Tweak Remediation: get out of the eternal loop

Intro

The Remediation feature was introduced with Captivate 6. There are many YouTube videos explaining the setup. I still prefer the original one by Shameer Ayyappan. 

The idea is that a learner when failing a Question will be navigated back to a content slide. When clicking the Next button on that content slide learner will return to the Question, and be able to change the answer. That is not a normal behavior for quiz slides, by design answers are blocked and attempts considered to be exhausted when leaving such a slide. 

There are some issues with the feature:

  • The learner will need to give a correct answer before being able to continue to the next slide. Result is an ‘eternal’ loop until the correct answer is given.
  • Each learner will have a 100% score at the end. Not always what you want as developer.

Quite a while ago I designed a workaround to break the ‘loop’. Yesterday a user in the Adobe forums asked for such a workflow. This is the thread.

As usual I checked if the workflow still is functional on the most recent release (I am on 11.5.5.553) and if it could be improved.  You can guess that I replaced the former advanced actions by the much more useful and flexible shared actions.

Example 

Watch this example: it has two content slides, and two quiz slides. For the first question (T/F) remediation feature is used, but after a second failed attempt the learner will proceed to the next question. Remediation for the first slide is using the first content slide. Similar for the second quiz slide (MCQ): remediation is using the second content slide, and learner will go to the next slide (score) after the third attempt. Watch it using this link (rescalable) or the embedded fixed resolution version below:



Step-by-step workflow

The limitation for the workaround is the same as for the default Remediation feature: you cannot use partial scoring for the MCQ slides, because a partially correct answer is considered to be correct by Captivate.

Sort summary of the default Remediation setup:

  1. The next button on the content slide has the command ‘Return to Quiz’ for its Success event. That command will only be done when the slide is visited from a quiz slide. If that is not the case, the Next button uses the action ‘Go to Next Slide’.
  2. Attempts for the question slide is set to 1.
  3. The Last Attempt action for the Quiz slide has the action ‘Jump to Slide, pointing to the appropriate Content slide

To break the eternal loop:

1. User variables

Create two user variables:

  • v_attempt: starts with a default value of 0 and is reusable for each quiz slide (will be reset to 0). It tracks the number of attempts on question level. There is no system variable possible. Only on quiz level you can use cpQuizInfoAttempts.
  • v_max: will get assigned the number of attempts allowed for each question. In the example file, for the first question it has the value 2, for the second one the value 3. That makes it flexible.

Once you have the shared actions in an external library, no need for this first step. Just drag the shared actions (together) from the external library to the project library and they will be created automatically. Since they are in both shared actions, even if you replace the EnterQuest action by an advanced action, it will still be done by importing the second shared action FailureAct.

2. EnterQuest (Shared action)

This (standard) action is triggered by the On Enter event of the quiz slide.

For each quiz slide you’ll need this action to set the value for v_max and to increment the value of v_attempt by 1 to track attempts. This shared action has only 1 parameter: the literal which is the value of v_max for this particular quiz slide. If you want the same number of attempts for all the quiz slides, you can replace this shared action by an advanced action of course.

3. FailureAct (Shared action)

This (conditional) action is triggered by the Last Attempt event of each quiz slide. 

It has one parameter as well: the content slide which needs to be used for remediation.

4. Next buttons

Similar to the default Remediation, you need a Next button on each content slide with the action ‘Return to Quiz’.


Let's Play and Dream

Intro

I want to try to keep the tradition to offer a special blog at the start of a new year. Like last year it is a game, hiding my greetings card. There is some nostalgia here as you will read.

On my personal blog you can still find the very first game I every created exclusively with Captivate: no Javascript, no use of widgets nor other applications. That was almost a decade ago. Since that  game used Captivate 5 , it took me quite a number of hours to get a satisfactory result. If you still have a browser with Flash Player plugin enabled, you can even watch the embedded game in this post:

http://blog.lilybiri.com/concentration-game-created-exclusively-with-c

With version 11.5, all interactive learning interactions were taken out (lack of use), including the games. You will recognize the former ‘Memory game’ in this game which I offer as an interactive Greetings card for 2021. Last year I also offered a game for the Chinese New Year.

Using version 11.5,  this version took me only about 20% of the time I spent in 2011 for the original version. This game uses only one shared action with 3 parameters, one advanced action for reset (and another one to restart the game). It is also much more flexible than the original game. Creating another game with more or less pairs will be a breeze due to the shared action. Finding or creating the images will take lot longer than adding the actions. It is possible to create 'pairs' that are not identical images: for language learning you can pair an image with a word (and maybe even audio), you could pair words in different languages, acronyms with their description etc...

Personally I would have used CpExtra to reduce the statement lines in the Advanced actions, because that wonderful widget allows to Assign, Show, Hide, Disable multiple objects in one statement. However, for the sake of consistency I have created the advanced actions  in the default way.

Have fun in 2021!

Game

As usual, I provide both a link to a rescalable version, and an embedded one with a fixed resolution.



Invite

I want to organize a webinar about this topic:

Remodeling Advanced actions to flexible Shared actions

This would be for developers with some experience about variables and  Advanced actions. If you are interested, please add a comment. From exploring Shared actions I learned to use a different mindset and could offer practical tips. You can even send me an advanced action you estimate to be appropriate to convert to a shared action.


Embed Software Simulations (Knockout slide)

Intro

Over 10 years ago I posted a blog 'Create/Use a Knockout Master slide'. At that moment SWF was the only way to publish a Captivate project, and in versions 5 and 5.5 Themes were not ‘grown up’ yet to their present power. Meanwhile I have pointed many users to that old article, and many claimed it was still useful. However time to clarify the slight differences and offer updated tips., Of course I will use a HTML example. 

