I love me some Captivate, but if you think you will use it to "fully import" PowerPoint and have it all nice and editable once inside Captivate, you would be sorely mistaken.
Any changes MUST occur in PowerPoint. So consider Captivate to be really more of a simple way to import a PowerPoint and create SWF or maybe HTML 5 or even a video from the source PowerPoint. Although, the newest versions of PowerPoint are quite capable of creating video content themselves. So if you really wanted just a video, you may as well just do it from PowerPoint!
I facilitate Captivate classes. In so so many cases I observe crestfallen faces when folks that are all hopped up about PowerPoint and Captivate actually learn about how it works. (or doesn't, based on their expectations)
What we need is something to convert our PPT into content that allows synchronous use and is SCORM compliant. PPTX is sooo close it's astounding that MS hasn't seen the utility of extending the ap that much more. But that's another debate.
So the word I've heard is that Captivate is hardly an ultimate solution - it doesn't even review that well with the e-Learning pundits. BUT, it is not going to vanish, or go to hell like Articulate Studio 13 has. (Talk about a waste of money . . .)
It _appears_ that Captivate has a bunch of enhancements you can overlay on your ppt. Although templates and appearance gee-gaws don't impress me since I work with a blank palette.
An advantage that Captivate has is the "cloud" subscription. I can dump it after the few months it will take to know if I really want it. But during that few months I need to be productive and want to avoid any further use of Articulate.
I also know that Captivate will run on my IT infrastructure. We are hobbled with a clown-circus in the IT department which is crippled with an Indian Bureaucracy mentality and a staff uninterested in assisting their users be more productive.We still don't even have Net Framewoork 4.5! It's "under evaluation". Maybe they will decide in a few years.
Thanks for your straight answer Rick!
Actually...to add further cautions to Rick's comments...
I tend to see the PPT to Captivate import as a bit of a hack, not really a true 'conversion'. Slides in PPT get converted to either static background graphics. Or if they involve animation, then they get converted into video clips. Either result means that you cannot really edit the objects ON the slides with Captivate itself. Everuthing is still quite stuck inside PPT.
You can either LINK or EMBED the PPT into the Captivate project. Linking has the advantage that the PPT remains outside the project, but has the disadvantage that changes to the source PPT can also result in it becoming UN-linked and requiring RE-linking again. Embedding the PPT inside the CPTX file means it gets carried along but also then bloats the size of the CPTX.
Since Captivate doesn't actually convert your PPT captions, shapes or other screen objects into Cp's equivalent objects, anytime you want to make even slight changes to the content means you end up editing via a PPT interface again. (Captivate has one built in for you to use.) However, in practice I find this workflow quite tedious, especially if you happen to have objects on the slide timeline that you wanted to synchronise to appear or animate in synch with specific words in the voiceover clip that you add in Cp AFTER importing the PPT. Having all of the slide objects built from the ground up in Captivate is a MUCH better way to create this type of e-learning content.
YES you CAN overlay some Cp stuff over the top of the PPT background, but in most cases you'll find those options quite limiting in comparison to what you WOULD have been able to do if the content on the same slide was Captivate all the way through.
Your comment about being able to 'dump' the subscription arrangement after a few months betrays the fact that you haven't really studied the whole subscription model from Adobe. When you sign up for the subscription you are locked into a minimum 12 month contract. You can bail out before 30 days are up if you're really unhappy. But once you stick with the subscription longer than one month you are obligated to pay for the entire 12 month period even if you decide to stop using it after 3 months or so.
And finally...your mention of the clown-circus IT environment prompts me to warn you that Captivate MUST be launched with Run As Administrator privileges, which has proven almost impossible to procure for average users in other clown-circus IT departments...Indian or otherwise. You would be wise to try installing and running the Captivate 8 trial version product for a month BEFORE you jump in to ensure that your standard IT operating environment is compatible. (Captivate also doesn't like IT virtualization or use of roaming user profiles, which is something very much in vogue with clown-circuses elsewhere.)
Hope I haven't rained on your parade, but I though it wise to inform you...given your previous experiences with Articulate.
Will add some alternatives for real PPT converters. Adobe has Adobe Presenter that is a PPT plugin, and comes with a companion file, the Adobe Video Express, an easy way to create quickly demo videos. Presenter certainly has not all the features of Captivate, no one will doubt I am addicted to it, but it also comes with a subscription license if wanted with the same restriction that you have to sign up for at least one year.
Since this forum is not censored (not the case for all other companies), I also want to mention another PPT plug-in which is iSpring. I'm not using it myself (you know, addicted to.. and moreover a PPT-hater) but do hear lots of good comments about iSpring.
I'll second Lilybiri's iSpring recommendation, as it sounds like what you could really use is a good PPT-based authoring tool. Far from being a simple web-conversion program, there are several additional tools (narration editor, character wizard, etc.) included standard in all the PPT-to-Flash/HTML5 offerings, and for a few bucks more, you can get a quizmaker and a tool for creating interactive elements to insert on PPT slides.
Good luck in your search for a decent authoring tool!
@Brian Want to clarify again, that I don't consider Powerpoint a good start for eLearning at all, it is and remains basically a presentation tool (and I have been presenting since over 25 years with even better presentation tools than PPT). If you want a real rapid eLearning authoring tool, Captivate is way superior to all PPT plug-ins. This personal opinion is based on almost 40years of teaching all kind of subjects. The same context makes me smiling in a skeptical way when I listen to the prophets of flipped classes proclaiming video lectures can replace perfectly classroom lectures. If students are sleeping in a real lecture hall because the professor is not able to engage them, they'll just sleep more comfortable when watching the same lecture on video. Use the right tool for the goal you want to achieve: a presentation tool for presentations, an eLearning tool for real eLearning assets. Adding quizzes and some interactive elements to a presentation is not my idea of engaging eLearning.
@Lilybiri Thanks for taking the time to share your experience! I can't agree more with your comments about snoozing students. Not sure if this is the appropriate venue for an extended conversation about this stuff, but I'd love to pick your brain just a little bit more. Specifically in regard to effective e-learning: of course we all know that there is a time and a place for e-learning, such as when there aren't enough resources to provide enough face-time for each student, or in a "flip-the-classroom" setting, where lectures are given as homework and class-time is used for conversation.
Based on my (frankly quite limited) experience, it seems that adding human elements like characters can increase e-learners' engagement with the process, even despite the artificial environment of an e-course.