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.