Why Adobe Captivate Prime Announcement Is Exciting AND Disappointing

Why Adobe Captivate Prime Announcement Is Exciting AND Disappointing
Summary: Last week, Adobe announced that it was coming out with its own Learning Management System (LMS), Adobe Captivate Prime. In this article I will share both what I find exciting and what I find disappointing about this Learning Management System.

The Pros And Cons Of Adobe Captivate Prime  

This subscription-based Learning Management System allows all SCORM-compliant content to be uploaded, regardless of whether the content was developed using Adobe Captivate or other non-Adobe course authoring software. The subscription pricing is based on the number of registered users, and the minimum number is 100 users per organization. Captivate Prime includes enterprise support, so the “early adopter fear” can be mitigated with 24/7 Adobe support. There is also an inbuilt Learning Content Management System (LCMS), adding a rapid authoring element to the system. Best of all, in my opinion, Captivate Prime features “The Fluidic Player,” which should enable smooth content integration for the designers and unified playback experience for the learner.

Why Adobe Captivate Prime Is Exciting?

If you are an Instructional Designer who has spent countless painstaking hours authoring SCORM-compliant content only to find out that the Learning Management System designated to host your content does not support that type of content, then you are probably as excited about Captivate Prime as I am. If you are authoring content for a traditional Learning Management System, like Blackboard or Moodle, then you probably have not run into this specific issue (although both Blackboard and Moodle do have unique hiccups when it comes to hosting certain file types, but that is an issue for another day).

However, if you are a freelancer like I am and you work for a variety of different clients with a variety of technical capabilities and training budgets, you have learned first-hand the getting interactive files loaded onto a Learning Management System can be a challenge. Especially if your client is a smaller organization without the budget to support using anything more robust than open-source Moodle, or one of the variety of hosting sites who label themselves as eLearning sites floating around out there.

If your organization or client wants you to deliver a training video with no interaction, then you are good to go with pretty much every Learning Management System and pseudo- Learning Management System out there. But adding any level of interaction, or a quiz element, produces a file that many of these sites cannot support. The “fluidic player”, which provides a single playback option for a variety of eLearning file types, eliminates the risk of uploading content that is not compatible with the Learning Management System because it makes the content plug-and-play. This benefits the learner because they will not have to run an external application, like Real Time Player or Flash Player, and have to worry about whether it is up-to-date, or whether they even have to application installed to begin with.

So, Then, Why Is Adobe Captivate Prime Disappointing?

“Beth, you are impossible to please! Why isn’t this enough for you?” I hear you, dear reader. I hate to look a gift horse in the mouth, I am thrilled that Adobe has thrown its hat into the Learning Management System ring, but I am not ready to shout from the rooftops just yet.

The problem I have run into over and over again as a freelancer working with entrepreneurs and small businesses is the fact that most legitimate Learning Management Systems are unattainable for these clients. They do not have the quantity of users and/or the budget to justify using a traditional Learning Management System. The Learning Management System model is pretty much exclusively aimed at academic institutions and corporate training organizations with hundreds of users and millions of dollars to spend. My average client is a one-person company looking to sell their course to their audience, which could be hundreds of people, or even thousands of people, but could also just be tens of people, especially at the initial launch of the content.

There is a fast-growing market out of independent eLearning content generators who are posting their content on any site that is capable of supporting it. More often than not, it is a WordPress site with a plug-in that enables embedded videos, with zero built-in interactive elements. There are Captivate plug-ins for WordPress sites, but the plug-ins simply allow the user to view the Captivate file. They do not allow for self-grading of quizzes, or recording quiz grades (or any grade book element, really), or completion tracking. A robust, subscription-based Learning Management System like Captivate Prime could be a perfect solution for small quantity content producers, and for non-traditional eLearning content generators like retailers and public figures. Many of these content generators are not looking for a quizzing or grading feature, but would still benefit from the Learning Content Management Systems and fluidic player. Including interactions and widgets would vastly improve many of these eLearning events.

If Adobe could create a subscription level for this niche market, it would open a world of possibilities for the non-traditional eLearning market. However, Captivate Prime does not solve this problem quite yet, because of the 100 user minimum and the lack of eCommerce support in the Learning Management System. If these issues were addressed, Captivate Prime could be a key tool for legitimizing eLearning content from non-traditional content generators.