While there's plenty to love about Camtasia 2020, the feature I'm highlighting this time is Favorites.
Camtasia is loaded with tools. If you think I'm exaggerating, here's a list of the tools available in Camtasia 2020, Mac:
There are so many tools, you might need to click "More" to see all of them (the "More" option automatically appears if your window size is too small to display all of the tools or your screen resolution is low).
And clicking a tool, such as Annotations, often leads to multiple categories leading to even more tools. In the image below you can see what I'm talking about when it comes to the Annotations tool. There are 6 related tools (Callouts) grouped with the main Annotations tool.
I am not suggesting that TechSmith should remove tools from Camtasia. I say bring on more tools, TechSmith (I look forward to seeing a dozen more tools in Camtasia 2021). However, if you're like me and you use several eLearning development tools, remembering where your "go-to" Camtasia tools are located can be a challenge.
Which brings me to Favorites.
Find a tool you use frequently (any tool). Right-click the tool and choose Add to Favorites.
Once a tool has been added as a Favorite, the tool gets a gold star. And from now on, the tool will be shown in the Favorites area of the toolbar.
Right-clicking a Favorite is going to be the easiest and fastest way to work with the tool. And should you no longer want a tool as a Favorite, a quick right-click allows you to delete the tool as a Favorite (but does not remove the tool from Camtasia).
When creating eLearning in TechSmith Camtasia, Adobe Captivate, or Articulate Storyline, one critical consideration is the physical width and height of your project (also known as the canvas size).
The size of the project is measured in pixels and if you don't get this right from the start, changing your mind later could lead to some unintended consequences. (Objects being resized out of proportion is one of the biggest concerns.)
When I teach any of my eLearning courses, I encourage learners to consider their end-users when determining the size of the canvas. These days, most users access eLearning content on anything from a desktop computer to laptops to mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones.
In my experience, most devices used to view eLearning are shaped more like rectangles than squares. For that reason, I think the eLearning canvas should be set up to use a 16:9 aspect ratio as opposed to 4:3.
The aspect ratio of an eLearning canvas designed to be viewed on its side, or in landscape mode, is the ratio of its longer side to its shorter side. If you go with a 4:3 aspect ratio (4 pixels across for every 3 pixels in height), you're working with a shape that is tending toward a square. If you go with 16:9 (16 pixels across for every 9 high), the shape is very much a rectangle.
Once you decide on the shape of your canvas (again, 16:9 is a strong rectangle shape), the exact size you use depends on your design and/or the needs of your users. Both 1024x576 and 1280x720 are 16:9 ratios. (Here's a handy list of 16:9 aspect ratios.)
So how do you ensure your aspect ratio is a 16:9 aspect ratio as opposed to 4:3. Read on!
Because eLearning often begins in Microsoft PowerPoint, let's start there. Go to the Design tab on the Ribbon and, from the Customize group, change the Slide Size to Widescreen (16:9).
In TechSmith Camtasia, click the drop-down menu just above the Canvas and choose Project Settings. From the Canvas Dimensions drop-down menu, choose a size from the Widescreen group. All of the sizes in this group are set to an aspect ratio of 16:9.
In Articulate Storyline, the default aspect ratio for new projects is 4:3. Go to the Design tab on the Ribbon and, from the Setup group, click Story Size.
From the Story Size drop-down menu, choose 720:405 (16:9) and then change the Width and Height as needed. Select Lock aspect ratio to ensure you're maintaining a 16:9 aspect ratio as you change the size.
In Adobe Captivate, when creating new projects, select Blank Project and then, from the Canvas drop-down menu, choose an appropriate 16:9 aspect ratio. If you need to change the size of an existing project, choose Modify > Rescale Project and change the Width and Height as appropriate.
I've long trumpeted the benefits of using Object Styles in Adobe Captivate. However, there may be times when you don't want to work with styles but still want to quickly apply an object's formatting to other objects. In that case, you'll love Captivate's copy and paste appearance feature.
Before I show you how to use the copy/paste appearance feature, let me review Object Styles (using styles is truly the most efficient way to work in Captivate). If you'd like to follow along with the steps below, create a blank project in Captivate 2019 (update 11.5) and draw a few shapes similar to the image below.
On the Properties Inspector, notice that the shapes are all using the Default Smart Shape Style.
Using the Properties Inspector, change the appearance of one of your shapes (for instance, change the fill color).
On the Properties Inspector, notice the plus sign to the left of the style name. The plus sign indicates a formatting override. The change you made to the object is not part of the object style and the formatting was not applied to any other objects using the same style.
To update the style, go to the menu across from Style Name on the inspector and choose Save changes to Existing style.
Every object on every slide using the style gets updated instantly. That's cool stuff. However, if you want to format multiple objects and you don't want to use Object Styles, this next technique is for you.
Select and format a shape (use the Properties inspector to change the fill, color, stroke, etc).
Select the shape you just formatted and choose Edit > Copy Appearance (or right-click and choose Copy Appearance).
