Who is afraid of ... Shared Actions? Crash course Lesson 2 (video)

Preparation

In Lesson 1 you started from an existing project, which had created objects for the Slide show AND shared actions in the project Library. Topic of the lesson: workflow to attach the shared actions to a slide event (On Enter) and to buttons (Success event). Lesson ended with the proposal to create a personal project with two slides. First slide is a title slide with only a Start button (Go to Next slide). Second slide needs two multistate objects. Number of states is not important but has to be the same for both objects (you can have identical states if wished).  Two navigation buttons (Back and Forward) and a button to get back to the first slide and your homework is done.

For this video lesson you need:

  • The original project, which I provided in Lesson 1. If you lost it, here is another link (dropbox)
    SlideShow

  • Your project. If you are really lazy, you download my project as used in the video. Please, do not reuse the SVGs, they are created from a licensed Adobe Stock file. You can use them only for practice the video workflow.
    StartLesson2

Video

You will transfer the shared actions to your custom project, and reuse them.

After finishing the workflow, you can compare your result with 'Lesson2'


Who is afraid of... Shared Actions? Crash course - Lesson 1 (step-by-step)

Preparation

You will create the Slideshow from the Demo project. Please download this Start project (dropbox link) if you want to practice the workflow explained below.

SlideShowStart

Step-by-step

Step 1: explore project

1.1 TImeline and setup

Take a look look at the setup of the second slide. In the Timeline I grouped all design elements at the bottom. 

The 5 items on top of the group are:

  • ImContainer: a multistate object with 5 photos
  • TxContainer: a second multistate object, which has texts in the same sequence to explain the photos
  • SS_counter: smart shape with the text having the embedded variable v_counter
  • SB_Next: the Next button, a shape button
  • SB_Back: the Back button, shape button
  • SVB_Home: SVG used as button

1.2 Variables

Open the Variables dialog box, using Project, Variables.  You will see two variables: v_counter and v_max. The latter will store the amount of items in  your show. Their default values are not important, they will be set with the actions.  Just for clarification I set v_counter to start with 0 and v_max to 5 because the example has 5 photos. But they are not important.

1.3 Library

Open the Library panel, and find the subfolder ‘Shared Actions’. You detect 3 shared actions, and their Usage is stil at 0 for the moment: 

Step 2: ‘EnterSlideShow’ to Slide

Double-check in the Properties panel or on the stage that NO object is selected, that you are in the Slide Properties. 

2.2 Link the action to the On Enter event

There are two possible workflows:

  1. From the Library: drag the name of the shared action to the slide. You just have to be careful not to drag to an interactive object (the three buttons in this slide). It will automatically be linked to the On Enter event, never to the On Exit event. Moreover the Parameters dialog box (see 2.2) opens directly. This is my preferred workflow.
  2. From the Properties: go to the Actions tab, open the dropdown list next to ‘On Enter’, choose ‘Execute Shared Actions’ and choose the action ‘EnterSlideShow’

2.2 Define the Parameter(s)

If you used the Library approach, the dialog box ‘Shared Actions Parameters’ will be open. If you used the Properties  panel approach you need to click the {P} button next to the Action field. In this dialog box you’ll see both description of the action and of the parameters. Please give a value to all the parameters needed. You can use filtering (will post a video tutorial for a more complicated parameters set).

Step 3: actions for the buttons

The Home button has the simple action to return to the first slide. This will allow you to test the reset actions in the On Enter action of step 2. Before testing you still have to attach the shared actions to the two navigation buttons. Workflow is exactly the same for both.

3.1 Link the action to the Success event

You can use again two workflows, similar to step 2:

  1. From the Library: No need to select the button! Drag the name of the shared action to the button.. It will automatically be linked to the Success event of the button.  Of course, this is my preferred workflow, because the Parameters dialog box (3.2) will open immediately.  Saves a lot of clicks.
  2. From the Properties: select the button, go to the Actions tab, open the dropdown list next to ‘On Enter’, choose ‘Execute Shared Actions’ and choose the action ‘EnterSlideShow’

3.2 Define the Parameter(s)

Identical to 2.2. Parameters for both button actions are identical: the two containers. It doesn’t matter if you switch image with text container, sequence is not important.

Step 4: Test

Test and have fun. 

