Adobe Captivate 3 is a program used for creating e-learning videos that can be viewed on the computer. The lessons can be saved as files that will play in Windows Media Player. They can be burned to DVD and played back on another computer. Also, lessons can be published on the web and viewed by going to a web site. Captivate 3 is best suited for computer Instructors, educators, business trainers and anyone else who wants to produce computer based learning videos. Of course, the class subject can be anything, not just computer related!
The program enables teachers to create training videos using screen captures. You can add voice -over and/or music. Tests can be included at the end of videos. Also, interactive questions can be inserted, so they are seen as the video goes along. The program is smart and intuitive. So, you start it up, click 'Record' and go through the process that you want to teach in your video. Captivate 3 records every mouse click. It coordinates that with your voice-over. When your demo or instruction is complete, click the 'Stop' button and save your lesson. Captivate 3 has many cool features that allow instructors to create professional training video files. During the recording, Captivate 3 creates a new slide each time that you click on something in your demo. In the 'Storyboard' view of the project, it puts thumbnail pictures of each slide on one screen. Slides can be moved around on the timeline or deleted. You can make changes to the recording without redoing the entire training session.
I created a video demonstrating how to use Windows Vista. In the lesson, I wanted to show the desktop screen, click on some of the icons and explain parts of the welcome screen. My idea was to do a quick demonstration like I would do in a live Beginning Computer class.
Before recording the lesson, I connected a microphone to the line in jack on my computer's sound card (using a small mixer to adjust sound levels). In the Captivate 3 set-up, I selected 'line-in' from the 'Record Narration' drop down box. Thus, I recorded my explanation of what I was doing as I clicked through the screen items. I used the program in automatic mode with mostly default settings.
Captivate 3 is very easy to set up and use for basic training videos. One of the neatest features is, of course, the automatic recording function. Once you open the program and click 'Record', it automatically captures each screen as you click on icons, buttons. links, etc. in the 'lesson' that you are teaching. When finished, you click the 'stop' button and save the project.
Another nice feature is the use of 'Auto Text Captions'. Captivate 3 automatically creates little text boxes that explain the actions you are doing as you click through the lesson. Text boxes also explain what window is opening. It is pretty accurate in describing what you are clicking on. A few times in my demo of the Vista 'Start' button, the text box said that I was clicking the 'Favorites' menu when I wasn't. Most of the time, though, the auto text was accurate. If necessary, I could go back and re-record just the part of the demo that I wanted to change.
The videos can be output in several ways, as I mentioned earlier. The great thing is that the student can view the lesson any time. The teacher also is not locked in to giving a class at a specific time or location. They make the video, get it to the students and the learner views it.
I would like specialty controls easier to find. Make changing default settings a little easier.
In creating the little demo video that I recorded with Captivate 3, I barely scratched the surface of all of the things that this program can do. The types of lessons that can be produced are numerous. You can do a simple demonstration, as I did. The student watches and listens to learn how to do something. Using Captivate 3, a teacher can create branching lessons. Their answer to a quiz question will determine what part of the lesson that they see next. The instructor doesn't need to be a computer programmer to make great interactive lessons. They just need to point and click. So, if you or your company want to create videos for computer based training yourself, Adobe Captivate 3 is an excellent tool. I would recommend it. If you use a lot of its features to make a variety of types of e-learning videos, it can be well worth the price.
Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price — $699.00
Special offers — Adobe offers a 30 day free trial.
System Requirements for Captivate 3
OS — Microsoft Windows XP with Service Pack2, Windows 2000 with Service Pack 2 or Windows Vista Home Premium, Business, Ultimate or Enterprise (32-bit).
RAM — 512 MB (1GB recommended).
HD Space — 700 MB minimum free space (more during installation).
Other — The CPU needs to be at least an Intel Pentium 4. Intel Centrino, Xeon, Core Duo or compatible is also acceptable. My Pentium 4 with 3 GB of RAM running Vista Business was barely powerful enough to do the program justice. It was a little slow saving and starting up the finished video. I would recommend using a Core Duo or Quad Core CPU. For publishing and recording, the computer needs Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 or later, Adobe Flash Player 7 or later, a microphone to record audio, speakers and a sound card.
For more information, visit Adobe’s webpage for this product.
— Rosemary Lloyd
Rosemary’s experience includes software training— from developing written materials to designing and teaching classes on many programs. She is one of the people working on the Big Bear Community Computer Lab project.
Rosemary and her husband started SugarloafPC.com at the beginning of 2005. SugarloafPC does training, web design and helps people with sick computers, as well as hardware installation and troubleshooting.