Since a while I planned to:
- explain the use of the Timer (or similar Hourglass) learning interaction
- create a new example of using the While condition in an advanced or shared action
For some reason every blog I write about Timing (not timeline) seems to attract lot of viewers. I have been using the Timer interaction several times, in combination with Time system variables. It is one of the rare interactions that allows you to have an action based on the expiration of a set time (jump to another slide) without having to play with variables and JS or advanced actions.
However that Timer interaction has several drawbacks:
- You cannot pause.
- You cannot control the start. It starts running whenever its timeline starts, even if it is hidden in output.
- You cannot restart after a pause, since you cannot pause.
- You cannot reset it.
Personally I am also bit frustrated by the While loop, because of the time lag between two executions of the command sequence in the loop. I could see a lot more possibilities if I could control that time lag. ‘Delay next actions’ is not always possible. However I suspected an unexplored possibility which I used in this example. Compare the time showed in the Timer interaction and the digital Stopwatch.
Have a look at the example file, it shows two very simple Stopwatches: a digital and an analog version. You are able to start them, to pause, restart after a pause and reset. They are very simple, show only seconds. Reason: for this first version I didn’t want to use JS, everything is done with advanced (or shared) actions.
The workflow step-by-step will be explained in a blog post. You’ll learn how to ‘break’ an eternal loop created with a While condition.
It is not a full course, only to show the created Stopwatches. There are multiple possibilities to include such a stopwatch in a course: to allows the learner to check time spend on slides, questions. Since the time is stored in a user variable it is also possible to use that to calculate total time… I would appreciate your ideas. You can watch the project from this link (rescalable) or the embedded version:
- Eternal loop: uses the condition ‘IF 1 is equal to 1‘ or something similar, which results always in a positive result. The specified commands will repeat continuously. However! Contrary to the default behavior in advanced actions, where all commands run immediately and in sequence (top-down and left to right through the decisions), the commands in a While loop will be delayed for 1 second before the next run. It is this feature which I have used for the stopwatches.
- Limited loop: will need at least one variable. The condition ‘IF var is less than 6′ is an example. The variable ‘var’ needs to start with a number which you define in the variable definition or by another action. The variable will also need to be changed inside the commands. In this case it will probably be done with ‘Increment’. If var starts at 0, the commands will be run 6 times. In this case as well there is a delay of 1 second after each run.
Breaking a loop?
To break an eternal (or limited) loop, you need a combination of two conditions with the AND operator. The second condition will probably refer to a variable. I used a Boolean variable as you’ll see below. That variable needs to be changed by another action. Example:
IF 1 is equal to 1 AND
v_stop is equal to 0
As long as the variable v_stop has the valueo 0, the loop will continue. But if the variable is toggled to 1, the loop will be broken.
- v_time: stores the number of elapsed seconds. It starts with a value of 0, also after Reset.
- v_stop (Boolean) has a default value of 0 and is used in the combined condition of the While loop. It will be toggled to 1 when the Pause button is pressed.
- v_start: stores the frame number of the first frame of the slide. It is necessary for the Reset functionality, where I used the workflow described in this recent post ‘Replay or Reset‘.
Events and Actions
EnterAct triggered by the On Enter event
Both v_time and v_stop are reset to their default values (0). The frame number in v_start is needed for the Reset action.
Start actions triggered by the Success event of the Start buttons
These actions are slightly different for both stopwatches. This is the digital version:
The button used in this version has a custom state to replace the Normal state when the Pause button is used. It has the text Restart. The variable v_stop needs to be reset to 0, because it could have been toggled to 1 when the Pause button was used.
The combined condition for the While loop has been explained before.
The version for the Analog stopwatch:
Needle is a shape with a transparent part to be able to apply a rotation effect. The technique has been described in this blog ‘Reference point in Captivate‘.
The rotation effect was defined as a custom effect. If you want more information, have a look at:
ResetAct, triggered by the Reset buttons
As explained in the Replay/Reset blog, this action needs only one command:
In this use case the Continue command is superfluous, since Captivate is waiting from the first frame for a click on a button.