Example Tutorial: 'Shared actions as Template'

This is a Captivate tutorial explaining how you can use a Shared action to create variables and as template for advanced actions. There are two versions. Here is a screenshot showing the difference in sim slides between version 1 (Full-size) and 2 (Embedded)

Version 1: Default software simulation

Personally I never use a software simulation in Demo mode, because it is better replaced by a Video Demo for its quality and advanced editor. I created a Training simulation, meant to learn about this Captivate topic. The UI of Captivate is rather complicated, hence my choice of a resolution 1600x900px. The ratio is important, here the common 16:9. In the limited space here, I don't want to embed the simulation because that would be almost useless. I published it as a HTML rescalable project. You can watch it using this link:

Full-size tutorial

In this first version, instructions are given using Audio. The captured Backgrounds (see Library) are filling the slides. Although this tutorial is rescalable, you will realize that using this on the limited space of a smartphone with a phone browser is not appropriate. It may be used on tablets (no incompaté:ible features), but the preferred devices are laptop/desktop. 

Version 2: Embedded in a content slide

I used the workflow explained below to create a second version, where the software sim slides are rescaled and embedded in content slides (1280x720px). On those slides there is space for a logo and more. The narration was replaced by text instrutions on the same slide as the software sim. Published project is also rescalable HTML. Even a tablet will probably be impractial in this version. Use this link:

Embedded tutorial


Setup for Embedded sim slides

For this example the simulation slides need to be embedded in a project  with a resolution of 1280×720 pixels. The captured slides were created with a resolution of 1600x900pixels, which is larger than the final resolution.  

To embed the sim slides, they need to be rescaled. If the original simulation slides have the correct resolution ready for embedding, you can skip Step 0.

Step 0 in Captivate (only if captured resolution is not correct)

Rescaling the software simulation to 2/3, which leads to a resolution of 1066x600px. You choose the resolution needed for your project, but keep 'Maintain Aspect Ratio' and 'Rescale all objects'.  Those are the default settings.

Step 1 (in Photoshop or other app) – create the Knockout image

In Photoshop I created images on two layers: the first one (FullTexture' will be used for normal content slides, the second one is the 'Knockout' image which has a transparent part.  Size of the file is same as the end resolution (1280×720). I used one of the provided textures in Photoshop as Fill. In the second layer I deleted a rectangle of 1066x600px to create a ‘knockout’ part in which the sim slides would fit. You see the size of the margins (with texture) in the screenshot: to the left – a vertical bar with a width of 200pixels, to the right one with a width of 14px; at the top another with a height of 90 pixels and a the bottom a bar with a height of 30 pixels. 

You can import the Photoshop file, and will have both layers as PNG images. See 'Roundtripping with Photoshop'.
You can use another graphics application if you cannot use Photoshop. You could also create a freeform filled shape in Captivate, start with the hexagon, which has 6 points.

Step 2 (in Captivate) 

Some maths to start with:
  1. calculate the difference between the widths of the vertical bars:     200 – 14 = 186 pixels
  2. new width project will be 1066 + 186 = 1252 pixels
  3. calculate the difference between the heights of the horizontal bars:   90 – 30 = 60 pixels
  4. new height project will be 600+ 60 = 660 pixels
Rescale the project using these settings:
  • deselect ‘Maintain aspect ratio’ and introduce the new dimensions
  • under ‘New Size is Larger’, select ‘Keep project the same size and position project Bottom Right; I choose this because the bottom bar and the right bar have the smallest dimension; you can choose another option if your smallest margins are elsewhere.

The result will look like this:


Step 3 (in Captivate)

 Rescale now to the final size, for this example to 1280x720 pixels, with settings:
  •  deselect ‘Maintain aspect ratio’ and introduce the final dimensions
  • under ‘New Size is Larger’, select ‘Keep project the same size and position project Center

After this rescale of the project it will look like this:

Step 4 (in Captivate): Master slides

 In the original blog post it was possible to create a master slide which is partially transparent, but that is no longer possible in the present versions with the Themes (new since Captivate 6).  Here is the master slide panel, where you see some master slides of the custom Theme 'Knockout' which I created:

I used the two imported PNGs from the Photoshop file to create:

  1. The Main master slide, where the FullTexture image is set as background image. You see the setup in the Properties panel:
  2. Based on that Main master slide, I created some content master slides. You see acouple of them in the master slide panel above (Title, Light). The Blank master slide always has to remain Blank, it is not using the Main master slide.
  3. The Knockout master slide. You cannot use the KnockoutTexture image as was done in the Main master slide, it needs to be a separate image as you can see in the Timeline and in the Properties panel. I added some objects and placeholders:

Step 5: Apply Knockout to simulation slides

Up till now the simulation slides used the Blank master slide. Change the master slide to the Knockout Master slide. It is very important that you do NOT check the option 'Master slide objects on top', because you'll lose the textured parts of the image.





Retake (quiz) Tweaks

Intro

In the recent weeks a lot of questions about tweaking Quizzes appeared. 

Themes, Timelines and Shared actions are amongst my favourite topics, and I needed a long sample project, for this blog about combining two tweaks for Retake Quiz:

  1. The quiz slides are not all in sequence, but distributed in the project in between content slides. How can the learner see only the quiz slides during Retake, not the content slides which are in between the quiz slides?
  2. On the score slide on failure, how to offer the learner the choice between Retaking only the quiz, or retake the full course including all content slides?

Sample Project

This project has 3 sequences of quiz slides in between content slides. Question slides have one attempt, on Quiz level you have 6 attempts. On the score slide you have the possibility to Retake quiz, or to choose to retake the course. When passed or after the last attempt on quiz level, you have the Review functionality, using the customized Review message described in an other article Customized Review Message.

