Adobe has just released its latest version of Captivate, dubbed 2019, and once again Adobe has not been content with just adding a few small features. Rather, Captivate now boasts several new capabilities that other tools simply don’t contain or that other tools offer at much higher cost. In fact, Captivate’s subscription cost is still only $29.99 a month. It’s one of the best deals on the market, especially when you consider the amount of power under its hood.

What are the notable new features?

New file types

Open Captivate 2019 and you’ll immediately notice a new type of file among the new ones available: Virtual Reality Project. See Figure 1.

Figure 1: Virtual Reality is a New Offering of Captivate 2019

As always, the six types you see in Figure 1 represent the most common ones. Pull down the File menu and you’ll also be able to choose from other file types, as you can see in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Different File Types

Despite the fact that you can create a lesson that is entirely set in Virtual Reality, is created from a PowerPoint file, or is a Software Simulation or Video Demo, you can also insert individual slides that are of these types into a normal desktop project, which means you can create lessons made up of these different kinds of learning. See Figure 3.

Figure 3: Slide Types You Can Insert

Virtual Reality? Yes, please.

Yes, you can now use Captivate to create interactive virtual reality and interactive 360° videos. Insert a JPEG or PNG image file or an MPG video that were created and saved as 360° and you can add as many hotspot interaction points as you wish. You do this by choosing from a set of icons (See Figure 4) that are provided or by adding your own image to superimpose on the image or video.

For learners to navigate the virtual reality environments you create, they can use a virtual reality headset or use a desktop computer. Using a headset provides a more realistic experience. However, using a mouse to move around a scene on a desktop is also an effective way to take a lesson.

Figure 4. Hot Spot Icons

Each icon that you place on the stage can result in a number of actions, as can be seen in Figure 5.

Figure 5: Interactions and Questions

In Figure 6, for instance, I have inserted a 360° image of a control room (one of the sample images that Captivate provides). You can see two angles of the control room. In the first angle, you can see three icons, two text icons and an exclamation point. On the second angle, there is a Q icon.

Figure 6: Two angles from a 360° image with interactive icons

While you can have any of the icons from Figure 4 (or your own image) trigger any of the actions in Figure 5, naturally learners might expect T icons to show text notes, an exclamation point to show a warning of some kind, and a Q icon to show one or more questions, so you will probably want to tie each to the expected action.

Figure 7 shows an example of a question that has been triggered by the learner clicking a hotspot. Depending on the learner’s current view, the question may come up at an angle, but the learner can then simply reposition the question to see it front and center.

Figure 7: A question pops up

Any Virtual Reality slide can be set to Guided or Exploratory.

  • Guided: The learner will start at the first hotspot and must view it, after which the scene will show an arrow for the learner to click to move to the next hotspot.
  • Exploratory: The learner has the freedom to move around the scenes and choose the hotspots in any order.

You can also mark any hotspot as Must View Once to force learners to click it before jumping away from the view.

To watch the Virtual reality lesson on a headset, you can choose Live Preview on Devices from the Preview options (Figure 8). Captivate will show you a QR code that you can then scan with your device. As long as your device is on the same wireless network as your computer, you’ll be able to experience your lesson on your device. In fact, everyone on your wireless network will be able to see the lesson on their devices.

Figure 8: The Live Preview on devices provides a QR code that everyone can use

So what’s the big deal?

The Virtual Reality feature in Captivate 2019 is a real game-changer. It allows you to easily create lessons that can be viewed on devices or on desktops and that can propel the learner to a better understanding of how to address situations in real life. Of course, Virtual Reality isn’t something you will want to use for software training or with many other learning needs. However, consider how much more effective it can be for real life scenarios that learners must grasp before performing certain tasks in reality. Now Virtual Reality lessons can stand alone or be mixed with other types of slides.

Next month

Captivate 2019 includes several other new features. I’ll be covering those next month, including:

  1. True interactive videos with overlay slide capability
  2. CSV question import (in addition to GIFT question import)
  3. Screen recording with webcam with chromakey capabilities
  4. Easier fluid boxes for responsively designed lessons
  5. PowerPoint to mobile learning
  6. Automatic device preview
What do you think of Captivate’s new Virtual Reality feature? Let us know below.