Lesson 2

In the second part of this crash course, you'll learn how to use the same shared actions in your projects. It is not harder than what you have achieved today. Keep on learning...
Prepare a custom project similar to the one you used today:
  • with two slides, start slide only navigates to second slide
  • second slide needs two multistate objects with the same amount of states
  • second slide needs two navigation buttons (back/next) and a home button (jumping to slide 1)



Who is afraid of... Shared Actions? Crash course Lesson 1 (video)

Preparation

You have read the introduction and watched the Demo project. This lesson will explain the interaction 'SlideShow' which you did see in the demo. You may download this start project, which has two slides. Exploration is explained in the video:

SlideShowStart

Video

You will be exploring the start file, discovering the shared actions in the Library, and the variables. You will attach the shared action to  a slide event (On Enter) and to button Success events, in both cases you will choose the parameter values.

The result of the completed lesson should look like you can see under this link. I left the playbar for your convenience.

SlideShowEnd

Preparing Lesson 2

Lesson 2 will show how you can transfer and use the shared actions to your project. If you want tot follow, prepare a project:

  • with two slides
  • second slide needs two multistate objects with the same amount of states
  • second slide needs two navigation buttons (back/next) and a home button (jumping to slide 1)




Who is afraid of ... Shared Actions - Crash course Introduction

For any Captivate user, new, intermediate or advanced.

Even if you are very new to Captivate, continue reading!

Contrary to Advanced Actions and JavaScript, Shared actions can be USED without needing to write out or edit scripts, nor to create variables. You don't need to be able to assemble an engine for your car to be able to drive, isn't it? What do you need?

  1. One or more shared actions created by a friend/colleague who is more advanced with Captivate
  2. To understand what a  'parameter' is (new term in your personal Captivate glossary)
  3. To learn how to add shared actions to your project, slides and interactive objects. Description and name of the shared action will help you (contrary to advanced actions).
  4. To choose the parameter values based on their descriptions. Automatic filtering by Captivate is a big help.

You read the introduction to a short ourse for adventurous newbies, including:

  1. A demo project with 4 useful interactions. All interactions can be realized using shared actions without having to create variables nor scripts.
  2. Explanation of the term 'parameter'

The course for newbies has TWO lessons. Each lesson comes in two 'flavors' to adapt to your taste:

  • Short video
  • Step-by-step text

To facilitate your learning/understanding, you'll get a start project  to practice the workflow.  You will also be able to use your personal project for the second lesson.  Both lessons are about one of the 4 interactions in the Demo project (see below). Depending on the 'welcome' by the community, may repeat this workflow for the other interactions or even for a game like  MatchStick game

Demo project

Watch this project, which includes 4 typical interactions:
  • Dashboard interaction (menu going to 4 chapters)
  • Slideshow
  • Click/Reveal
  • Toggle buttons

I used design elements from the new Quick Start Project ‘Diverse’. You can open the demo project using this link:

UsingSharedActions

Or watch it below  (fixed resolution):



What is a Parameter (in shared actions)?

This is my definition: a parameter is an ‘item’  replaceable by another item when you (re)use the shared action either in the same or in another project. That ‘item’ doesn’t always have a fixed type! It depends on the used command. Look at a some examples for clarification:
  1. Command Jump to slide: needs one parameter which is the slide. It is clear that you cannot change to another type of item than a slide.
  2. Command Change State of…: needs two parameters, first is the multistate object, second is the state you want to show. The first parameter has to be a multistate object of any type: shape, caption, button (for custom states), image, video, animation… Second parameter needs to be a state of that multistate object.
  3. Commands Hide/Show: need one parameter. Anything that can be shown or hidden is possible: shape, caption, button (for custom states), image, video. But also groups are possible! Look at the practice session below to see how this extends shared action functionality beyond what you are used to.

You may skip the explanation about the two types of parameters and go directly to the first lesson if you don’t like definition texts. Knowing the differences between parameters is not so important in this crash course, . BTW: the terms ‘compulsory’ and ‘candidate’ are just my personal choice, not official terms.

Compulsory parameters

All the items mentioned in the previous examples are compulsory: you will always have to choose them in any shared action.  Even though some will be the same in all instances of that shared action.

Candidate parameters

You probably know the command ‘Assign’ to store a value in a user variable or a system variable of the category ‘Movie Control’. A variable when used in a shared action can be a parameter, but it is not compulsory. If it is not a parameter, here is a rather unknown secret: importing the shared action in a new project will automatically create that variable, with the same name, description and value as designed originally. 
In some circumstances it is necessary to define the variable as parameter. You will see an example in the practice session for the toggle action.

In a conditional action you can have another candidate parameter, the ‘literal‘. Example: you want to limit a number of attempts by the learner to a maximum of 5. If you want to be able to edit that maximum number, you could define the literal as a parameter. This can be a bit tricky, but is beyond the scope of this basic blog.

