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Now I am really writing about something I know about! Adobe Captivate 3 is a specialised software application mainly used to produce Computer based training and e-learning. It's probably best if I start by explaining what you do with it, rather than how it works.
Imagine you wanted to show a complete technophobe (I do this for a living)how to use a particular software application, say for instance, how to send an email, the chances are that after you have shown them once you would want them to have a go at it. They would then look at you with a blank expression and say "What?????" This is where Adobe Captivate comes in. Start running Captivate before you show your non techie what to do. The Captivate will then record every mouse move you make and replay it in a little movie called a Flash Movie. As if by magic Captivate gives written cues so that as the movie plays, the (non techie) viewer is reminded which buttons were clicked like: "click the send button".
The Flash movie can be copied on to a memory stick, CD or DVD, emailed or even loaded up onto a Website. Your non techie can now replay the movie, using standard controls that come with it, as many times as he or she needs until they get it.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. If you are a teacher or webdesigner you can customise your Flash movie by editing it at storyboard level. You can edit the text to make it more useful than just "click the send button". You can change sizes, colours and backgrounds to get the look and feel just right. If you made a mistake in the recording stage you can edit it out by moving the cursor or deleting or adding frames. You can add a sound commentary if you want to at any stage of production.
Captivate has the facility to add the all important Accessibility options. You can even make it record in a number of other languages without speaking a word of those languages yourself.
We are just getting started! When you have customised your movie so that it is just right for the lesson, use Adobe Captivate 3 to make a Quiz for assessment to see if they have got the point. You can make Quizzes using a variety of Question types Matching, Fill in the Blank, Drag and Drop etc. Adobe Captivate 1 and 2 were good at this, but 3 blows you away! Now you can record a pool of say 30 questions on sending emails. Give your pool a sensible name such as Sending Email questions. Then you can set a Quiz of say 15 questions deciding on the types of questions to be used. Instruct it to draw its questions from your Sending Email questions pool. Now every time that Quiz is used, it will have a different combination of questions! This saves a lot of teaching time as you would normally have to write several versions of a Quiz to get the same result.
I could go on forever, but I will just end up on this important feature- feedback. When the Quiz is done you can set it to give your learner feedback so they know how they did. It can even be set to send you the results by email so you know how they did.
Captivate can be set to link to a Learning Management System, so that each learner's results are tracked. It has the latest SCORM compliancy. How good is that! he drawback- it will set you back more than you can afford!