In this example project design elements (not interactions) from the Quick Start Project “Wellbeing” have been used. You can watch the embedded version below or use this link to watch a scalable one.


The project was created with:
  • 5 advanced actions
  • 6 shared actions, replacing 45 duplicate advanced actions

In this post I will only explain the actions for the two Retake Tweaks, not the actions for the multiple Forced view cocntent slides.

Workflow

Situations and events

In this course 3 different situations occur for the quiz:
  1. First view: the tutorial will be followed as designed. It is not a linear course, because the slide with the 3 topics is a sort of dashboard, from which branching occurs. Each branch ends with a question slide. The return to the dashboard slide is configured using the Success and Last Attempt action of that last quiz slide.
  2. Not first view with Retake Course: is a Retake but including all content and quiz slides. All quiz slides, and the dashboard (Topics) slide need to be reset to their initial state. Difference with 1: the number of attempts on quiz level.
  3. Not first view with Retake Quiz (only): this is the default Retake situation, but needs actions to skip the content slides situations in between quiz slides.

This screenshot of the Advanced Interaction panel shows the relevant interactions and events needed to cope with those 3 situations; the relevant actions are marked with a colored highlight box:

There is one special Advanced action, invisible in this panel: On Enter event for the first question slide has an advanced action FirstQuestion. On Enter actions for question slides do not show up in this panel, because the Success column is linked with the Success action of the question slide.

Variables

There are several reusable variables (v_1, v_2…. and v_counter) needed for the multiple Forced View content slides, and the system variable (cpInReviewMode) for the custom Review message. For the Retake tweak workflow these variables are used:

  • v_course: has a default value of 0. That value is valid for situations 1 and 2, where content slides need not to be skipped. The variable will be toggled to 1 for situation 3, where content slides need to be skipped.
  • cpQuizInoPassFail and cpQuizInfoAttempts: both quizzing system variables
  • v_themev_timelinev_shared  are used to track the completion of the three topics, on the Topcis slide (3). I mention them because they will appear in the advanced action EnterTopics.

Actions

EnterTopics (Advanced action) triggered On Enter for slide ‘Topics’

This action checks the values of the variables associated with completion of the three chapters. Only when all have been visited, the learner will be navigated to the score slide. That score slide shows the results of the complete quiz.

There was no possibility to use the variables (v_1, ….v_6) on this slide. Since the action is only used once, it made no sense to use a shared action neither. For situation 2, this Topics slide needs to be reset. Reset is happening with the RetakeAct action (see further).

FirstQuestion (Advanced Action) triggered by On Enter  First question slide

Only the second decision (RetakeCourse) is relevan for the Retake tweak, first decision is for the custom Review message. That second decision is required for Situation 2. Since the Retake button is used in that situation, by default the learner will be sent to this slide, the first question slide. But in Situation 2 the learner wants to see the full course. For that reason learner is redirected from the first question slide to the Topics slide.

EndQuestion (Shared action) for Success and Last Attempt of last question in each sequence

Each decision corresponds with a situation (same sequence as situations).

This action skips the content slides in Situation 3 – ‘Decision SecondNormal’. In that situation the last question will be followed by the first question in the next sequence of questions. The two other decisions - situation 1 and 2 - navigate to the Topics slide.

There is one exception: the last question slide of the last sequence needs to navigate to the score slide. I could have used the same shared action and give the second parameter the value of the score slide. However due to my experience with low bandwidth situations, it is better to use Continue for the Success/Last Attempt actions on question slides. For that reason, I used the shared action as template to create one Advanced Action:

EnterScore (Advanced Action) On Enter for score slide

As explained under Variables, the user variable v_course is tracking whether a normal Retake will be done, or a full course Retake. Of course the button to Retake full course is not needed when the quiz is passed. If the learner failed, the value of v_course is toggled to 1. That stands for a normal Retake (no content slides). The start value was 0, which meant that all slides were viewed the first time. That value will be reset to 0 by the RestartAct.

RestartAct (Advanced Action) for Success Event custom button (Bt_Restart)

If the learner fails, Bt_Restart will appear on the score slide. It is a shape button, having the same look (style) as the Quiz buttons. It will trigger this action:

It is a standard action, inviting the learner to click the Restart button.  At the same time it will reset the variables for the course situation (v_course) and for the items on the Topics slide, both variables and states. That slide was the only ‘forced’ slide where the ‘Retain State on Slide Revisit’ was checked, hence the need to reset the states.

The state change for the button is to pop up the explanation text, inviting to click the Retake button. As usual I did drag the Review button under the Retake button. Review button will only appear after the Quiz is Passed or all attempts on Quiz level are exhausted.

Possible extensions

It would have been possible to restrict the Force View on the content slides to the first view. That workflow is described in these two posts presenting yet another Shared action:

Force First View

Advanced to Shared action

Of course Narration could have been added as well. And that same shared action could also improve the second view of a content slide by skipping that narration with the same micro-navigation.


Roundtripping with Adobe Photoshop in 2020

Meant for?

This blog is not meant for long-time users of Photoshop (and Captivate)!  I am addressing Captivate developers who are collaborating with graphics designers using Photoshop. Roundtripping with Photoshop is a long existing feature since and (at least to me) one of the best collaborations with CC applications.  I have been using and teaching Photoshop since decades and Captivate since 2005.

Collaboration ibecomes easier with good understanding. This blog aims at improving understanding between the Captivate developer and her/his team mate - Photoshop expert.  You'll start with typical Photoshop terminology, followedby the two import workflows to import source Photoshop files into . Watching some typical examples can help you to make suggestions to your PS expert. 

Goal:  make your Captivate use of their creative work more agreeable, and save time.

