Captivate 2 bug: FTP breaks SCORM packaging

If you use the current release of Captivate 2 to make elearning intended for an LMS, then do not use the built-in FTP. Likewise, do not use the current Captivate 2 release with FTP and PENS.

When the FTP box is checked, Captivate 2 makes invalid SCORM 1.2 and invalid SCORM 2004 packages. Under these conditions Captivate 2 puts the required zip-archive root-level files like "imsmanifest.xml" down in a directory structure 4-5 levels deep.

   Captivate 2 Elearning Output published with FTP
Captivate 2 Invalid SCORM output published with FTP

   Captivate 2 Elearning Output published locally
Captivate 2 valid SCORM output published locally

This means that when FTP is used, the resulting zip file that gets transferred to the server is NOT valid, whether it is SCORM 1.2 or SCORM 2004. Adobe was notified of this issue last Fall and confirmed the problem. At the time of this post I can not find a tech note about this issue.

The workaround is to not use the built-in FTP. Instead, use the Publish Dialog to publish for Flash (SWF), select the "Output Options" to Zip files and under "Project Information" select the desired eLearning output format for your package. Finally, after Captivate publishes the zip package locally, use a third party FTP tool or other LMS import capabilities to transfer the valid SCORM package to the LMS. This will give you a better shot at having the package import into your LMS (or LCMS).

   Captivate 2 Publish Dialog settings for local publishing of packages
Captivate 2 Invalid SCORM output published with FTP

Two final notes on this topic. First, this bug means PENS doesn’t really work. The work around there is to "trick" Captivate 2 by publishing to one FTP address, and then configuring the Captivate PENS settings to use an alternate URL that has a valid package staged by other means. For anything other than testing the capabilities of an LMS server, I wouldn’t bother with this approach– it sort of defeats the intended simplicity of PENS to manually FTP and publish twice to order to get a single package to an LCMS/LMS.

The second note is that there may be other issues with Captivate content communicating to an LMS. I’ve received private email from one content developer about some issues and heard from another contact that other settings may not work as intended/advertised. I’ve yet to verify these, but will post more information once this can be confirmed or denied.

About Tom King

Tom King has a master's degree in Instructional Design and 15 years experience developing and managing elearning materials. Tom has been active with many elearning technology specification groups, including ADL SCORM, AICC, IEEE LTSC, and others. He served as AICC Communications Chairman and workgroup leader for the PENS specification. Tom was instrumental in early implementations of LMS specifications for LAN and web-based systems as an early AICC advocate and founder of Solis, maker of Pathware (acquired by Macromedia and later transferred to IBM as LearningSpace 4). Tom continues to collaborate with colleagues from a variety of companies offering enterprise-class elearning solutions.
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