Adobe Captivate: Learning Interactions with Self-Hiding Instructions
by Jennie Ruby
Scenario: Your SME wants to put a ton of text on a slide. "It's all important!" she insists.
"Okay," you say. "But let's give the learner some control over the experience. Let's use a Learning Interaction."
The Learning Interactions in Adobe Captivate are very useful for presenting a lot of text by topic or subheading. In this article, I'll show you how to address both the needs of the project and your SME's concerns. For this project, we'll choose the Tab interaction.
Go to the Interactions drop-down and choose Learning Interactions. Then choose the Tabs learning interaction. On the resulting dialog box, double-click Title, and type your title. (Don't worry if your first double-click does not enable editing. These placeholders are notoriously difficult to double-click. Just keep clicking until the word Title goes into editing mode. Then type your title.)
Enter all of your text by double-clicking a tab, giving it a tab name, and then double-clicking the Button Content placeholder for each tab to enter your text.
When all of your content is in, click the OK button to create your interaction. Now preview it. It should work great.
However, let's go back to our scenario:
The SME is now unhappy because when you first arrive at this slide, the Tab area is completely blank. The learning interaction does not display any of its tab contents until you click a tab.
"How does the viewer know to click a tab?" the SME asks.
"Good question," you reply. "We could give instructions in the voiceover narrative."
"I'd rather see printed instructions on the slide," your SME says.
Now we have this challenge: how to create instructions and something to fill the blank tab area when the viewer first arrives on this slide, but without covering up the tab's text when the interaction is in use.
Captivate offers "actions" that can show and hide objects on the slide. We can create a text caption that will give the viewers some instructions. But how are we going to hide the text caption so the viewers can see the Tab text? We'll create a button along with the caption that will hide the text caption and also hide itself!
Start by creating a text caption containing the instructions: "Click each tab to read its contents." Format the caption and place it in the middle of the blank space on the Tab interaction.
Then from the Interactions drop-down, choose Button. In the Properties inspector, Style subtab, caption the button with the word Start.
After positioning the text caption and the button nicely on the slide, Select both the text caption and the Start button (shift-click should do it), and from the Edit menu, choose Group.
Select just the button, and on the Properties inspector, Actions subtab, set On Success to Hide, and in the Hide drop-down list, choose the group. While you are there, also deselect the checkbox for Continue Playing the Project. That way, once the button is hidden, the project will not proceed to the next slide before the viewer can click a tab! (Note: this assumes the project has a play bar that the viewer can use to advance the slide after viewing the Tab interaction.)
So far, you have a Start button that will hide the instructions and hide itself. But how can we make sure that these will always be visible on the slide to start with? After all, the viewer might visit the slide, hide the caption and start button, leave the slide, and then return. The solution is to add an On Entry action for the slide.
Click the slide in the Filmstrip, open the Properties inspector, Actions tab, and assign the On Enter action Show, and choose your group.
Preview your project, and each time you enter the slide containing your Tab interaction, you see the instructions, click the Start button, and then use the Tab learning interaction to view the text.
Result: The SME is happy, you are a success, and the viewers know exactly what to do when they reach this slide.