Photoshop terminology

Layers

As  Captivate developer you are used to layer, as they appear in the Timeline panel (doubles as Layers panel).  You probably use those layers for selection or for editing the stacking order (z-order) . You may also have locked layers and/or made them invisible on the stage for easy editing if you work with very crowded slides. Each layer in a cptx file can have only one object (in a cpvc-project it is bit different). Have a look at this screenshot of a Layers panel in Photoshop

A layer in Photoshop is always static (not linked to a timeline) but can have multiple objects on a layer (not possible in Captivate cptx files, where each layer is an object timeline as well). They have some added functionality compared with Captivate likes:

  • Mask on a layer can limit a region for applying editing or keeping it from editing.
  • The opacity of a layer can be changed (or part of it if masked).
  • Photoshop can have special type of layers interacting with other layers (you’ll see an example below, where Adjustment layers are used).
  • The way pixels on layers interact can be changed by blending modes. I will not expand on that powerful possibility.

Similar to Captivate, a layer can be locked and made invisible. In the screenshot layer ‘Failure3Trans is visible. Layers Failure1 and Failure2 are locked.

The active layer – like in Captivate – is the one you are busy editing. Grouping of layers is also possible. In the screenshot you see two groups of layers and one individual layer at the bottom.

Flattening

The default meaning in Photoshop is that all layers will be merged into one image (layer).

However in the Captivate dialog box for importing a source Photoshop file (see below) the meaning is slightly different. Only the ‘checked’ layers will be imported as one merged image. You will see a typical example in the last section.

Layer comps

A Photoshop document can have a multitude of layers of all kinds. Not all of them are content layers as mentioned before. This can make the decision on which layers to import for a certain goal in Captivate very difficult. For an easier, workflow the Photoshop expert can define ‘layer comps’. See them as a filter: when you choose a comp, some layers will be made visible and checked off, while the other layers remain invisible. Using a comp you’ll import exactly the right layers just by choosing a ‘comp’ name. You will see examples in the third section of this blog. Very useful!

Import Photoshop Source Document

Default way to import graphic assets is by using the Media button on the Big Button Bar. That is possible both for  (bitmap) Image and SVG. You will not find an option under that button to import a PSD-file (PSD is the extension of a native Photoshop file).  You need to use two possible workflows:

1. File, Import, Photoshop file (Shift-Alt-P)

Using this method will import both to the slide and the Project Library. Similar to importing images with Media button, on the stage it will be centered automatically both vertically and horizontally. In the Library you will see a new folder under the root. The folder has the same name as the Photoshop file, and includes what is imported.

In the screenshot you see the Library with 3 imported Photoshop files: FailureSuccess – the file for which the layer panel was shown in the previous screenshot; CompExampleCP which will be shown as example for use of comps; TemplateFlatten which you’ll discover as an example for flattening and non-flattening in the example section.

2. Import button in Library

Using this workflow only export to the library, not to the stage. In the screenshot the Import button is indicated with a red rounded rectangle.

The result for the Library is the same as with the first workflow. New folders will be created. The level below the folders are all PNG images. You can drag those PNG-images to any slide and location.

Which of the two workflows is better, depends on the situation. Have a look at the example section, where I will indicate which workflow may be better for each example. Photoshop files can be designed for multiple purposes to be used in Captivate.

Examples

1. Photoshop file as ‘Library’

The first screenshot (Terminology, Layersà with the Layers panel of ‘SuccessFailure’ is a typical example of what I mean by ‘Library’. Several images, each on their layer, are in one Photoshop file. In this example they have the same style. The Captivate developer can choose which images she/he likes best for the active project. Some of the images have a version with transparent, and another with white background (multiple background are possible of course).

Another example which I saw several times with clients: Photoshop was used as layout tool, each of the slides were on a layer in Photoshop. That may be considered also as a PSD file of this ‘Library’ type. When you open the Import Dialog box, with one of the two workflows, it will look like the screenshot to the right:

  • There are no comps, you leave it to ‘Simple’ (blue marker)
  • There is only one option in the Dropdown list:’ Last Document state’. It means the state when the Photoshop document was closed in Photoshop.
  • I recommend to check the option to scale (green), unless you have the images created exactly at the wanted size for use in Captivate (which is the best practice).
  • You will see all the layers of the Photoshop document. You can check the layers you need to import.
  • If you have multiple layers selected, you probably will not want them to merge to one image, since the images are choices, not part of a global image (red rectangle: Layers is the default setting).
  • About the workflow: if you want more than one layer Workflow 2 (Import button) is recommended here. If you choose Workflow 1 (file menu) all layers will be converted to PNG images AND inserted all in the center of the slide. Not what you want. Use workflow 1 only when you import one layer.

2. Flattening or not?

The screenshot shows the Layers panel (Photoshop) of the file ‘TemplateFlatten” which you also could see in the Library screenshot.

This file has 3 image layers which were extracted from 1 bitmap image. Each of them is exactly on the location as in the original bitmap image. I added a ‘template’ layer which can eventually be imported and used to restore the original combined image. But in most cases that will not be necessary.

In this case I recommend Workflow 1, whether you want to import the individual layers as PNGs (Layers in the Import dialog box) or the combined image by checking the option ‘Flattened’.

Reason: when the image are imported to the stage, they will in the correct (relative) location. When you import them only to the Library, you’ll need to use the Template to position the individual PNGs in the correct location.

Look back at the Library panel (Captivate) in the section ‘Import’: the four layers were imported as layers, and in a second process the flattened image was imported as well. That flattened image will be posted automatically in the correct library folder, and gets a generic name (FlatImage1) which you can edit of course.

