One of the things I have thought would be interesting to create in my eLearning is the ability to visually show a user that they have or have not visited a section. I was also interested in the ability to take this a step further – the learner would need to visit multiple sections before I gave them the ability to move on to the next set of content.
I am regular Adobe Captivate user. I don’t typically use Articulate Storyline. However, a while back I took a look at it because I was curious what it offered. One of the features I liked was the “Show When Visited” trigger. I could build this structure within a course “out of the box” very easily.
This was something that was not immediately available in Captivate. However, once I saw it implemented in Articulate Storyline, I knew there had to be a way to do it in Adobe Captivate.
FILES AND VIDEOS FOR YOU TO USE
Here is our sample Adobe Captivate 8 file for you to experiment with. This process will work in several of the previous versions of Adobe Captivate, but we chose to create it in the most current version.
We have also broken this process up into short videos explaining each piece of the process to make it easier to follow. You will find these videos throughout this blog post and as a playlist on our YouTube channel.
BRIEF OVERVIEW OF WHAT WE WILL BUILD
This capability exists, but it takes a few steps and requires four things:
- The images you plan to use to show the learner they have completed a section. For our example, we will use checkmarks. These will start out as hidden images and you will have the course change their status to visible when appropriate.
- The image of the button that allows your learner to move to the next section. This will start out as a hidden image and if the learner visits all sections, the course will show the button.
- Variables that represent whether the learner has actually visited a section or not. These will be “flags” that change either from a “true” to a “false”.
- Actions that represent two different things. The first is an action that sets the variable, changes the related checkmark image’s status to visible and takes you back to the main menu. The second action is a conditional test on the main menu that checks to see if all the variables are “true” or “1”. If they are, show the button that allows you to move on to the next section.
This project will be a simple five screen project to represent the concepts. Once you understand what you are building, it doesn’t matter how big the project is – it still works the same.
Four our example, we will have three sections. For each section, we will use a checkmark image.
This is a good image.
We need three of them and we need to be able to call them by name. So, we will name them:
Notice the eye icon next to the object name has a slash through it. That means it will be hidden when you launch the course. Set this up for all three checkmark images.
Next, we need to set up the button the learner will use to continue to the next section.
Let’s just add a box button on the screen like the others, but make it a different color, so you can easily recognize it.
It will also be hidden when you launch the course and we will name it “Continue”.
PREVIEW THE PROJECT TO VERIFY
Notice on our screen, we only see the three section buttons. We don’t see the checkmarks or the Continue button. This is because they are hidden when we launch the course. That’s what you want.
I have removed the play bar that would appear at the bottom to simplify the interface and remove distraction.
This is just something you obviously need. If we are going to have buttons that go to sections, you need sections for them to go to. You also need a place for the hidden Continue button to take the learner.
We will create four slides to represent the sections.
You could set up each section to perform the Advanced Action we will build when you exit the slide and it would work just as well. For this sample project, we will add buttons to each screen and eventually assign the Advanced Actions to the buttons instead.
Next, we need to assign some variables. These are the variables that will change to show the hidden checkmarks.
Assign a recognizable name to the user variable and a value of “False”. Remember, we will use an action to change this to “True” at the appropriate time.
User Visits Section 1
The goal of what we are trying to accomplish is when a learner clicks the Back to Menu button at the end of Section 1, we want three things to happen.
- Show the image Section1Done
- Change the variable Section1Done to “True”.
- Jump to slide #1, which is the main menu.
To do this, we will create an Advanced Action, which is essentially programming custom logic into Adobe Captivate.
Once you build the Advanced Action, you can assign it to the action of the Back to Menu button in Section 1.
For simplicity, we will name the Advanced Action the same as the variable and the image, so we know they all work together.
Here is how to set up your action.
Be aware that when you set up the assign action, you are setting a literal, because you want to define the variable to an exact value. If you were adding variables to increment a counter or something like that, you might use a variable as the value.
Next, you have to assign the Advanced Action to the On Success action for the Back to Menu button in Section 1. You can see where to do that in this image.
Lastly, let’s verify that the variable is actually changing, as expected.
Let’s add a text caption on the menu screen that displays the variable. We will eventually delete this, but it is useful for testing as we build.
You can see that the checks are hidden and the variable is set to False. This is what we expect.
We click the Section 1 button to go to Section 1.
This is as expected.
When we click the Back to Menu button, what should happen?
- We should go back to the Main Menu screen
- The variable should change to “True”
- There should be a checkmark on the Section 1 button
It works exactly as expected!
MORE ADVANCED ACTIONS
Now, we repeat this process for each of the other two buttons.
Now add the variables and test this portion.
Again, it works as expected. Good! Now, we need to add the logic to show the Continue button.
SHOWING THE CONTINUE BUTTON – CONDITIONAL ACTIONS
This is an Advanced Action, but not a Standard style action. It is a Conditional action. This means that you want it to use logic like this:
If X, AND Y, AND Z are true, do ABC.
For our situation, we want that phrase to be:
If Section1 = True AND Section2 = TRUE AND Section 3 = TRUE THEN SHOW the CONTINUE button
In the Conditional Action dialog box, the top half is the IF statement and the bottom half is the THEN statement. Once you understand how to read it, it is not really that complicated.
We will assign this Conditional action to the On Enter action for the Menu slide. That way, every time the learner comes to the Menu screen, the logic tests if these three items are true. If they all are true, you will see the Continue button and any actions you set up on it should work.
The last step would be to remove the text captions containing the section variables, since you don’t want the learners to see these.
SOMETHING TO KNOW
This process requires that all these sections live in a single Captivate file.
Without further programming, Adobe Captivate does not allow you to save variables across courses so they can be used together. For example, you can’t have a main navigation Captivate file that launches individual files to the various sections unless you add the Advanced Action on the button that launches the section, rather than on the return. Then, you still have a second challenge. Since they are in separate files, you are not really re-loading the main menu, so there is not an immediate way to check the logic on the re-load of that page because it doesn’t re-load. You are simply closing web browsers that sit on top of the menu.
HAVE YOU DONE THIS BEFORE?
Have you tried to use this type of a feature before with your learners? What was the result? Did they like it or did it frustrate them to not be able to continue without going to the various sections. In a way, the navigation is still open because they can visit any section in any order…they just have to visit all of them.
What other challenges did you come across? Please share your experiences with our readers.