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Software Product Simulation – Captivate or Flash?

Written By Sudhakar Reddy

Software product training using authoring tools like Captivate or Adobe Flash is an effective mode of eLearning.

Screenshots of the software acts as a raw content for developing an online course. The learner is taught on how to use the software by creating a simulated environment. The effectiveness of learning can be enhanced by using audio. Both Captivate and Flash can impart training. Let’s see, which one is more suitable.

If the software has an intuitive interface and navigation, the learner can easily learn the software by simple demonstration using Captivate, a rapid elearning tool.

If the software is complex and has multiple users and tasks, it becomes difficult for the user to learn the software, hence Adobe Flash is recommended. Some of the examples of complex software are SAP, Call Center software, Customer portals etc.

For complex software products, the effective instructional strategy is using Watch-Try-Do (WTD) approach. The strategy is to first show the operations, and then invite the learner to try and perform the required operations with some guidance and finally, allow him/her to try the operations all by themselves. This approach provides a smooth transition in learning – from watching, to trying and finally, doing the operations.

The raw content for the complex software products will be Captivate screen, describing the flow of the software, its navigation and its uses. Based on the Captivate screens, a detailed storyboard is developed to incorporate Watch-Try-Do. Using Adobe Flash, we can create WTD simulations with ease.

For both simple and complex software products, Captivate plays an important role in developing eLearning content. It helps to record screens and navigational flow of the product effectively. It also integrates audio and offers a customized interface for the learner to navigate and explore the simulation.

 Share your views on using Flash and Captivate software for imparting product training.

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  • Kathleen Peppers

    I have used Cp for SAP and all other types of enterprise solutions, to include creating simulations for Global Distribution Systems (GDSs), and have had great success with it for all levels of learning. It’s also a tool that folks with fewer skills can utilize. Not all of our people have or know flash. So, this works for us; and honestly, it’s not too shabby at all!

  • Kathleen, Thanks, for sharing your views. I too agree with what you say about Cp.

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  • Lieve Weymeis

    I’m a bit puzzled by two things here: first of all why is there a link to a CP3-lesson, when CP5 is getting out soonly? Secondly: why do you seem to limit the use of Captivate to software demonstrations and storyboarding for more complex projects? I’m using Captivate mostly for creating software training simulations and assessments of software, because my students really do prefer ‘doing’ to ‘watching’. Before my discovery of Captivate I had been trying to achieve something similar (software training) in Flash and it took me several weeks. I’m sure that more is possible in Flash, but considering restrictions in time and budget, do really know why mostly I’m preferring Captivate, eventually combined with small SWF’s developed in Flash.