A Guide to Updating Flash-Based E-learning Courses Using Adobe Captivate 7

A Guide to Updating Flash-Based E-learning Courses Using Adobe Captivate 7

I am back with another interesting blog post. In this post, I would like to share how to ensure your erstwhile Flash courses are put to good use. As I interact with many training managers, I learned that they have concerns about upgrading their eLearning courses that were created in Flash; as you know Flash-based courses are inoperable on mobile devices and are rather difficult to update in future, once they are developed. What should they do?

In fact, recently one of our customers approached us with this situation. They had invested a lot in the development of the Flash courses. Courses were well received and have rich multimedia interactivities with very useful content that continues to be relevant in their current context. However, now they wanted the courses to be made available on multiple devices and they also wanted to make some changes in the content. To be more precise, this is what the client wanted from us:

  • Use the Adobe Captivate authoring tool as they have the license
  • Convert their existing Flash course using the tool

Clients are expected to

  • Update and maintain the content on their own in future
  • Be able to extract content when needed to use as handouts in classroom sessions
  • Be able to translate the course into multiple languages later.

I would like to share with you the solution we provided in two parts. In the present blog, I will focus on the Captivate Conversion Process. In my next blog, I will share inputs about how to get the course developed in Captivate translated into multiple languages.

We adopted the following process to convert Flash-based eLearning courses to rapid authoring tool–based courses. Let’s look at them step by step.

Let’s look at the steps involved in the Captivate Conversion Phase.

Step 1:

We first obtained the Flash source files. We then analyzed the screens in the Flash course and evaluated the feasibility of screens for adaption to Adobe Captivate. We then proceeded to create a few GUI design layouts that we shared with the client. Once we received approval from the customer, we started working on the actual development.

Step 2:

Next, I selected a project team that consisted of individuals who had expertise in working with both the Adobe Flash and Adobe Captivate tool. This is important because, this project requires taking the existing content and other media files from the Adobe Flash tool and making a layout in Adobe Captivate similar to the one in the Flash course. In this step, along with my project team I decided that we create a functional prototype of one complete module and submit it to the customer for approval. Our approach was well received by the client and we got approval to proceed further.

Step 3:

I then conducted a meeting with the project team and customer to decide on the timelines and review cycles before working on the prototype. Once we had an agreement between the project team and the customer, we started the actual development of the Prototype in Adobe Captivate. During development, we had several issues that arose as some of the functionalities were incompatible with the authoring tool (thanks to its inherent limitations). After all, not all flash features can be incorporated into Captivate! We used our internal expertise and made several decisions on the functional requirements in the Authoring tool, created and re-created prototypes and finally presented the course to the client after it met all our stringent specifications.

Step 4:

Customers along with other stakeholders reviewed the final prototype and provided the feedback both from design and functional perspective. We had a series of meetings in order to mutually finalize the changes that can be adopted using Adobe Captivate and those that cannot be done. You know what? They were impressed with the output we provided within the software limitations!

Step 5:

Once we had an agreement, the developmental team implemented all the changes that could be done using the authoring tool and documented the changes that cannot be implemented. We finally received the approval on the end product.

Step 6:

As we now have the approval on the prototype, we scaled up the development and followed the same cycle in completing the other five modules. This ends the Captivate conversion phase.

The steps mentioned above might seem to be very basic and logical, yet when executing such projects, and when small details are missed out, a lot of stress is placed on the project. It is very useful when you wish to make your courses compatible to mobile devices and also translate them into multiple languages. In my next blog, I would like to share what you need to do to translate such courses into multiple languages.

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