Product: Raptivity

Raptivity is an interaction tool. Its target audience is the rapid content authoring tool market, but while it tries to hit it, it also misses at many levels.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a product that offers some really great features, but it constant pitching within the product to upsell, becomes irritating, so much so, I easily can see someone blasting it into recycle bin space.

Welcome to Confusion

The solution I looked at was their base, Raptivity Essentials and it comes with a “select pack” called “Zest”, which for some reason on their pricing is shown as a separate option.

Raptivity calls their product an interaction tool with templates, games, simulations, etc. According to the site the solution comes with 245 interactions.

This is somewhat erroneous. In order to achieve that, you have to buy all their packs and the HTML5 pack.  But, in order to buy any of the additional packs, you must first own either Essentials or Zest.

Oh, one other thing. Before you use the product, you must have Flash 8.0 installed (minimum) and Net Framework 2.0 (which they provided a link).

Good

  • Preview in Real Time, while you are customizing your interaction, game, simulation, activity, etc.
  • Extensive help on each screen, explaining what the interaction is, benefits, and explanation, inc. highlighted words for more info
  • Interaction views and selections include “Bloom Taxonomy, Gagne Nine Events, Keller’s ARCS model, Experimental Learning
  • SCORM 2004/1.2, AICC, 508 and SWF
  • Preview before selecting the interaction you want, includes option to expand to full screen, and really robust
  • A lot of interactions, the Essentials pack comes with 35
  • When starting a new interactivity, begins in a Wizard mode and then upon completion goes into customization mode
  • Has a spell checker – which is great, may of these products including some RCATs don’t
  • Essentials has interactions that beat Articulate’s interactions
  • Saving to Favorites is easy, but my Learning theories – while interesting – i.e. you can create your own learning theory – really serves no purpose

Average

  • Essentials pack – comes with two Glossaries options and two FAQ – when did those become full interactive experiences that stimulate learning?
  • Interactions include: Brainteasers, Presentation Aids, Interactive Diagrams, Surveys, Flow Diagrams, Software Sims, Glossary, Interactive Questions, SCORM Objects, Miscellaneous (more on this in a sec)
  • Offers two views – Thumbnail or Explorer – think drill down
  • The main interface, where you customize your interaction, is okay, some of it could be better – space issues
  • Output interface is solid, again not phenom, but solid
  • On the top of each interaction before you select it – identifies the capabilities that are included: import/export, snap control, audio, enhanced editing options, section 508
  • Comes with four fonts – the standards
  • Multiple category views – perhaps too many

Poor

  • Upsell to other packs – you see in their description of the interactivity you select, and also in the right panel on additional information
  • Previews of templates, interactions that do not come with your pack.  Example: Under the Knowledge category, they list 36 interactions, 27 are previews available in other packs, 9 are in your pack
  • Upselling – did I mention this? I couldn’t decide if the product was geared to me creating interactions or buying more of their products – definite distraction
  • One category lists “Synthesis” yet, in the Essentials pack there aren’t any – so why is it in there? Oh yeah, it is one of the learning models
  • Is it SCORM 1.2 or 2004? One of the interactions says it is only for SCORM 1.2, yet when you go to output and select SCORM 2004, it says it worked
  • Video files are .FLV only
  • In one view – the customization view, the icon for sound, when clicked says parameters, not sound – yet in the other modes it’s sound
  • Raptivity interface is in English only. For the interactions, within the text box, you can type in another language, but everything else remains in English

Basics

To start Raptivity,  you click on the shortcut on your desktop. Yes, this is a desktop solution and not SaaS.

After clicking the button, you go right into the product.

You are provided with three options

  • Recently Customized Interactivies
  • Customize Interactivity – two choices: new interactivity, open existing interactivity or interactivity samples
  • Introducing Raptivity – includes help


To create a new interactivity, select “New Interactivity”. Next you will select from the interaction models. There are quite a few to choose from. The default is the thumbnail view.

