pulling them into the BYOD world (Bring Your Own Device).”

Responsive Design

Responsive design means the training resource can be viewed on PC, iPhone or iPad, Blackberry, Android or Windows Mobile. This offering sets Captivate apart by allowing authors to choose to create a responsive project instead of a regular project. Three layouts are available and they automatically adjust in size and position of the elements based on the size of the layout. You can override this either by excluding elements for each layout or you can manually move or reformat objects. What responsive design is to mobile devices and smaller learning vehicles like iPad and other devices, it is now being applied in a powerful way to eLearning design. Now, good luck getting all that information to fit on a smaller screen – but how we design is always impacted by the training device for delivery, right?


Geolocation features let us create if/then actions that pair up the learner’s physical location with location variables the author creates. So we can localize a course by showing certain information if the learner is taking my learning in New York instead of their California location and another learner will see different content if they are in their Boston office, for example.

A system variable keeps track of the student’s location (assuming they are on a GPS-enabled device and everyone has a smart phone these days). Authors can create user variables with latitude, longitude, and an accuracy threshold.

These are progressive features that allow for designing and developing customized content that can highlight the differences in learners. This is especially helpful if you have a good idea of your learner profiles.

Adobe Captivate has strengths compared to Storyline:

  • If a company has invested in Adobe products it is financially beneficial when an author can easily integrate Captivate with the Adobe eLearning Suite (Photoshop and Flash).
  • I never use stock templates but they are a good place to start sometimes. Each course needs its own identity and style and Captivate lets me customize the player and the style of my course with more features for customization.
  • Captivate also lets me add widgets. These are powerful advanced actions and although there are limitations on export/import actions these options are not found in Storyline. I can export and import XML files, real closed captioning and excellent tracking and reporting capabilities.

Adobe Captivate 2019

Review coming this week..stay tuned!