3 Use of Comps

In the second example I used the same image as here for the comps example. In that example 2, each of the images has a text on the head scarf. The color of the images is gold. I wanted to make this file more flexible in two ways:

  • To have another ‘hue’ for the images, so that it better fits with a project color scheme.
  • To be used with the Texts in multiple languages.

That has led to a lot more layers, since text had to be on a separate layer (make it also editable), and to change the hue I used Adjustment layers which are a non-destructive way to change the ‘look’ of the layers below. In the screenshot below you see text layers in two languages (English and Dutch) and 3 adjustment layers on top. To keep it manageable for this blog, I kept only the global image, not the individual ones.  Next to the layers panel you see the Layer Comps panel. Each of those comps defines a situation. Presently ‘DutchSepia’ is active and reflected in the Layers panel: the visible layers (eye icon) are needed for this look, with Dutch text on the scarfs and a Sepia adjustment layers.


Captivate makes it really easy to import the wanted ‘comp’. Kudos to the team! In most instances you will want to import one comp, and it is possible with two different setups of the Import Dialog box.

In the left screenshot, next to ‘Photoshop Layer Comps’ the option ‘ Multiple’ is checked. If the comps were labeled well, you can easily select the wanted comp to import. It will be imported always as Flattened. The options for ‘Import as:’ are dimmed.

The result of comps import is visible in the Project Library screenshot (Import section). You see that I repeated the import process 4 times, because 4 comps are available, each being a merged image from the layers visible in that comp filter.

Second possibility is to keep the Single radiobutton checked next to ‘Photoshop Layer comps’. Have a look at the screenshot to the right which shows that situation.

Open the dropdown list under ‘Last Document State’ and you will see all the available comps.

Advantage of this second workflow is that you can see which Photoshop layers are selected for import. You could eventually edit those selections, but be careful. You can import layers in this case as well, but I would not recommend that if adjustment layers are used. They cannot be imported into Captivate, only the real images.

Since you will mostly import only one comp the choice for the Import workflow is free, whether with File, Import or with the Import button in the Library.

Updating

Not mentioned so far, because you’ll find this in all blogs and video about Photoshop roundtripping.  The ‘green’ checkmark next to the Photoshop folder, which indicates that the original PSD-file is in synch with Captivate. If your Photoshop expert updates that file in any way: adding layers, editing content on one or more layers, correcting typos in the text layers this will be reflected in Captivate by a color change in that round checkmark.  Clicking the red checkmark will allow you to update and have the changes automatically be imported and applied in Captivate.


Images in a Matching question?

Intro

Not so long ago I posted a blog about replacing textual answers in a Multiple Choice Question by images. That worked quite well, by rearranging the embedded objects on the quizzing master slide, and on the quiz slides themselves.

Last week a similar question appeared here in the portal, about using Images in Matching questions. I posted an answer without having tested it out, because Matching questions are rather different. Today I found some time to double-check my answer, and want to post about the possible problems. You’ll get – as usual – an example project as result of the exploration.

Example

This published project uses the packaged ‘City Vibes’ theme (with some editing of course). You will see a Quiz with three Matching questions:
  1. Default Matching Type question: images are in the first column.
  2. Default Matching Type question: images are in the second column.
  3. Drag&Drop custom question slide as alternative.

There is one attempt on question level, and 3 attempts on quiz level. Review Quiz is possible after passing the quiz or having exhausted the attempts. You can use a scalable version using this link, or watch the embedded version below:



Workflow for Matching Type with Images

Similar to the MCQ workflow when using images, part can be done on the Quizzing master slide, part on the quiz slides themselves.

Editing Master slide

You need to make both column areas bigger, which means moving and reducing the space for other objects.  I also needed to create a duplicate Master slide for the second quiz slide, which needed a wider second column, whereas the first master slide has a wider first column. To emphasize the size of the two column areas I have added a dashed stroke.


Editing Quiz slide

It is not possible to re-arrange the individual answer size on the master slide, that has to be done on the quiz slides. Rearranging the answers in the first or the second column can be seen in these screenshots.  The first master slide (small second column) was applied correctly on a quiz slide, for the second one (small first column) I had to correct the size again on the quiz slides. This may be a bug.

Problems – limitations

For Matching type slides it is impossible to take out the numbering, which was possible for a MCQ slide.

You should not activate the Shuffle option, because that will not work if images are present.

Changing the vertical alignment for the numbering leads to problems. Often the numbering just gets lost.

As you may have experienced, it is not always easy to drag the item to the correct one in the second column, especially for the second slide.

Since the added images are custom objects, they are below the embedded objects on the quiz slides (z-order). That makes exact moving difficult, and editing the colors of the SVGs (second slide) as well. Some tips:

  • Do not try to select the custom objects on the stage, select them in the Timeline.
  • To resize a custom object, do not try to use the handles but use the Options tab of the object.
  • To move a custom object use the shortcut keys (with arrows). SHIFT-arrow moves 10px, CTRL-arrow 16px
  • To edit the colors of the SVGs move them to the scratch area. It will be very difficult to double-click while they are on stage. Of course you can use bitmap images.


Editing Ready-to-go slides (Quick Start Projects) - part 2: Interactions

Intro

Many users wanting to take advantage of the Ready-to-go slides available through the Assets panel in 11.5, are blocked when trying to customize those slides. In a previous article I offered a step-by-step workflow to find texts or images you want to replace by your text or images. That was not so hard, and you learned to use several panels (Timeline, Master Slide, Object States, Library).

For Interactions the situation is more complicated. You will not find a complete 'How-to' in this blog. Some interactions are rather easy to understand and customize, other interactions however need an in-depth knowledge of Advanced actions and variables. Those slides never use Shared actions, which would be easily found in the Project Library. This blog will try to help you identify the components (actions) of the interactions, how to 'read' them and tips for customizing. The workflow will be explained using a Knowledge Check slide from the project 'Alliance'. The interaction can be told to be of intermediate level. Understanding this workflow will allow you to customize easy and intermediate level interactions. For more complicated interactions this may not be sufficient. Maybe find help from someone experienced in Advanced actions.