Matchstick Game (Shared Actions)

Intro

A while ago, with Captivate version 8, I created a SWF version of this game. If you have a browser (such as Internet Explorer) supporting the Flash Player plugin, you can have a look using this link.  With that verrsion I could take advantage of the brand new Shared Actions, which allowed to have variables defined as parameters. In version  CP7 where shared actions were introduced, that was not yet possible.

Today HTML5 output is the standard. Moreover Captivate in recent versions has added some very useful features, which I would like to use to create a new version of this game:

  • Multistate objects, making the old Hide/Show workflows unnecessary, sparing time which was needed for resetting. Feature was added with CP9.
  • Guides and Rulers make setting up layout so much easier. Feature was added with second release of CP9.
  • New commands in Advanced actions: ‘Go to Next State’, ‘Go to Previous State’, ‘Delay Next actions by’  appeared in CP2017 with the new version of the dialog box)
  • Effects 2.0
  • Bitmap image used as button, new feature in CP2019,  release 11.5. I also used some design elements from the Quick Start Projects.

Why didn’t I use SVGs i this case? The stock image which I used to create the different matchsticks, did lead to smaller file size for PNG than for SVG. I know that they may be blurry when upscaled. There is no problem with the clickable area being the bounding box, due to the shape of the matchsticks. That is often the reason why I prefer SVG, but not the case here.

Have some fun with either the scalable version using this link, or with the embedded version (rules are explained in the file):


Tip: have a look at the end of the blog for a suggestion...

Setup

The example file has 4 slides, using some design elements (and colors) from the Quick Start Project 'Wired':

  • Title slide with a 'Play' button, which triggers the default 'Go to Next Slide' command
  • Intro slide, explaining the Game rules and a Start button. The On Enter event of this slide has an advanced action. Slide has double action: explaining rules on first visit, dummy slide on next visits. Such a dummy slide is necessary for a Reset action/
  • Game slide: On enter event is also used as advanced action trigger. More details below.
  • End slide

Slide Game - Timeline and Layout

I set up a grid of guides fo-r the game slide. It will be very useful when adding a second game slide based on another word:

The timeline is used to have the Next button and the final set of matchsticks (with flames) appear when necessary. No Hide/Show actions were needed:

You see on this timeline: 

  1. Gr_Match has been expanded, with 15 multistate objects, the Matchsticks. They are labeled in a logical way: start with Mt _ (Match), followed by a number for the group (1-3) and second number for the matchsticks, starting from left to right, top to bottom. Example: Mt_12 is the top stick in the first group, Mt_25 is the bottom stick in the second group.
  1. All are PNGs used as buttons, their timeline ends ar 1.6secs and pausing point is at 1.5secs. The Rollover and Down states have been taken out, a custom state 'Burnt' has been added:
  2. Feedback: a multistate smart shape timed for the rest of the slide. Normal state is made invisible, Success, Late and Cheat state were added:
  3. SB_Reset: shape button timed for the rest of the slide, default setting (pausing point not really necessary), timed for the rest of the slide. It triggers the simple action 'Go to Previous Slide'.
  4. SB_Next: shape button, appearing at 2.5secs, pausing point at 0.7secs. This means that the button will be invisible while playing the game.
  5. Gr_End:  group with burning matchstick images. Timeline starts at 1.6 seconds, till the end of the slide. That group will also remain invisible to the learner during the game.

Variables

You'll need a whole bunch of variables (4+15):

v_correct: will track the number of correctly removed matchsticks; start value = 0

v_moves: wil track the number of removed matchsticks; start value = 0

v_max: fixed value, number of matches that may be removed; will be populated in EnterGame action

v_visit: to track the visits to slide Intro;  start value = 0

v_11, v_12....v_35: Boolean variables , one for each matchstick, start value = 0; they track if the matchstick has been removed (value = 1) or not. The labeling is using the same logic as for the Mt_ labels. That makes it easy wen defining parameters.

Events and Actions

EnterIntro

As the name tells, this advanced action is triggered by the On Enter event of the second slide 'Intro'. 

It is an easy to understand conditional action, based on the tracking variable v_visit. On first visit the slide is played normally, on following visits the slide is skipped immediately, and re-enters the Game slide. That is necessary to reset variables for that slide.

Because it is used only once, I didn't convert it into a shared action. Nevertheless, could be a useful conversion but that will be explained in another blog post.

EnterGame

Triggered by the On Enter event of the Game slide, is used to reset all the variables. 

Similar to EnterIntro, it could be interesting to convert to a shared action. Explanation in that same future blog post (or webinar?).

