Somehow I made it through more than 3 years and 150 LMSs without seeing or reviewing the Adobe Captivate Prime LMS. Recently, several clients asked me about it by name, so I headed to the Adobe website for a first-hand look. I am already a limited member of the Adobe community — I rely on the Adobe Sign service to digitally sign PDFs and use Adobe Stock for my photos and graphics. Since I was already logged-in as an Adobe user, I initiated a 30-day free trial of Adobe Captivate Prime with just one click. Easy.
The application is divided into four primary roles: Administrator, Integration Administrator, Author and Learner. Users can toggle back and forth between roles they have been assigned appropriate permission. In each of the four areas, tutorials guide the way. Adobe wisely assumes that potential customers need a successful 30-day trial to seriously consider a purchase and “self-service” setup tutorials are essential to a strong start.
I am impressed with the look, feel and functionality of Captivate Prime. Its modern design is relatively easy to learn and navigate. Although this LMS is designed for small-to-medium sized organizations, it is more powerful than I expected. It is an employee-centered learning solution designed with compliance, skills development, administrative ease and affordability in mind.
From a content perspective, the LMS makes it simple to organize and manage documents, job aids, courses, learning plans and certifications. A content management system in the background lets you upload a document or SCORM module once and use it as a standalone element or integrated into any number of courses or certifications. Update it once, and it is updated wherever it is used. That’s a smart approach.
Also on the administrative side, SCORM, AICC, xAPI, videos, digital documents, virtual classrooms and instructor-led training (ILT) can be managed in one or more catalogs you can create — for internal or external audiences. ILT support is only very basic, with “write-in” vs. “pick-from-a-list” instructors and training locations at the course level. This isn’t highly automated and is not ideal if your organization relies heavily on ILT. Not surprisingly, Adobe Captivate Prime works best with Adobe Connect (virtual classroom) and Adobe Captivate (authoring tool) but it relies on technology standards to generally support others virtual classroom and authoring tools.
You can define skills with proficiency levels and they are reasonably configurable. Skills are tied to badge acquisition and/or successful content completion. Social learning is limited to discussion forums, and there is basic gamification for a one-size-fits-all points and participation badge system, as well as custom badges that can be awarded for content completion.
Captivate Prime also provides several helpful capabilities for serving global learning audiences. Content can be presented in up to 10 languages and administrators can conveniently manage localized versions of a single content item — which is a huge time-saver for global content management.
I was surprised that Adobe Captivate Prime is not designed with a “mobile responsive” interface. If you use a smartphone or tablet and access the LMS through a browser, the LMS text is small/hard to read — and requires you zoom, pan and scroll excessively. Android and Apple mobile LMS apps are available for download but since my phone was out of memory, I couldn’t download and test the app. I’m sure I’m not alone with memory constraints, which is why the LMS design should be responsive.
Captivate Prime pricing is simple at $4/registered user/month with “registered” defined as an available active account. This model is great for employee learning programs but it is not ideal for extended enterprise learning.
Strengths of Adobe Captivate Prime include:
- Free trial
- Plenty of clear self-service tutorials and free support
- Ease of use
- Modern UI with quick response
- Good LMS for small, simple solutions
- Simple pricing
- Good capabilities for course, training plan and certification management
- Skills focus
- Content integrations with Lynda and Harvard Mentor Manager
- Global content management
There’s room for improvement in several areas:
- Lack of responsive design requires mobile users to download app
- Gamification and social are minimal; require more enhancements such as leaderboards and social homepage widgets
- Not designed for selling content directly through the LMS. However, it supports B2B commerce if transactions are managed outside of the LMS
- User training completion transcripts are merely unformatted Excel dumps
My Overall Assessment
Adobe Captivate Prime is a clean, modern, easy-to-use LMS that makes a lot of sense for small businesses on their first or second learning platform. It’s a great choice if you are getting started with an employee LMS and previously managed skills or compliance manually on a local or global level. Since it is part of the much broader Adobe suite of learning and digital business applications, there are certainly performance and integration advantages from tying together authoring, LMS, virtual delivery tools and much more in a holistic solution. I look forward to seeing what is ahead on Adobe’s roadmap for Captivate Prime.
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Adobe Captivate Prime Vitals
What is Adobe Captivate Prime?
Adobe says: It’s a next-gen Learning Management System (LMS) that delivers personalized learning experiences across multiple devices. Align all online and offline enterprise-wide learning initiatives to skill, upskill and reskill your employees.
