Advanced Actions in Adobe Captivate are one of the most powerful features you can leverage. Over the next several weeks, I’ll be writing a series of posts that will cover the basics of using and creating your own Advanced Actions. This first post will provide a general overview.
What Are Advanced Actions?
Advanced Actions are a feature in Captivate that allow you to add a new layer of interactivity and functionality in your projects. The basic model for using advanced actions, is to create a script using the Advanced Action Panel, and then associating this script with an event, such as a button click or slide event (for example upon entering or exiting a slide). There are two main types of Advanced Actions, Standard actions and Conditional actions. We take a closer look at these next.
A Standard Action is an action that allows you to access some of the built in “standard” properties available in Captivate. For example, you can use a Standard Action to continue to the next slide, jump to a slide, hide an object or show an object. A key difference between a Standard Action and a Conditional Action is that there is no logic or condition that is evaluated in order for the action to execute.
A Conditional Action requires the use of logic. Captivate provides the ability to create simple “If… Else…” statements. For those of you that are not familiar with the basics of programming, the If Else statement is a conditional statement or expression. It allows you to control when an action is executed if a certain criteria or “condition” is met or failed. An example of when you might want to use a Conditional Action is to show a check mark on the slide if the user passes a quiz. In this case, the condition that must be met is that the user must pass the quiz in order to trigger the action that will make the check mark visible. The pass or fail criteria will be available in a variable. To truly leverage the power of standard and conditional actions, you should have a good grasp of variables.
What is a Variable?
A variable is a key building block for programming and scripting. While creating Advanced Actions is not technically programming, some of the basic concepts are the same. Your main task is to create an expression that will result in some type of action that is completed. As we mentioned previously, in a conditional action, there is a set of criteria that must be evaluated in order to determine if the action will be completed. In general, this information will be stored in a variable. You can think of a variable as a container that will hold information. To illustrate, you can use a variable to store a user’s name. In Captivate, there are two types of variables, System variables and User variables.
A User Variable is a variable that you define. You can create a variable named, “Color” that stores the value, “Blue”. You can also create a variable named, “studentName” that is used to store the name of the person who is currently taking your course. These variables are very powerful and provide a lot of flexibility in what you can accomplish with Advanced Actions.
System Variables are variables that are “built in” to Adobe Captivate. They allow you to do things such as display the display the current date, pause or play a slide, and show the course author name. By combining variables and Advanced Actions, you can accomplish many things that you might not have thought were possible with Adobe Captivate. We have covered a lot of information in this post. I would suggest that you launch Captivate and explore the Advanced Actions panel to further familiarize yourself with the items that we just discussed.
In our next post, we will take a closer look at the Standard Actions and provide video and a samples file. Check back soon for the update!