Match_NOK (shared action)

This action is triggered by the Success event of the matchstick buttons, for those who should NOT be removed (hence the N in the name of the action). Here are screenshots of the action with indication of the parameters, and the description of the parameters:

The action has three conditional decisions.

  1.  First decision 'Doing' checks the value of the tracking Boolean variable, because the matchstick can be clicked to remove it (v_xx == 0) or to restore it (v_cc ==1). The variable tracking the number of moves will be incremented or decremented.
  1. Second decision  'Checker' compares the number of moves with the allowed maximum, and shows a message (state) when that maximum has been reached. I used the Delay command, to have the message disappear after a while.

  2. Third decision 'Cheat'  will lead to another message (state) if more than the allowed removals have been done. Again Delay command was necessary, ;this time to create an automatic Reset by going to the Intro slide.

This shared action has been used 9 times. Only the first two parameters have to be entered carefully, the other 4 are always the same.

Match_OK (shared action)

This action is triggered by the Success even of the matchstick buttons which need to be removed. Here are screenshots of the action with indication of the parameters,(2 extra compared with the previous shared action: Success state and the Gr_Match):

The first three decisions are similar to those of Match_NOK. Just one exception: this time the variable v_correct needs to be incremented/decremented within the first decision. A last decision 'End' was necessary for the Success situation, where v_max removals  (here 6) resulted in the correct word. 

More?

If you are pretty new to Variables, Advanced and Shared actions, this may seem very complicated. 

What if you want another slide with another word, maybe another number of maximal removals? 

You want to recreate such a game, maybe with other objects than matchsticks? 

It could be done without having to create any variable, just by using shared actions. Wished I could explain this in a workshop . Would you be interested? It is a very nice example of the way shared actions can allow you to create interactions WITHOUT PROGRAMMING SKILLS.   You don't have to believe me, of course... let me know if you want to participate  You can contact me using the mail address, or go to my website and fill in the contact form mentioning this invitation. 






Create Review State for scored Drag&Drop slide

Intro

Drag&Drop slides are popular both as Knowledge Check slide and as scored Quiz slide. No problem to integrate the score in the quizzing system variables. However there are still features where the D&D slide is not behaving like the other quiz slides. Some examples:
  • Pausing point is at 1.5 seconds, same as for Quiz slides, but that point is not visible in the Timeline.
  • Last Attempt action is wrongly indicated as ‘Failure’ action. Same as for normal Quiz slides, D&D slides have NO Failure actions.
  • You cannot have a Retry message when you provide more than one attempt.
  • There is only one Failure message, you don’t have the possibility of up to 3 different messages as is the case for other quiz slides
  • There is no Review status, which indicates if the question was answered correctly, and which answers were wrong or correct.
  • There are no Review navigation buttons. That is a problem, because during Review when the learner gets to a D&D slide, he will be stuck without those buttons.

For the problems concerning Try again, or multiple Failure messages I already offered a solution with a dynamic feedback message in a previous blog post. In this post I will try to explain a workflow for the Review issues.

The result of this workflow was visible in the sample project which I posted last week. There is a scored D&D slide as last question in  first part (Timeline).

Setup

Checkmarks

I used the checkmarks used for the other quiz slides, imported them into the Library. You can find them in the Gallery folder Quiz\QuizReviewAssets. Their name can be seen in this screenshot of the Library:

The small versions are used for the individual answer feedback, the normal versions for the global feedback Look at this example

Those checkmarks were used for multistate objects, with an empty Normal state. They are already present in the correct location during the quiz but invisible due to that Normal state. Two more states show either the correct or the incorrect checkmark. This is an example of the Object State panel, for the answer about the Shape button.

Review Navigation buttons

The quiz buttons in this theme are of the type 'Transparent button' That is the case for all themes packaged with Captivate. Too bad: it is impossible to apply any Quiz style to an object  a non-quiz slide, even on the Drag&Drop slide. The new feature Copy/Paste appearance will not work neither between items from the Standard and the Quizzing category. You have to create a style for a Transparent button that looks identical to the style of the Quiz buttons. As you probably know, the button label is simply text ‘<<‘ and ‘>>’. They trigger the commands ‘Go to Previous Slide’ and ‘Go to Next Slide’. Similar to the quiz slides, those buttons will only appear during Review (see On Enter action).

Variables

Four Boolean variables were created, with a start value of 0:

v_DD: will be toggled to 1 if the D&D slide is correctly done.

v_EffectDD; will be toggled to 1 if the Effect color is correct

v_SButtonDD: will be toggled to 1 if the Shape button color was correct

v_ShapeDD: will be toggled to 1 if the Shape color is correct

The system variable cpInReviewMode was used as well.