Interaction Screen

It appears as a window, with the left side identifying all the interaction categories. The center of the screen specifics on whatever you selected on the left panel

Interaction Categories (default: Thumbnail)

  • All Packs – the default screen, shows you want packs you have. The base is Essentials
  • All Categories – identifies the interaction models, whereas you click on them and it shows the interactions that you for that pack. For essentials you have brainteasers, presentation aids, interactive diagrams, surveys, flow diagrams, software sims, glossary, interactive questions, overview visuals, SCORM objects and Miscellaneous

  • All Select Packs – Zest is shipped with Raptivity
  • All Select Categories – In this case, it is the Zest interactions: Jazzed up presentation, encourage exploration, reinforce learning, test knowledge, get feedback and provide ready reference
  • All Interaction Models – everything that is in the Essential Pack
  • Bloom’s Taxonomy – which shows the sub categories – knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation  – it should be noted that under each sub category thumbnail it shows all the interactions, not the one you just purchased. You will know this because it says “preview”. Knowledge  36 interactions, 27 were preview – that means you got 9 in your Essential pack
  • Gagne’s Nine Events
  • Keller’s ARCS Model
  • Experimental Learning
  • My Examples – your most customized interactions are saved – thus reducing time to replicate
  • My Favorites – same as above, but excluding the word “customized” – to me it seems redundant, I would ditch my examples and hybrid the two together
  • My Learning Theories – Yep, create your own. To begin you click “new learning theory” and then become the next Gagne or whomever


I don’t know about you, but I was physically exhausted going through them all.

At times it seemed to be too many choices, and since many replicated what you saw on previous choices, confusing. A simple way to do this, make it simple. This is just one of the examples of where Raptivity tries too hard to be many things, and instead creates challenges that honestly are unnecessary.

Select your new interaction and begin

The interaction opens up a “wizard window”, which identifies the interaction you selected, and helps you setup the interaction.

After you finish, the next screen is your customization screen. This is not your edit screen, from which to work from.

On the top of the screen is the toolbar

  • New
  • Open
  • Save
  • Delete
  • Preview
  • Publish
  • Help

The center of the screen is the interaction, from which you customize. It is a real time preview window, so any changes you make will appear quickly. I personally liked this feature, and I wish in general content authoring tools would have it in conjunction with the view in browser window.

The left side is your tree, in hierarchy fashion. Below that, is your target size – which you can change, because its default is 715×500.

Oh in the center of the screen, you can switch to different views, including thumbnails. This is also where the sound icon, when clicked becomes a parameters window.

Edit mode -Now this is the screen you edit your customization

The toolbar on the top of the screen changes and on the right of the screen is this extensive help section.

The middle is your interaction, and below that is where you can begin your customizations.  I am unsure why they decided to put the most important part of the editing at the bottom of the screen, especially when it often requires you to scroll down to continue the editing, and not place this on the left side of the screen.

The editing includes the ability to change the background colors, change text, add images – in some cases change the image from the initial interaction, add music or audio.

Each change you make is seen in real time on your preview screen.  When you are satisfied with your interaction and test it out, click “save” and then you are ready to publish.

Publish

  • SCORM 1.2, 2004, AICC
  • Javascript, Flash Shared Object
  • Output up to LMS
  • File options: Single Flash, Multiple File Format or Mobile output

Pricing

While Raptivity offers a variety of pricing, based on which pack you choose, they do offer four main options. A discount is available, but only if you are a non-profit, government or in the education sector.

  • Essentials – $795 USD, comes with 35 interactions
  • Zest – $395 USD, comes with 12 interactions
  • Standard (package)- $1,999 USD comes with Essentials, and the Standard packs (SP1, SP2, SP3)
  • Himalaya – $4,250 USD, comes with Essentials, Standard, Booster 1 and all Turbo packs

Note: In order to add any of the TurboPacks, Standard Packs or Booster Pack 1, without purchasing the Standard package or Himalaya, you must first buy either Essentials or Zest. Additionally, the HTML5 pack is a stand alone pack, so if you want it, you must purchase first one of the four listed above.

They do offer premium support for a fee, but the site never states what that includes.

Bottom Line

Raptivity, has an identity problem. While it offers a lot of interactions it equally contains a lot of  unnecessary steps to go to the screen you want to work with – the edit screen.

The point of a RCAT simulation tool or as they put it an interaction tool, is create a user friendly product in an easy and engaging way. Sadly, Raptivity fails at even achieving this premise.

While the Essentials pack does a decent job, I’m pretty sure no corporate person is going to want the “smiley face” interaction as part of their learning toolbox.

Unless they are running a circus.