Adobe has launched Captivate 3 software, an eLearning authoring tool for the delivery of computer-based simulations, scenario-based training, and interactive quizzes.

Captivate 3 offers enhanced features, including multi-mode, recording, rerecording, new Microsoft PowerPoint import capabilities and support for rich media formats, such as Adobe Flash Player compatible .SWF, MP3, and AVI files. Adobe says that Captivate is easily mastered, without the need for programming or multimedia development skills -- and can save business professionals, trainers and educators time and resources when developing high-impact eLearning materials.

Captivate 3 allows learning professionals to create software training in a simple screen capture session. The screen capture generates multiple learner modes, including demonstrations with mouse movements and automated text descriptions of each recorded task, practice simulations with instructional automated or customized feedback, and assessments with scored user interactions.

The software enables authors to create quizzes and helps reduce cheating by randomly drawing questions from a pool and shuffling answers in multiple-choice formats. Captivate 3 also offers a large library of quiz question types, including sequencing, short answer, fill-in-the-blank, true/false, matching with drag and drop, and image hotspots. The new rerecording feature captures actions taken in Internet Explorer Web applications, enabling learning professionals to build interactive software demonstrations with step-by-step instructions.

The enhanced Microsoft PowerPoint import functionality supports the conversion of slide animations into Flash format and allows authors to create interactive presentations, incorporating audio and video. Support for SWF, MP3, AVI, FLA and FLV files, as well as add new visual effects such as rollover objects and animated slide transitions add impact to demonstrations and materials.

Based on Flash technology, Adobe Captivate 3 software automatically generates interactive Flash Player-compatible content, allowing files to be emailed, posted to Web sites, intranet sites, online help systems and more. The new XML export and import feature simplifies the localization process of projects by exporting captions to the XML Localization Interchange File Format (XLIFF).

Captivate 3 will be available for Windows 2000, XP and Vista and is expected to ship in August or later this summer at an estimated price of £287.88 -- or £145.30 as an upgrade. Both prices exclude VAT.