Events – Actions

Three events were used, all to trigger advanced actions: Success and Last Attempt event of the Drag&Drop slide (in that panel) and the On Enter event of the slide.

CorrectActDD

Why was it not possible to use the same Correct shared action in this case?  A D&D slide has no two-step Submit process, where the first step will keep the slide paused to allow the learner to read the feedback message.  It is possible to imitate that behavior, but I wanted to keep it simple, by keeping the slide paused for a couple of seconds before proceeding to the next slide. Second reason: for a correct answer need to toggle the variable  v_DD to 1. To achieve this, I used the shared action ‘CorrectAct’ as template to create this advanced action, which has two extra commands:

WrongActDD

Similar to the previous action, I used the shared action WrongAct as template, to create this advanced action. I needed only to add the Delay command, since the user variable v_DD had already the value 0.

EnterDD

Now the most complicated action, with many decisions to check all the possible situations. The decisions are mutually exclusive, which is the safest way to get a correctly functioning multidecision action. Hope you can figure it out with this Preview:

If you have problems or suggestions, post a comment please!

Intermediate Score Slides in 2020

Intro

Quite a while ago, in the SWF period, I created a similar post. Time to upgrade to make it ready for HTML output, using the newly added features in Captivate and fix the original problem (Review not functioning well).

As explained before, showing intermediate score slides, will not affect the reporting to a LMS. It is still a SCORM requirement that each course will transmit only one score, in this case the total score of all parts of the quiz. However showing intermediate scores can be helpful both for the learner and the developer: taking decisions based on the partial results are possible.

Since that old article, the powerful Drag&Drop slides were added to the Quiz toolset. A D&D slide can be scored, results can be added to the total score. They will not completely behave as the other quiz types. Have already posted some tweaking suggestions in previous posts.  The example file includes a D&D slide, which will have a Review status similar to the other quiz slides. The setup for such a Review status will be explained in a separate blog post.

Example file

It has three parts with questions about the three main stumbling blocks for Captivate users: Timeline, Quiz and Theme. You will see the progress (score)  for that part on each quiz slide,. Each part ends with a custom score slide. You can answer the different parts in any sequence, but after finishing all of them, you will be able to go to the final score slide, which  is the default score slide. You are free to explore the Review status using its button on the final score slide.

In the questions you’ll see that penalty, partial scoring etc have been used and are reported correctly.

Check your Captivate knowledge. There is only one attempt both on Question and on Quiz level. You can use this link for a scalable version or watch the embedded version (fixed resolution) here:


Overview and logic

The less-known Advanced Interactions panel offers a good overview.  On the dashboard three click boxes take care of navigation to the parts. You’ll see 5 question slides for the first part (Timeline), 4 for the second part (Quiz) and six for the third part (Theme). I collapsed the Drag&Drop slide, complete setup of that slide will be in the next blog post. You’ll see that I did use the Success and Failure events of the quiz slides (1 attempt) and several On Enter slide events. Both Advanced and Shared actions were used.

On the last quiz slide of each part, a Back button takes the learner back to the first slide, the Dashboard.  The former text ‘Part x’ will be replaced by the score obtained for that part, once it has been done. When all quizzes have been answered, the instruction text ‘Please, select an avatar’ is replaced by a originally hidden button which allows to go to the Final score slide, which is the default score slide of Captivate.

Setup

Variables

Quite a bunch of variables were necessary.

Part 1 (Timeline)

v_Timeline: will have the score obtained by the learner for this quiz part (Timeline), it is the partial equivalent of the system variable cpQuizInfoPointsscored

v_TimeCorrect: will track the number of correct answers for the part. Equivalent of the global variable cpQuizInfoTotalCorrectAnswers

v_TimeMax: will be used to calculate the maximum score which can be obtained for this part. Equivalent of the global variable cpQuizIntoTotalQuizPoints

v_TimePerc: will be used to calculate the percentage acquired for this part, equivalent of the global variable cpInfoPercentage.

For the number of questions in each part, I preferred to type in the literal value. It would have been possible to make this also tracked automatically of course.

Part 2 (Quiz)/ Part 3 (Theme)

A similar group of 4 variables were created, They are labeled v_Quiz, v_QuizCorrect, v_QuizMax and v_QuizPerc for the part Qui; for the Theme part they are v_Theme, v_ThemeCorrect, v_ThemeMax and v_ThemePerc.

