Tool Smackdown: Captivate versus Lectora


Those of you who know me, know that I am a huge promoter of using the right elearning tool to do the right interactions. So I had the perfect Captivate project – lots of demos and guided practice scenarios to teach someone how to use a new software program. However, the client’s requirement was that the course be built so it would run on the ipad.

For those of you who still don’t know this, SWF’s don’t run on ipad’s natively. And Captivate publishes as SWF’s.

In the past, I have been using Lectora to develop courses on the ipad since Lectora publishes natively to html, therefore making it run on the ipad without a lot of extra monkeying around. Kudos to Lectora for getting this right, although I suspect that this was sort of an accident that they just fell into. Either way, creating a course in Lectora to work on the ipad is no big deal.

For this project, however, I decided to trust Adobe and use their new HTML 5 converter for Captivate. Before you read anymore, let me tell you that this converter is NOT ready for primetime and I don’t recommend using it until it is in a more complete status.

So after many hours of re-work to recreate the course in Lectora, I will share my lessons learned:

** This applies only if you would like to publish an interactive course. If it is just a demo, that can be published out of the Captivate tool, no problem. You just publish it as an MP4 file.

1. This is a known problem but if you work with the mac version of Captivate, you are pretty much out of luck when you want to use the converter as you have to have a licensed version of 5.5 on the PC side of your mac. (trial didn’t cut it)

2. When you publish your course and convert it, it puts a navigation overlay over the course. This is fine if you have a linear course and don’t want it to do anything else other than go from slide 1 to slide 2, etc. However if you have any branching, etc. the navigation does not pick any of those calls up from the course file, thus rendering the navigation useless. If you delete the navigation overlay- (contact meif you need to know how to do this) it won’t allow you to pause/play the content so you are stuck with only basic navigation.

3. Assign, Variable and Advanced Actions don’t work at all which means that you can’t create interactions in your courses. This includes Click to Reveal’s which are the most simple interaction to create won’t work because you need a show and hide option. Even if you created slides that mimicked the click to reveal action (like you do using Articulate) doesn’t work because you can’t use the navigation overlay to do a jump to slide.

4. Roll overs are not supported so that eliminates another interactive element in the courses.

5. Execute Javascript is not supported so if you know how to add this into your courses, you still can’t do that to make the course behave how you want to create interactions this way.

6. If you have audio, you have to have the learner unmute the audio before they will hear it on the ipad.

7. This isn’t specific to Captivate but double click doesn’t work on the ipad so make sure that you do a single click and then tell the learner that in the real system, they may have to double click.

8. To test on your desktop, you have to use Safari or Chrome. Which I guess makes sense because those are the browsers that are used on the Ipad but this isn’t an obvious issue that one would expect.

In the end, these items caused enough of an usability issue that the course needed to be converted to a tool that would more eloquently get the job done. So for now, it is Lectora for me as I continue to get requests to create courses that will run on the Ipad.

Hopefully Adobe will step up and spend some development time making their product more usable for those of us who need to create training for more than our clunky laptops!

Hope this article helps those of you who aren’t sure which tool would be best for creating ipad courses.

What are your experiences? Add your comments below if you have other stumbling blocks or solutions.