Step 1: Find Interaction components

On the slide with the Interaction to identify, open the Advanced Interaction panel from the Project menu or with the shortcut key F9. The slide will be selected in that panel and with the default setup you will see all the actions in that slide, and the events to which they are attached. Here is an example:
The selected slide is slide 26, labeled Knowledge Check in the Quick Start Project 'Alliance'. You see in the table that the On Enter slide event has no action attached, the field 'On Success' on the slide line mentions 'No Action'. This means that the interaction is only created using Success events of interactive objects, which you can also find in this panel.

The level below slide level shows all interactive objects and their Success actions (when clicked) in the 'On Success' column. In this case 5 Smartshapes have been defined with the option 'Use as button' and they all trigger an Advanced action. From the labeling of the objects and the actions you can suspect that 4 of those advanced actions are similar (on shapes KC1 - KC4) and one is unique (on the unlabeled Smartshape). When you select one of the lines associated with an interactive object, the object will be selected on the slide. 

Step 2: "Read" actions (components of interaction)

Let us continue with the same slide from the Alliance project. Select the object KC_1. Its Properties panel shows up, switch to the Actions tab. Open the Advanced action 'KnowledgeCheck_Select1' by clicking the Browser icon. It shows a list with 5 lines, which I will label as 'commands':

The first command line 'Assign.... true': gives a value 'true' to a user variable 'sales_knowledgeCheck_correct'. The name of this variable indicates that it needs to be true for a correct answer, 'false' for a wrong answer. You can check this by reading one of the actions on the three other objects (KC_2...KC_4), where you will read that the given value is 'false'. 

The other command lines are used to change states for the objects, to indicate which object has been selected (active). You can find more explanations about multi-state objects in the first part which I mentioned in the intro.

Open now the unique action 'KnowledgeCheck', linked to the unnamed Smartshape_337. In the Timeline you can see that it is the Submit shape button.  In the Advanced Actions dialog box you see that this is 'conditional' (marked in red). In that case "reading' will be easier if you switch to the Preview window, which you do with the arrow button top right, which I marked with a green box:

In the Preview window you see that the state of two multistate objects will be changed depending on the value of the user variable sales_knowledgeCheck_correct. Identifying those multistate objects allow you to edit the states as explained in the first blog.

Step 3: Customizing examples/tips

In the example the first answer is deemed to be correct.  You can move the shape buttons KC1-KC4 around, to put the correct answer in another location. No problem, the interaction will continue to work as expected.

Less answers

You can safely delete one of the wrong answers in this particular use case. That may not be the case for all interactions. Here however the final action (Submit button) is in no way checking or taking into account the number of answers. You only need at least one correct and one wrong answers.

More answers

If you want an extra answer, you'll have to decrease the size of the answer shapes KC1-KC4. For the 5th answer you can duplicate one of the answers with the right-click menu or the shortcut key CTRL-D (Cmnd-D on Mac). Use the Align options (or toolbar) in the right-click menu to put everything in place. The name of the duplicate answer will probably start with KC_ as well, but not necessarily be 'KC_5'. You don't need to edit the name but I did so (Properties panel) just to clarify. That duplicate answer will have the same states as the source answer. You can check using the Object State panel.

It is however necessary:

  1. To edit the existing action for the four older answers, because the state change for the new answer needs to be added.
  2. To create and edit a duplicate advanced action for this new answer.

Editing actions KnowledgeCheck_Select1....

Open one of those actions using the Browser icon in the Actions tab (see Step 2 for a screenshot).

The first command line is fine. The Change State lines set the state for the selected answer to Active, the other answers get state Normal. For all those actions a sixth command is necessary to set the state of the new answer to Normal. Steps for KnowledgeCheck_Select1 are indicated in the screenshot below and you'll find the numbers in the explanation:

  1. Select the last command line
  2. Use the Copy button
  3. Move to the next empty command line
  4. Use the Paste button
  5. Double-click the empty third field and type KC: only the items having KC in their name will appear. Remember: I named the new answer 'KC_5'
  6. Choose 'KC_5'
  7. Click the down arrow in the next field.
  8. Choose the state 'Normal'.
  9. Click the button 'Update action' at the bottom and the action is complete now, including the 5th answer.
  10. To save time editing the three remaining actions, use the Copy button again on the last command line which sets the state to Normal for the last answer KC_5..

Switch to the action KnowledgeCheck_Select2 using the top right dropdown list:

Go immediately to the first empty command line and use Paste (step 4), and save the action (step 9)
Repeat step 10 and do the same for KnowledgeCheck_Select3 and KnowledgeCheck_Select4.
Do not close the Advanced Actions dialog box, you still need a fifth action.

Creation of KnowledgeCheck_Select5

The new action will be created as a duplicate of KnowledgeCheck_Select4. Select that action in the Advanced actions dialog box, follow the steps in the screenshot below

  1. Duplicate the action
  2. Edit the name to KnowledgeCheck_Select5
  3. Set the state of KC_4 to Normal instead of Active
  4. Set the state of KC_5 to Active instead of Normal
  5. Save the action and close the dialog box.

You still need to attach this new action to the answer KC_5 and you are ready for testing:

Tip: if you want to explore the Advanced Actions dialog box, you can read this blog.

More?

This is only one example of customizing a Ready-to-go slide. Some interactions are more complicated in those projects, some are easier. If you are in for a challenge, look for the Flipcard interactions, Glossary interaction or some Click/Reveal interactions. 