Other

Instead of adding more variables to track which parts have been completed, I preferred using the Max variables for tracking, It was necessary to calculate the sum of those variables, hence an extra variable v_sum, which also had a default value of 0.

More variables were needed for the Drag&Drop slide setup, but they’ll be explained in the next blog post.

Events and Actions

Dashboard slide

On Enter event triggers: EnterDash (Advanced action)

To prevent the learner to press a click box multiple times, it needs to be disabled after the first attempt. That first attempt is identified by checking the score. There is a minimum chance that the learner had a zero score, didn’t expect that to happen but if it is the case, you would need an extra tracking variable which could be a Boolean.

Click Box Success events trigger: CBTimelineAct, CBQzAct, CBThAct (Advanced actions). This is a preview of the CBTimelineAct:

The Done state of the text object will show the obtained score instead of the default text ‘Part x’.  The two other click box actions are similar, you need to edit the Text object name and the slide to jump to. I preferred a duplicate action instead of a shared action, because it is rather simple, only two lines and used three times.

Shape Button SB_Final Success event: simple action ‘Jump to Slide FinalScore’

Quiz Slides (all)

Success event on the Quiz Properites: CorrectAct (Shared action)

This shared action is used by all quiz slides (14) except by the Drag&Drop slide (see next post) where I used the shared action as a template for a slightly different Success action:

Last Attempt event in Quiz Properties: WrongAct (Shared action)

Similar to the CorrectAct, used 14 times and once as template for the Drag&Drop Last attempt action:

If you are worried about the + operator for the negative points: the value of that system variable is negative by default.

First Quiz Slides

On Enter event: EnterFirstQuestAct (Shared action)

The avatars identifying the part on the quiz slides (needed to edit the master slides to make place for this custom group) have two extra text fields, one identifying the part, and one with the obtained score.

Last Quiz Slides

Success event Back shape button: BackAct (Advanced action)

Same advanced action is used for all Back buttons:

The second decision checks if all parts have been done and will show the button to jump to the final score slide if that is correct.

Intermediate Score slides

On Enter event: EnterScoreTimeline, EnterScoreQuiz, EnterScoreTheme (Advanced actions). Here a preview of the Timeline versoin:

The second decision is meant to skip the score slide during Review. The other advanced actions are similar to this one, just replace the variables. With the JS the percentage is formatted to maximum 1 decimal.

Final Score slide

On Enter event: Enter: EnterFinal (Advanced action)

Reminder: the avatars on the quiz slides are groups – see above.

More?

Lot more is possible of course. I didn’t insert a decision based on the already acquired intermediate scores but it is easy to do. I didn’t provide multiple attempts on quiz level, nor on question level. Comparing with my old article about Intermediate Score slides, the Review functionality is preserved however. Using the shared actions is a big improvement as well. I didn’t insert a progress indicator, because it would need more advanced actions, due to the splitting in parts and the presence of the Drag&Drop slide.

About the integration of the Drag&Drop slide,  especially its custom Review state, you’ll learn in the next blog post.

Percentage Progress Indicator (non-linear course) - solution 2

Intro

Recently I posted a first solution on my under this link.  It works fine, has a simple logic but something is bothering me: the percentage of viewed slides appears at the first frame of the slide which  is already included in that percentage.  It would be nice if only the percentage of the already viewed slides were shown. 

I hear some suggesting: use the On Exit event instead of the On Enter event. Logically? However that event is not to be trusted and . Consequence:  the frames in the inactive part of the interactive object are not visited. On Exit event happens after the last frame, which needs to be visited. Too bad, there is no ‘when leaving slide’ event, which would solve the problem. Hence this solution which is a little bit more complicated than the first solution.

Example file

I used the same 19 slides from the Quick Start Project ‘League’ as in the first example. The Table of Content is added to allow non-linear navigation. The option ‘Navigate to visited slides only ‘ is NOT checked to enable completely free sequence of slide views. The default playbar of this project is available, you can also scrub with the progress bar. But the progress indicator will only be updated when entering a slide. It is stil a slide-based indicator, not a frame-based nor time-based one.

View the example using this link for a scalable project, or this fixes resolution embedded one.


Setup

Progress indicator

Similar to the first solution, I used a text shape to show the value of a variable (v_perc) indicating the percentage slides already viewed when entering the present slide.  This text shape has a second state, labeled ‘Last’ which will appear on the last slide to be viewed:

This progress indicator has been inserted on the first slide, displayed for the rest of the project, always on top. However it will be hidden on the first slide by the On Enter action 'EnterFirst', because no slides are viewed yet.

