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Captivate, perhaps.

Komarey and I tried Captivate for making a couple of learning objects. The good? It's extremely robust in its features, integrated with Adobe Connect, and has potential..once you learn it. The tough? Its not that intuitive and tutorial support isn't the greatest. Their 400 page manual is not bad, but uhhhh 400 pages.

That said, features of version 4 they list as tops are
  • round -trip PowerPoint workflow (create, record, re-record or add/delete)
  • variables that allow personalization (name, data) of the experience and widgets such as roll overs and buttons
  • text-to-speech functionality, esp important for the PC
  • Photoshop layers import, useful for animations
  • workflow enhancements and output as PDF or AVI as well as html/swf
Useful to us are the ability to record in a number of ways - full motion, screen shot demo mode, and interactive mode in which students enter text or click in assigned areas with right and wrong feedback and scoring. Labels can be added, and the timing of each object's appearance, and disappearance is easily done. All elements are placed on a timeline and can be dragged ahead, extended or shortened.

Their "soft skills" feature actually boils down to the equivalent of Powerpoint slides with buttons to other slides based on an answer to a multiple choice question. On the other hand, it's pretty easy to add quiz items of varying formats as individual slides. It will score for you and can be integrated with the Blackboard gradebook. We just don't know how yet.

Besides having to struggle along to find how-to answers, we found a few technical challenges. Komarey had a series of recordings that played simultaneously unless they were well controlled in the timeline. I had a number of crashes, "insufficient resources", and exporting problems. So it seems to be processor intensive. Some changes I had to make multiple times, and some did not display in the final product even if they worked in preview. [I was also using the Mac alpha version for my latest project. ]

It was useful to have "real" projects with which to experiment. Komarey created a narrated exercise for her ahapua'a project with hit zones. Students will listen, then test their understanding and retention. I had done an inoa review which Jerina just narrated. Students enter the types of inoa and get feedback on their accuracy. It looks Powerpoint-ish and there are problems when folks backup or repeat, but it's not bad. There are also a couple of matching items which were very easy to create. This lesson can be found at http://elearn.ksbe.edu/unit1inoa

I also tried a demo mode exercise on making an Acrobat pdf portfolio. Many hours tweaking, then could not upload the .htm and .swf files. Am working on that. What we haven't done is the most interesting one - interactive Training using clickboxes, image hotspots and other tools.

For us the question is - is this better than whatever else we have or can have? The jury is out yet because we're still learning. If that went better, we'd know by now. The features are certainly impressive, if you can learn them efficiently enough and if they work consistently. And guess what - they're calling the Mac alpha version Captivate 5. New version for the PC?? Trial download at http://tryit.adobe.com/us/captivate/?sdid=EICJJ

Forgot to mention something Komarey liked about Captivate - the diagram view of all of your slides with arrows/colors that are supposed to show you the paths for right and wrong answers.

Posted the demo tutorial to http://web.me.com/joanmats/Site_2/PDF_portfolio.html

Here is Komarey's tutorial http://elearn.ksbe.edu/ahupuaa Check it out 8-)

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