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Wow! there are certainly a lot of issues in this one question. Let me start with the big one. How are you delivering your courseware? Is it a stand alone or is it being delivered via a SCORM compliant LMS? This is important because if it is through an LMS, branching from one program to another without LMS involvement is either not allowed or frowned on, depending on whom you ask.
As a general rule, Captivate performes better on several small files rather than one large one. It simply becomes a question of who the smaller files are accessed.
Let me know.
The past versions were CDs and on-line. I have no idea what SCORM or LMS are. (sigh) We just had the user take a final exam and if they made 80% or higher, they were given continuing educaiton credit units via our corporate office.
Ok. Your AW program IS NOT using a Learning Management System (SCORM or otherwise), it is simply writing the user info to a .txt file located on the user's hard drive in the system32 folder. If that is all you need for record keeping, that simplifies things.
I would consider making up a menu program with each of the topics listed. I would create an individual Captivate program for each topic. One of the topics would be the final exam, and you can use the E-mail results capability to send the user results to any mailbox.
This may sound complicated, but one of the main beauties of Captivate is that it really assumes that the Author is not a programmer. You can create a template that contains all of your "static" stuff (backgrounds, navigation buttons if you need them, etc.) so that you can concentrate on creating new or updating your "old" AW content.
You may want to pick up IconLogic's Essentials of Captivate 3 or Rick Stone's Tips and Tricks and learn more to help ease your mind. If you liked AW, you will have no major issue mastering Captivate.