Adobe has officially announced Captivate 4 and the Adobe eLearning Suite.

The eLearning Suite is basically a version of the Adobe Creative Suite geared towards e-learning developers. It includes Adobe Presenter (PowerPoint-to-SWF converter) and Adobe Captivate 4.

My first thought upon finding out about the eLearning Suite a few months ago: “Why should I buy the eLearning Suite if since I already have CS3/CS4? The only real difference seems to be the inclusion of Captivate, which I can get separately, and Presenter, which I probably won’t even use.”

The answer is that the versions of Flash and Dreamweaver that come with the eLearning Suite include elearning-specific add-ons: the new Learning Interactions for Flash, and the Course Builder extension for Dreamweaver. These add-ons are completely new, written from the ground-up, and despite the old name are not the same Learning Interactions and Course Builder that have shipped with prior versions of Flash and Dreamweaver. The kicker is that (from what I’ve been told) these add-ons will NOT be available separately and can only be obtained by purchasing the entire suite. *sigh*

If I were starting from scratch and was trying to choose a version of the Creative Suite to buy today, I’d be very tempted to get the eLearning Suite. However, as an owner of (multiple copies of) the CS4 suite, I’m not about to shell out big $$ for the eLearning Suite. Frankly, this lack of sympathy for loyal existing customers — who have already spent a small fortune — is quite disappointing. I can’t understand why this all-or-nothing approach is being taken, especially in an economy that will almost certainly cause already meager training budgets to drop significantly. I’m hoping the decision will be revisited, because I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way.

As for Captivate 4, if you’re an existing Captivate user, it’s a worthy upgrade. There are a number of useful new features, the most notable being the (limited) scripting capability and the new aggregator tool.

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  1. Still 600 bucks after you spent 1600 on a CS4 license last fall? That’s just nutty, kinda like when you have to buy a pkg when you want the moonroof on your new car. Why do i have to take the special color coordinated rearview mirror trim just so i can get a moonroof? It’s easy-it makes the customer spend more money than they planned.

    Thanks i’ll just continue to use the the AS scorm api class i have and build my own interactions. So sick of this money grab they play. If your going to do this AT LEAST release it at the same timeas the other suites so you know the choices (not 5 months later). Captivate is nice though.

  2. I spend my whole day in either Flex Builder or Flash cs4 and it is painfully frustrating that the learning interactions can’t be purchased separately. I can see where large companies probably wouldn’t bat an eyelash at $1600 but when it comes out of your own pocket that’s a hard pill adobe is handing us to swallow.

  3. I’m pretty ticked about this too, because I just got upgraded to CS4 at work last week (I’ve had it at home for a while). There’s no way I can request the e-learning version now.

    Another thing that ticks me off is that they chose Photoshop over Fireworks. I like FW much more than Photoshop.

  4. I was waiting for this to launch before upgrading from CS3, but I find Adobe’s pricing debilitating. It’s absurd to charge that much money. The problem is, most people/companies still fork it over, so as a business, why should they change?

    Now, I’m all about treating your customers right, so there’s something to be said for adjusting their pricing for loyal, long-time customers. The fact that they’re not offering the e-learning extras as add-ons for a small fee is stupid, too. Have you called anyone at Adobe on this, Philip?

    I’m waiting for my new laptop (at work) before I get the $600 package.

  5. Yes, I also find the practice to be quite alarming. At the CS4 launch I attended in 2008, there was not the slightest hint that this product/bundle was going to emerge. Our organization specifically wanted to migrate to a Flash based tool to create e-learning as the existing tool was no longer supported. CS4 Web Premium was identified as the closest match. Without question, the new offering is the exact match to our needs… but try get approval now for such a pricey add-on (when you already have 90% of the tools in your CS4 suite). It’s madness – and very questionable (unethical) marketing strategies on the part of Adobe. Rest assured I will be looking to competing products in the future. Since the Macromedia/Adobe merge, it just seems that we now deal with a juggernaut that has lost sight of the client.

  6. You can’t be serious about the cost of the suite?! $1600 for the bundle…have you read what’s included? You buy 3 of those programs alone and you’re already at that price. With the additional add-ons and enhance interactivity between the whole bundle, it’s ludacris to complain about that price.


    The fact that there was no hint that this package was coming and therefore allowing customers to upgrade to CS4 with no knowledge of this new release, that is equally, if not MORE, ludacris!

    That is not fair to customers and I have to agree that this merger MAY be an early indication that Adobe is losing sight of its customer.

    Granted, this is a specifically designed suite targeted towards e-learning designers and developers, but I just hope Adobe remembers who it is that caused them to become the leaders in their field(s).

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