Do not hesitate to post questions, comments if you are stuck. If possible I will try to help.

Editing Ready-to-go slides (Quick Start Projects) - part 1: Text and Images

Intro

The Quick Start Projects (QSP) available under the Assets button in Captivate 11.5 are popular. It is understandable that new (and other) users look for inspiration and to save some time by using existing design layouts and interactions.

In the past I already posted some articles with tips about inserting Slides from those projects in your project. To customize those slides you often want to edit texts and replace images. If you are new to Captivate, finding an image can be frustrating. You expect to be able to select an image by clicking it on the stage, but that is not always the case. This article will try to help you in your search. Follow the steps in sequence. Depending on the situation you will not need all steps. Meanwhile you may discover some ‘tools’ as well.

Text mostly is not that hard to find, although there are some exceptions which will be mentioned. All steps here, except when indicated, are valid both for non-responsive (blank) and responsive projects. Example screenshots are taken from the available Quick Start Projects.

If you find this helpful, will write another article about customizing interactions. That will be not as easy, and may need more learning about tools.

Steps

Step 1: Timeline panel

In the newbie UI the timeline panel is collapsed at the bottom, and you see only its title bar. Open the Timeline panel by clicking the Title bar. This is your primary tool. You may ignore that this panel can also be used to select objects like images and text containers instead of clicking them on the stage. Especially when you have a lot of objects, which overlap, this may be an easier for selection. Selected objects have a different color (darker blue) than unselected objects.

If you can select the image on the stage or on the Timeline panel, and you want only to replace that particular image, it is easy. Look in its Properties panel, where you’ll see the name of the image. Click that name and point to the new image. I would recommend to have it imported to the Library (see further), but you can also find it on your system. Once it is imported, it will automatically appear in the Project Library.

Screenshot is for the slide ’70/30 Layout with image horizontally’ from the QSP ‘Alliance’.

Tips:

  • Best practice is to have an image with exactly the same size in px as the original image. Click the button Edit image, to see the size of the image.
  • If you have several slides where you want to replace this same image, it is better to find the image in the Library. Use ‘Find in Library’ from the right-click menu on the image. Edit the image in a graphics application, where you can replace it. Keep the original name and all instances of that image will be replaced in your project.

Extra

I didn’t encounter this other possibility yet on a Ready-to-go slide but have not checked all of them. It is possible to have an image as background on a slide. In that case it will be visible on the state, but not on the Timeline. You can only see that image as shown in this screenshot:

You see that a Custom background is used. It is an Image, and under ‘Slide Color’ you see a preview of the image. Clicking the small triangle at the bottom allows you to choose another image.

Step 2: Image on Master slide

If you cannot select the image on the stage, nor in the Timeline it may be on the used Master slide.

Click the Master slide button, and the Filmstrip will be replaced by the Master Slide panel. The master slide on which your slide is based will automatically be selected. It is possible that need to scroll to see that selection, it is a thick blue border.

Keep the Timeline panel, it is also used by master slides. Try to select the image either on the stage or in the Timeline. If you are able to do so, you can replace that image the same way as on a slide. All slides based on this master slide will be updated automatically and show the new image.

Screenshot is for the slide ‘Image 1’ from the QSP ‘Wellbeing’.

Extra:

Similar to slides (and more used) an image can be used as Custom background in a master slide.


For a Fluid Boxes project it is also possible that a Fluid box is filled with an image. Same comment as with the background for master slide. I have not detected this use of images in the QSP-slides which I have screened.

Step 3: Multistate objects

No luck so far, no images on timeline of slide nor master slide? You are able to view that image when previewing the course, but it is not visible in the editing environment on the stage? In that case the mysterious image is probably in a state of a Multistate object. Same can be possible for text, which appears when previewing but is invisible on the stage when editing.

Find the multi-state object for hidden images?

Preview the slide (in browsers) and try out the interaction, mostly by clicking buttons or arrows. Try to remember one of the images which you want to replace.

When back in the editing environment, you probably will have an image on the stage. Use the right-click menu to ‘Find in Library’. The developers of the QSPs will have labeled the images in a consistent way. Try to find the image by scrolling in the neighbourhood of the selected image.

To see if it is used in a multistate object, click the Usage button in the Library. If this confirms that the image is on the same slide, you have found the multistate object.

Screenshot: this is the slide ‘Slideshow Layout’ from the QSP ‘Business’. The image which shows on the stage is labeled ‘photo_1’.  Near that image I found the one needing to be switched ‘photo_4’ and it is confirmed that this image is also used on slide 2., in state4.

Open the Object State panel by clicking the State view button in the Properties panel for the Multistate object.

In the Object State panel, find state4.  You can now follow the same workflow to exchange for another image as described on top for the very first step:

When you are finished editing states, you can return to more editing for the slide after clicking the Exit State button on top (bit far away IMO).

To find a hidden text, it is not so easy because texts are not in the Library. You need to preview. If the hidden text appears after having clicked some interactive object (button, arrow) try to remember its location and size. In that location you may have another text or image, but it can also be an invisible shape. In editing environment try clicking in the remembered location. If you see a selection rectangle with handles, try its State view button.

Typical slides with multistate objects are the Flipcard slides and the Accordion slides.  If you cannot find a text… ask here or in the Adobe forums. I have helped identifying multistate objects for multiple users.

Replay/Reset slide 2 (Captivate tutorial)

Intro

Recently I published a blog about what seems to be 'hot' topic: how to replay a slide, how to reset a slide. That blog didn't include an example file.

When coaching a training I often use Captivate tutorials, more than videos. This particular topic needs such an interactive approach, to allow to experiment, to get a 'feeling' of the difference between Replay and Reset (with or without an On Enter action). For learners I provide the cptx-file. Here I will only share the HTML5 published output. 