Target Learning Scenarios
- Small-to-medium businesses with basic employee compliance and skills training
- Global audiences
- Although the LMS supports external audiences, it is not designed to support individuals or organizations involved with ecommerce-driven learning
Setup and Configuration
- Great tutorials appear as the first screen when switching from one role to another (for example, admin to learner)
- Self setup and configuration
- Free 30-day trial signup is easy and delivers immediate access
- $4/registered user/month straight-up. No volume discounts indicated, but for larger audiences, it makes sense to contact sales and attempt to negotiate
- Adobe defines “registered user” as a person with an active account they can log into. This model is good for employee learning, but not ideal for managing external audiences — especially unknown potential customers in a commercial training environment
Hosting and Deployment Options
- Cloud SaaS
- Managers can recommend and approve training for learners
- Course-level notifications — reminders/escalations
- Recurring certifications
- Basic certificate of completion reporting in Excel format
- Can upload files and then assemble into courses. Documents reside in a central repository that can be reused in different courses — for easy updates and replacement. However, the workflow when uploading a document is rather odd. You upload and name the doc, then specify how many minutes to complete and hit “save.” You are routed back to the master list of documents, but when you click again on a content item to edit it, new fields for “Completion Criteria” show up. This means you have to create, save, open, edit and resave for each piece of content. Double work, ouch
- Courses can be assembled into Learning Plans or Certifications
- Easy to duplicate existing courses
- Support for SCORM 1.2, 2004, AICC, xAPI, video, audio, pdf, Office
- Generic credit tracking — X credits awarded for successful course completion
- Overarching ability for learners to accumulate points for learning, skills or references and try to achieve a generic Bronze/Silver/Gold/Platinum badge that looks like it was designed in 1999 (if there were badges in those days)
- A library of other badges lets you upload a graphic and name it. When creating courses, you can associate the badge and award for successful course completion and/or skill attainment
- Currently, gamification is one of the least configurable areas of the LMS (because you can’t really change the way it works). Take it or leave it
- For content creation, you can add content in 1 of 15 languages. When you do, you can enter localized title, tags, description and duration and then upload a new piece of content. This provides the administrative advantage of having one piece of content and managing all the localized versions of that content as once piece of content. It also offers learners the advantage of selecting (via profile) a course in their native language
- Languages supported: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Suomi, Danish, Polish, Japanese, Chinese (and a few more I couldn’t read)
- Only nine of these languages are available for interface localization
Instructor-Led Training Management
- Schedule courses, times, instances (sections)
- Very basic — admins need to enter a location and instructor but this must be manually entered. No built-in directory of locations, facilities or instructors
- Establish seat limit for each classroom module
- Instructor tools to manage simple waitlist and attendance tracking
- Specific “integration administrator” role
- Productized integrations include Adobe Connect, Salesforce and Captivate Prime FTP. Simply enter your API code and the integration is automatically established
- Content integrations include Get Abstract, Lynda and Harvard ManageMentor
- Open API and developer guide for technical buyers to create and upload their own app integrations
- When resizing my browser window on a laptop, there was no screen resizing in learner or admin mode. Bad news
- Logged in from my Android phone via browser and definitely non-responsive but it did prompt me to download the app. (Luckily I was wearing my reading glasses)
- I couldn’t download the app because I’m perennially out of memory — which is why I prefer responsive design plus apps, rather than apps alone
Domains and Other Organization Grouping
- No true domain separation but the ability to create “external” user groups, designate # of seat licenses, delegate administrator/manager and set expiration dates
- Ability to create custom and automatic groups
- Custom groups let you add users individually, those that report and roles
- Autogenerated groups are essentially “roles” that admins can assign training to (for example: all students, all admins)
- Ability to have different user profile fields for internal and external user groups
- Ability to create internal and external audience groups and group content into catalogs that can be shared with external users
- Upload csv file of users with custom field capability
- Nice reporting configurability and reasonable ability to create custom reports
- Can add reports, configure, filter and show status for each course or globally
- Can create, save, share and schedule reports for automatic delivery
- Ability to turn any report into a dashboard and create multiple dashboards for different users
Skills and Competencies
- Define skills and levels of skills
- Award skill and level for course completion
- Appears that defining a skill in course creation is mandatory. (Note: As soon as you make something mandatory, you have a buyer that doesn’t need it)
Social Learning Functionality
- Basic discussion board capability
- Basic logo, color and URL branding configuration
- Administrators can configure learner interface using built-in”widgets.” For example: Recommended Training, Upcoming Training, Skills, Status Dashboard and Job Aides
- For some reason, catalog and ability to search for courses is buried a click down from the learner homepage. Bring it forward
- In catalog, can use tags, skills, type of course or status to find courses
- Admins can create any number of catalogs with custom content assigned. Nice
- Learner transcript is an unformatted Excel dump
- Ability to generically support any virtual tool. Admins need to create the virtual session in the virtual tool (such as GotoMeeting or Zoom) and then copy the URL and CC# into the LMS when recreating the session in LMS
- Tighter auto integration with Adobe Connect that allows admins to select Connect template, select instructors and configure completion criteria based on % of session watched
Thanks for reading!
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