First Thoughts on Captivate’s Project Charm

Today I watched the Keynote for Adobe eLearning World 2021, particularly the section on the future of Adobe Captivate. Project Charm is Adobe’s effort to create the next version of Captivate. It appears to be a nice visual update with a few productivity improvements but otherwise nothing too revolutionary was shown. A beta program was promised before the end of the year.

Visual Updates

The visual layout and look was modern and similar to other Adobe products. It looked clean and uncluttered. The basic layout of Captivate mainly remained the same. It wasn’t clear to me if the clean look was solely the new visuals or that some things weren’t yet implemented in the software demonstrated.

Productivity Updates

The more interesting thing shown was some automations designed to speed up highly repetitive tasks like adjusting object timing on the timeline to be sequential and adding animations to multiple design elements. Given the sometimes tedious nature of e-learning work this should be a very helpful thing indeed. It remains to be seen what limited set of automations the programmers will provide in the final product. Some of the automations are focused on creating actions on the timeline without the need to create variables and the like. Again, tedium reduction that might be very useful.

Not Seen 

What I didn’t see, and it may just be due to an early preview, was any hint of programmability. They didn’t show the Actions dialogs (advanced or shared or otherwise) for example. It is unclear how the automations affect the ability to create custom actions.  There was also no indication if the ability to use Javascript remains. Articulate weakened the capability of their Javascripting between Storyline 2 and Storyline 360 and I hope that Adobe doesn’t do the same. In fact I wish they would expand it.

What I’d Like to See

Captivate releases can glacial in their speed of arrival. We have been awaiting for updates for some time so I hope this one won’t be limited to just what we saw today. Captivate really needs a big jump in capability, especially in the area of course logic and a much better quiz system with far fewer limitations. Having a tool that combines the ease of use that I saw today with Captivate and the ability to program intricate logic and functionality like Adobe Animate would be awesome. C’mon Adobe, if you care about this space, build a tool like that!

What Would You Like to See?

Let me know in the comments what you thought about Adobe’s Project Charm and what you would like to see in the ultimate e-learning development tool. Is it time to just return to web development in creating online learning?