You will see that I borrowed design elements from the Quick Start Project 'Safety'. The interactions were created from scratch.

Content and Tools

After a short rehearsal of terminology and the step-by-step workflows you'll be able to see 4 different examples:

  • Slide 5  which is only based on the Timeline: staggered objects and effects. 
    The info button will show you the Timeline and a relevant part of the Advanced Interaction panel
    This slide is followed by a T/F quiz slide to check your observations.
  • Slide 7: click/reveal slide, using multistate objects. The info button shows you the same information as for slide 5
    This slide is followed by a MCQ slide with multiple correct answers, to check what you learned.
    Both quiz slides are Knowledge Check slides. If you want to cheat you can go back to the previous slide. Navigation by TOC is also possible. The TOC is in overlay mode.
  • Slide 9 : flipcard slide (with thanks to the QSP Alliance). Rather simple but worth seeing the difference between Replay and Reset.
  • Slide 10: Drag&Drop slide set up as Knowledge Check slide.

You may detect several techniques like Forced view, which need using some user variables. Quiz slides do not use the default two-step Submit process, but show a Continue button when the Submit button has been clicked. 


Tutorial

You can watch the embedded version, or use this link to play a scalable version. I recommend to use the link. The embedded version seems to have long loading times. 



Animations?

You may have missed animations in the tutorial. There is a reason. While it used to be possible to Reset an animation, that feature is broken in the version 11.5.1. At least for the animated GIF which I created. I have already been searching since a couple of weeks for a workaround without success. I will create an OAM as well, to check if has the same issues. Too bad, it was a fun animation:

Penalty and Partial scoring in Quizzes - Q&A

Why?

This is an basic article because often questions about this specific feature appear on the social media. This week I had another one in this thread. The question was specific for Multiple Choice questions with multiple correct answers. It is a very basic post, not meant for advanced Quizzing users.

Terminology

Penalty

A penalty is a negative score linked to a question (or an individual answer for a MCQ, see below). It is essentially meant to avoid ‘guessing’.  Think about a T/F question where a learner always has 50% chance to choose the correct answer, without proving real understanding. In Captivate you can add a Penalty for each type of question in the Quiz Properties panel. You add it as a ‘positive’ number.  See this screenshot:

The Penalty will appear in the Advanced Interaction panel, column Negative points:

You can have a hands on experience with penalty, when playing with this short quiz (more explanation later on), has only MCQ type of question. The previous screenshot of the Advanced Interaction panel was for this example file. Either you watch this embedded version (fixed resolution) or you use this link to open a scalable version:



For this example I have used design elements from the most recent Quick Start Project ‘Business’.

Partial Scoring

Feature is only available for Multiple Choice Questions with one or multiple answers.  

For all other types of questions a learner gets the score  for a question only when everything is correct.  That can be very frustrating for learners if they just missed something.  That is certainly the case for a MCQ with multiple correct answers, but also for a Fill-in-the-Blank with multiple blanks, or a hotspots question with multiple hotspots. However those other types have no inbuilt  partial scoring.

MCQ with Multiple Correct Answers

To set up partial scores, you need to activate the option ‘Partial score’ and in this case the option ‘Multiple answers’ is of course also needed. If you do not specify the exact score for each answer, both score and eventually penalty will be equally distributed. But it is much better to identify the score and penalty, because each answer can have a different weight: some are more easy to detect than others. 

For that reason you need to:

  • select each answer
  • open its Properties panel
  • go to the Options tab
  • enter the ‘points’
  • for wrong answers you enter ‘negative’ points,

After entering individual score/penalty the score and the penalty on the Quiz Properties will look ‘dimmed’, but they are calculated as sums from the individual positive and negative scores of the answers. I prefer the expert UI because I can have both Properties and Quiz Properties next to each other, or at least both visible at the same time. Here an example for one correct answer, 6 points out of the total score of 15 points, because the two other correct answers have a score of 5 and 4points:

In this screenshot you see the ‘penalty’ or negative score for one of the wrong answers:

This wrong answer has a score of -4p, whereas the second wrong answer is estimated at -3p, which leads to a total penalty of 7points.

MCQ with One Correct Answer

It may be less logical for a MCQ with ONE correct answer, isn’t it?  However the term ‘partial score’ is also valid for ‘partial penalty’ as you could see above.  You may have several wrong answers, and some may considered to need a bigger penalty than other wrong answers. This means really differentiating the penalty which is available for MCQ with one correct answer. The first question slide in the example file was set up that way. The correct answer was rewarded with 10 points, the wrong answers had 3 different penalty scores. Here is an example:

Something is wrong with the ‘total’ penalty in the Quizzing Properties however.  It has been calculated as explained above: sum of all the negative scores. But in this case, the learner can only  mark one of the wrong answers, that penalty of 10 points can never exist.

Possible Issues

LMS reporting

When using SCORM 1.2 the LMS may not accept a score below 0. Just a warning

Attempts on Question level

The reason for the example file was the thread I mentioned in the introduction. In the example file, the Quiz attempts are set to Infinite, but the attempts on question level are limited to:

  • Two attempts for the Single Choice question
  • Three attempts for the Multiple Choice questions

The second and third question are identical, but the second has no partial scoring, the third has partial scoring turned on.  Captivate will see a question with a partially correct answer as a ‘correct’ question, and include it in the system variable cpQuizInfoTotalCorrectAnswers. That has also its consequence for the attempts. If you give only one correct answer, the attempts will be considered to be exhausted, you’ll not have the possibility to add correct answers. Try it out: you will see that you can use the 3 attempts always on the second question (as long as you don’t have all the correct answers), but not on the third question. That is a problem!