Adobe Captivate Features Make Packaging SCORM Easy

One of the benefits of “Rapid Development Tools”  like Adobe Captivate is how it makes life easier. Well, maybe not life but at least it makes course development a little easier.

SCORM logo

And that includes developing SCORM compliant content. Adobe Captivate has features built-in that allows for simple SCORM activities like completion status, quiz results, and scoring. Captivate 2017 even has a feature that allows you to test your package in SCORM Cloud before publishing. Other SCORM features and data can be handled through variables inside of Adobe Captivate.

Still, once you get all that set you still have to put it all together into a package ready for a Learning Management System. Don’t forget that standard practice is to create a course package (zip file) ready for import that contains everything the course needs to run. That includes SCORM files. This is where Captivate makes it quick and easy. It becomes simply a matter of setting some preferences and publishing settings, then creating your package.

Let’s take a look at how the process works.

Creating a SCORM Package in Adobe Captivate

Set Reporting Features

The first step necessary is to actually set up Adobe Captivate to report course status. Strangely, in Captivate that is done from the Preferences dialog. What makes it strange is that in most applications what you set in Preferences applies to the software application itself, not just an individual file.

  1. Select Edit, Preferences
  2. Adobe Captivate Standards OptionsSelect Reporting under the Quiz category in the list on the left of the dialog box.
  3. Click the Enable Reporting for this Project checkbox
  4. Choose your LMS from the drop list. If it is not on the list, simply choose Other Standard LMSs.

Choose SCORM Settings

For the next part, we will establish the SCORM version and the settings for the manifest. While some of the settings can be left at default, there are others that it is important to complete each time.

  1. Adobe Captivate Manifest Dialog BoxFor Standard, choose either SCORM 1.2 or SCORM 2004.
  2. Click the Configure button. This allows you to establish settings specific to the version of SCORM you chose. If you chose SCORM 2004 previously you need to select the edition as well. While it depends on what your LMS will support, in most cases it will either be 3rd or 4th Edition.
  3. In the Course box, fill in the Identifier, which will become the course ID. You should have some system for course ID, whether it is established by your LMS or self-developed. The general practice is to never start a course ID with a number.
  4. You should also add Title and Description. If you want the content to be searchable in your LMS, you should also select the Keywords checkbox and add appropriate keywords separated by commas.
  5. In the SCO box, add the Identifier which will become the SCO ID. No need to get fancy here. Most just put the letters SCO followed by an underscore and a three or four digit number (e.g. SCO_001).
  6. Add the SCO Title.
  7. Click OK.

Set Reporting Criteria

Now we have to tell Captivate exactly what we want to track. You have the option to track based on simple completion, completion plus quiz results, or just quiz results. If you choose quiz results, you may have to go back to preferences and set pass/fail criteria.

Adobe Captivate Reporting Preferences

In general, you would ignore the Template option as the default is sufficient for most purposes. The exception to this would be if you found the LMS incorrectly reporting status. What the course does, when running, is constantly report the status to the LMS and ask the LMS for a status report. In some cases, this keeps the LMS awful busy and performance of the course can suffer as a result and the status is incorrectly reported. To alleviate this and take the load off your LMS, select the SendTrackingDataAtEnd template.

  1. Select SendTrackingDataAtEnd option from the Template drop list.
  2. Choose the desired Completion Criteria. Most will choose Slide views and/or quiz.
  3. Select Slide Views and set the criteria. Usually, it is 100% slide views. If you are also judging completion based on a quiz select that as well. Note, you may have to experiment with the % slide views to see what works best for your course. It may make more sense to make it 90% (something a bit lower than 100%) especially if you have some filler pages at the end of the course.
  4. Optionally choose Success Criteria. While not required, it is a good practice to include it.
  5. If there are interactions in the course (usually defined in SCORM a quiz questions), you can also choose to report Interaction Data.
  6. Usually, you can ignore the Advanced button. One exception would be if you wanted to send data to the LMS on every slide. Be careful, however, as this setting would directly conflict with SendTrackingDataAtEnd.
  7. Click OK.

Test in the Cloud

This is a feature added starting with Adobe Captivate 9 (Captivate 2017 is actually version 10). Some have the luxury of having a test LMS. Many don’t. You certainly don’t want to upload a course to your LMS that doesn’t work. What this Captivate feature will do is upload your course to the SCORM Cloud, a simplified online system for testing and launching courses. It allows you to test the course and view reporting results. When you finish, it automatically deletes your course off the server. You don’t even need a SCORM Cloud account to use this.Adobe Captivate Preview Menu

  1. Click the down-arrow next to Preview on the menu bar.
  2. Select Preview in the SCORM Cloud.
  3. When the preview window appears (usually after several minutes), make sure to go through the entire course. Take the quiz, view every slide.
  4. If you want to view the communication logs, click the download button near the bottom right of the window.
  5. Once you complete the course and exit the preview window, you will be presented with the option to view results. A browser window will open to display the results.
  6. Back in Captivate, you can finish the preview by clicking the Close button.

Publish the Package

Adobe Captivate Publishing dialogNow we are ready to package our project. You can work off the menu bar or the toolbar for this.

  1. Select File, Publish. Alternatively, you can click the down-arrow next to the Publish button on the toolbar and select Publish for Devices.
  2. Fill in the Project Title
  3. Designate the Location for the published project. This should not be the same location as the authoring files.
  4. Make sure that Zip File is selected.
  5. Click Publish.
  6. When the packaging completes, click OK to clear the message box. Then click Close to clear the dialog box.

Your package is now ready to upload to the LMS. The zip file contains the manifest, all supporting metadata files, and all supporting course files organized into folders where necessary.

Packaging Multiple Captivate Courses

If you have the need to assemble multiple Captivate courses into one larger SCORM package use Simple SCORM Packager by JCA Solutions. It also allows you to build multi-SCO packages with courses produced by a variety of applications.

Having other challenges developing and uploading courses? Want more guidance? Contact JCA Solutions (support@jcasolutions.com) today. Let’s get you on the road to done!

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