May 10, 2012

Enhancing Captivate Development with PowerPoint

Since delving into learning content development a few years ago, I've been continually impressed with Microsoft PowerPoint's capabilities. It has awesome enhancements for photos and graphics, it has rich animation building capabilities, and it has a super easy user interface. Those are just a few reasons I like it.

But I do e-learning development and the tool I am using most often these days is Adobe Captivate. I still leverage PowerPoint whenever I can.  For example, I use PowerPoint to create transparent PNGs (see my post from another blog) that I can use in my Captivate projects. I also take photos and enhance them using picture styles and effects. Just about any thing you do in Powerpoint, you can either export in PNG format or take a screen shot of it. I've even seen developers take screen videos of PowerPoint animations.

A lot of learning content already exists in PowerPoint. For example, many of my projects start off with a PowerPoint slide deck that was either a storyboard or a presentation used by face-to-face instructors. Captivate can be used to import PowerPoint presentations (see my post from another blog) saving you the work of cutting and pasting or redeveloping parts of the training. I would never recommend using the slides from a face-to-face presentation as e-learning. However, you can import pieces of it such as backgrounds, icons, charts, infographics, or animations to integrate into your e-learning module.

The reality is I rarely never use just one tool when developing a complete e-learning project. There are a variety of tools I use to take on a project. Any master of a craft has a collection of tools and knows the best time to use them. Is PowerPoint one of your tools?


Katya said...

Hi, Jonathan!

What do you think about PowerPoint based tools for e-learning, like iSpring or Articulate?

Jonathan Shoaf said...

Katya: I think Articulate Studio (I haven't looked at iSpring) works great for some projects...especially for timing actions to voiceovers. Where I think it falls short is in creating interactive and engaging content. I like projects with a lot of learner interaction and custom feedback. I find products like Captivate, Lectora Publisher, or Storyline better for that.

JWDesigns said...

What has your designer experience been like taking Captivate modules into HTML?
Have you ever exported Captivate into PPoint?

Curious. Integration with other systems is an issue for me and my clients and I naturally wondered if I am the only tree falling in the forest?


Jonathan Shoaf said...

Marla: To this point, I do not use a Flash-based product to go to HTML. However Captivate 6 is supposed to have better support for HTML5...I'll be looking closer at that soon. Even then, HTML5 is not supported on many of the browsers I developer for. I'm still supporting IE7 on Win XP for example!

While I've imported PPT into Captivate, I've not tried to export it. I don't believe that's possible. It does seem like a reasonable feature though. After all, they do export to Word format for printing.

You're not the only tree falling in the forest! It's hard to find the perfect tool. There is none. I'd suggest Storyboarding in PowerPoint and then importing to Captivate. If you need to have the project in PowerPoint too, you'll be able to work from that Storyboard and save some time.

Anonymous said...

Jonathon, Thanks for your clear instructions and informative information. I'm a new Captivate 6 user and need to take a face-to-face ppt and convert to elearning. I would appreciate some tips and also to know what features in cp6 can be 'added' or 'integrted' used with PPT based project. Eg I did not have success with importing animations (checked I had patch installed), so as work-around used triggers in ppt and timed animations to speech-to-txt timings on the slide. Basically, my approach has been to create lots of 'themes' in ppt (ie to use as background slide images), minimise the text on screen (and use triggers to display minimal text). Thankyou Sharon