Variables

Each slide  needs a slide tracking variable, user defined of the Boolean type. Start value is set to 0. Variable names are not important, I labeled them v_1 v_2,…..v_19 because it is easier to link them to the slides.  Boring work, sure but I always have a shared action ready in an external library with a bunch of variables and import them using the trick 1 explained in Rare tips for Shared Actions. For all slides except the first one,  Boolean will be toggled to 1 when visiting the slide for the first time. First slide doesn’t need a progress indicator on the first visit, since no slide have been viewed yet. The tracking variable v_1 will be used in the another action, to make the indicator visible on later visits.

Total number of visited slides will be stored in another user variable v_total, also starting with 0 as value.

A variable v_last will be used to detect if the active slide is the last slide to be viewed. This variable was not needed in the first solution.

The percentage viewed slides, which is displayed in a text shape (red) inserted on the first slide and timed for the rest of the project, is stored in the user variable v_perc.

The system variable cpInfoSlideCount will be used as well, its value is the total number of slides.

Events and actions

Enter event first slide: EnterFirst (advanced action)

That first slide can never be the last slide to visit, but on the first visit it shouldn’t show the Progress Indicator, since no slide has been viewed yet. Use the tracking variable v_1 for this conditional action:

Success event of the Start button on the first slide: StartAct (advanced action)

A short advanced action to make the ProgressIndicator visible after going to the Next slide.

Enter event of all slides (except first): PercCalcLast (Shared action)

This shared action has two decisions:

The first decision is similar to the one described in my first blog. One exception: the variable v_last is calculated from the user variable v_total (number viewed slides) and the total number of slides in the project ‘cpInfoSlideCount‘.

This calculated variable is used in the second decision. If it is equal to 1, the active slide is the last slide to be viewed. In that case the Normal state of the Progress Indicator is replaced with the Last state (warning about last slide), and the variable v_perc is set to 100%, will not change anymore during the session. The Else part is necessary to reset the state to Normal, so that later visits to any slide will show the progress in % (100%) again. 

Description of the 4 parameters, only the first parameter is different on each slide:

The Javascript, same as for solution 1,  is needed to format the percentage to no decimals.:

var perc = window.cpAPIInterface.getVariableValue(“v_perc”);

window.cpAPIInterface.setVariableValue(“v_perc”,perc.toFixed(0));

Tip: be careful when copy/paste this script, because the punctuation marks may not be pasted correctly if you are using another keyboard than my Belgian AZERTY one. Double-check them, please

More?

The logic behind this solution can also be used to show a progress bar, which takes into account the visited slides instead of the default playbar which is just jumping around when navigation is not sequential. Of course you can also show the number of viewed slides instead of a percentage. Maybe you have more ideas?


Percentage Progress indicator (non-linear course) - Solution 1

Goal

All tutorials about showing progress as a percentage have the same limitation: you need to view the course in a linear way, no branching or other non-linear navigation. Even in the TOC the indicated Time at the bottom is supposing you are in a linearly visited course. In the TOC the checkmarks at the slides are the only way to see which slides have been visited in a non-linear course, there is no real progress indicator. Recently someone asked (again) for a progress indicator (percentage) that would be functional in a non-linear course. 

I have created two possible solutions, All is slide-based, which is the reason for the two solutions:

  1. Easiest solution will show the % on each slide, but not after having viewed the slide, but when entering the slide.
  2. More perfect solution will show the percentage after having viewed the slides. Bit more complicated.
A bunch of Boolean variables and one shared action are what you need in both cases. In the second case I needed one very short advanced action as well. JS was necessary as usual to format the percentage display (no decimals, but can easily be changed). This post will explain the first (easy) solution.

Example

I took 19 slides out of the Quick Start Project ‘League’ and didn’t edit them with the exception of the Title slide. They are just used for testing the workflow. The default playbar, with its progress bar has been preserved. That is meant for comparison with the custom progress indicator. To allow you to navigate to slides in a non-linear way, I added the Table of Content, with navigation allowed. It is in Overlay, with the default Expand and Collapse buttons. Feel free to click in any sequence, and watch the progress indicator. I choose 19 slides, not 20 to show that it is possible with any amount of slides, even odd numbers. Here is a link to the scalable version:

Progress indicator for non-linear course

Or you can watch the embedded version (fixed resolution):


Setup

Variables

Each slide needs a slide tracking variable, user defined of the Boolean type. Its start value is set to 1. Variable names are not important, I labeled them v_1, v_2,…..v_19 because it is easier to link them to the slides.  Boring work, sure but I always have a shared action ready in an external library with a bunch of variables and import them using the trick 1 explained in Rare tips for Shared Actions. Each Boolean will be toggled to 1 when visiting the slide for the first time.

