BOOK REVIEW: Mastering Adobe Captivate 7 by Damien Bruyndonckx

Damien Bruyndonckx



You have probably noticed a common trait of the people you esteem and respect the most:  They humbly acknowledge they don’t know everything.  They’re real, genuine, down-to-earth people.  In fact, the smartest people I know draw their wisdom from others… the community.  That’s why I love Mastering Adobe Captivate by Damien Bruyndonckx.  Damien is one of those people that “gets it”… he understands eLearning and mLearning, and introduces you to community resources and contacts to help you on your life-long journey of learning… and helping others learn as well.

I get a lot of emails from people seeking advice or guidance on a Captivate issue assuming I’m an “expert”.  I am not an expert, but I have been using the software for quite some time.  I’ll share my knowledge, but I’ll often refer people to the Adobe Captivate User Forums for the simple fact that the wisdom of the community is more helpful than any single opinion.  For example, I read Damien’s book because I hardly know anything about leveraging the templates feature in Captivate.  I’ve been using the software since v. 1, but I have not really leveraged templates like I should be.  We sometimes get in a rut of “doing what works” when we could be working smarter, not harder.  I found Damien’s book to offer what I had been missing, filling in the gaps of what people assumed I already knew as an “expert”.

Damien brilliantly approaches the book unlike any other technical book I’ve ever read.  He walks you through the step-by-step process of creating eLearning for the sake of teaching… not just what it takes to create a Captivate project.  Most authors will narrowly focus on the software, but Damien cleverly lays out the entire eLearning workflow that takes place, poses thoughtful questions, and leads you to other resources to help you along each step, allowing you to dig deeper into the eLearning community.

You’re going to find this book a very refreshing change from the rest of the technical books you’ve read for the simple fact that behind each chapter, teachers and students are at the heart of Damien’s advice and guidance.  Even the example files that come with the book open your eyes to how a teacher might craft and alter a learning experience based on a student’s aptitude… and that’s just it!  We are crafting learning experiences… every chapter reminds us with sobering clarity that teachers and students are at the heart of what we do.

One of the hardest things to do as a teacher is to take the fear out of learning… the fear of doing something wrong or stupid in front of all our peers (that’s why I like to read books!).  However, I wish I could take a live class from Damien because I can tell he’s very gifted at this skill.  He truly leads you and guides you as you walk through the book so you know what to expect.  Some parts of Captivate are difficult and frustrating, others are easy to learn.  But one thing you will always have is the big picture of how things are supposed to work.  Reading this book, you will never feel lost or alone trying to figure things out… you will have one of the best guides that not only understands the software, but also the entire eLearning development process.

I wish I would have picked up this book sooner because I’ve been missing out.  This book really is one of the best technical books I have ever come across not because it’s written about Captivate, but because Damien offers one of the best perspectives for learning Captivate.  He is thorough, he offers pros and cons on a matter, he goes under the hood so you can understand how the software works, not just what it does, he is an expert… and by the end, you’ll be an expert too.

Here’s a link to the books Damien has written including this one:

You can follow Damien on Twitter @damienbkx or by visiting his site at

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