Total number of visited slides will be stored in another user variable v_total, also starting with 0 as value.

The percentage viewed slides, which is displayed in a text shape (red), inserted on the first slide and timed for the rest of the project, is stored in the user variable v_perc.

The system variable cpInfoSlideCount will be used as well,which stores the total number of slides.

Events – Shared Action ‘CalcPerc’

That shared action is triggered 19 times, with the On Enter event of the slides:

The Shared Action is straightforward and needs only one parameter: the slide tracking variable:

The JS is needed to avoid too many decimals for the calculated percentage:

var perc = window.cpAPIInterface.getVariableValue(“v_perc”);  window.cpAPIInterface.setVariableValue(“v_perc”,perc.toFixed(0));

The second solution where the progress will show the percentage viewed slides more correctly will be posted in another article, with its example file.

Review wrong answers in Quiz, skip correct answers

Intro

Similar to most Captivate developers I am busy converting legacy projects with SWF output to HTML output (in my blog). Quite a long time ago, based on questions from users, I wrote this blog post: Limit Review.  At that moment the version was Captivate 6 output was of course to SWF. If you want to view the embedded file, you'll need  Flash Player enabled browser to watch it.

I updated this blog post and created a new Example project. It is interesting to see how much easier the workflow has become, due to two new features:
  • Shared Actions: available since version 7 and improved with version 8. One of my favorite features, much underestimated by most developers for totally unknown reasons. Whereas in the old post I had to create 2 advanced actions for each quiz slide, this new version has only two shared actions, with one parameter.
  • New system variable cpInReviewMode (Quizzing category). It is a Boolean variable with a default value=0. That value will automatically be toggled to 1 when in Review mode.

Example file

I used the edited Theme, based on the Quick Start project ‘Alliance’ which I also used in my previous post with the Survey about upgrading legacy projects. HTML5 output is not as smooth as SWF output. You can compare the old post  (see link mentioned before) .

The example has 7 question slides, different types, using partial scoring and penalty. You can play the rescalable version from this link or watch the embedded one here:


Setup

Variables

This is the only remainder of the original blog.  We will be using another quizzing system variable cpQuizInfoLastSlidePointScored. The value of this variable is changing with each quiz slide. That change happens with the second step of the Submit Process.  More info about the Submit Process of a question slide can be found in this blog post.

We need to track the score for each quiz slide. To achieve that, a user variable is needed for each question slide. In this case, we need 7 user variables. No default value needed:

Labels are not so important, you just need to be able to link them to the quiz slides. If you have a shared action ready as in the first item of ‘Rare tips for Shared Actions‘ that is fine as well.

Events

All events are on the quiz slides:
  • On Enter event: will be used for a shared action EnterReviewAct. Tip: in the Advanced Interaction panel, this action will not appear (which is a pity). The reason is that the columns Success (which normally has the action for On Enter) and Failure (normally On Exit action) are used for the question actions. You can see the Usage of this action in the Library of course. Logically it has been used 7 times, because of the 7 quiz slides:



  • Success event of question (Quiz panel): will trigger a Shared action ‘ScoreQuestionAct’.

  • Last Attempt of question (Quiz panel): will trigger the same Shared action.  This action will be used 14 times. ave a look at this screenshot of the Advanced Interaction panel, where both the Success and Last Attempt events are registered:


Shared Actions

ScoreQuestionAct

This is a very simple standard action, copies the value of the system variable cpQuizInfoLastSlidePointScore to the tracking user variable. That variable is the unique parameter:

This action is triggered by both Success and Last Attempt events. It happens sometimes that you get an error, because the same parameter is used for both events. That is a bug in Captivate, which I have reported since a while, but the actions will work perfectly.

EnterReviewAct

This conditional action triggered by the On Enter event, checks two conditions:

  • Is the learner in Review mode?
  • Did the learner have a positive score on this slide? As you can see in the Advanced Interaction panel (screenshot in previous part),  I used penalty and partial scores.   Partial scored questions are counted as ‘correct’ answers in Captivate.

If both conditions are true, the slide will be skipped.

More?

Maybe you have some comments?  I don’t have a crystal ball, but feel like these two questions may pop up:

  1. Can this workflow also be used for random questions? 
    Answer is Yes: you need to trigger the shared actions for all quiz slides in the pool(s). Of course, you cannot have partial scoring, not penalty in a question pool.

  2. Can you avoid skipping partial scored questions?
    I see a way to do this, but wait for your suggestions.