Select another shape and choose Edit > Paste Appearance (or right-click and choose Paste Appearance).
The selected shape is instantly formatted to match the previous object. You can use this technique to format multiple slide objects, even across project slides. If you'd like to see a video demo of this process, you'll find it on my YouTube channel.
Kevin Siegel is the founder and president of IconLogic, Inc. He has written hundreds of step-by-step computer training books on applications such as Adobe Captivate, Articulate Storyline, Adobe RoboHelp, Adobe Presenter, and TechSmith Camtasia. Kevin spent five years in the U.S. Coast Guard as an award-winning photojournalist and has three decades’ experience as a trainer, publisher, technical writer, and eLearning developer. Kevin is a Certified Master Trainer (CMT), Certified Technical Trainer (CTT+), Certified Online Professional Trainer (COTP), and a frequent speaker at trade shows and conventions.
When I work with scenes in Articulate Storyline, I like it when the number that accompanies each scene is logical. Take the three scenes below for instance. I'm creating an eLearning project for a zoo, so naturally I have scenes for Big Cats, Elephants, and Exotic Birds.
Because I created the Big Cats scene first, it was automatically tagged as my Starting Scene (as indicated by the red flag in the image above).
Next, I created the Elephants scene, followed by the Exotic Birds scene. Notice in the image above that in addition to having appropriate names, the scenes are logically numbered (1, 2, and 3).
The scene numbers are based on their creation order. While logical, the numbers do not indicate the order in which any scene might be seen by my learners. In fact, I can make any scene the Starting Scene and, using Triggers, I can make the third scene appear before the second scene.
I created a fourth scene and named it Home. On the Home scene, I added three buttons to a slide. Each of the buttons were given Triggers that jumped to a different scene in the Story.
I then made the Home scene the Starting Scene (this is easy to do with a simple right-click on the scene via the Story View).
After making the fourth scene (the Home scene) the Starting Scene, the drama started. In the image below, notice that the pesky Home scene is positioned correctly (above the other scenes). And you can clearly see the arrows indicating the button jumps between the Home scene and the other scenes.
But do you also see the horror in the image above? Look at that number 4 to the left of the Home scene's name. Noooooo! The Home scene is my first scene, and as far as I'm concerned, it should be numbered with a 1, not a 4. Of course, Storyline doesn't agree with me... a numbering sequence of 4, 1, 2, 3 is perfectly fine!
At the end of the day, the scene numbers don't truly matter. Learners will be able to move freely around the zoo, they'll never see the numbers, and won't ever know that the scene numbers are out of order.
But I'll know the numbers are out of whack... and so will you!
Fortunately, while not obvious, the fix is easy.
While in Story View, select the scene that's out of order and cut it to the clipboard. Without selecting anything, immediately paste the scene back into Story View.
And that's that. If you're like me, you'll be delighted to see that the scenes are numbered logically in the Story View (which is truly the only way to go, right?).
When publishing a Storyline project, it’s often preferable to publish a small section of the project instead of the entire thing (a single slide for instance or an individual scene). Fortunately, Storyline 360 makes quick work of this task, if you know where to look.
Open Storyline’s Publish dialog box by either using the Publish tool on the Ribbon or choosing File > Publish.
From the Properties area of the Publish dialog box, click the link to the right of Publish to open another Publish dialog box.
From here you can elect to publish the entire project, a single scene, or from the A single slide drop-down menu, specify any slide from any scene within the project.
Click the OK button and then click the Publish button to publish the selection.
The Assessment recording mode in Adobe Captivate creates a step-by-step software simulation that is intended to function as a test. It is part of the three-part formal software lesson: Demo, then Training (practice), then Assessment (test). The Assessment requires the learner to click through the steps without any hints, and it is set up to report each correct click as a point. But if you actually put a Quiz Results slide at the end of your Assessment and try out your test, you’ll find that you get 100% every time!
“Well, of course!” you might say, “You know all of the answers, because you are the one who created the lesson!”
And if you said that, you’d have a good point. However, you’d be wrong.
The reason you get 100% every time is that by default, each click box in the Assessment simulation is set to Infinite Attempts. You can click the wrong thing two, three, five times—and you’ll get a Failure caption every time. But the lesson will not proceed until you finally click the correct command, whereupon you receive a point for your correct answer, and the assessment proceeds. Voila. 100%.
To get an accurate score on an Assessment simulation, you have to set each click box—the clickable object that makes the software simulation advance—to allow only 1 attempt.
Select the click box and, on the Properties Inspector > Actions tab, deselect the Infinite Attempts checkbox. Then set the No. of Attempts to 1.
Still on the Actions tab, in the Reporting section, select Include in Quiz. Assign the number of Points you want (1 works fine), and then select Add to Total.
You’ll need to make these changes or ensure that these settings are consistent throughout your entire project. For the Reporting settings, once you have set them for one click box, you can use the fly-away menu next to the Reporting heading to update all of your click boxes:
In the Properties > Actions tab, to the right of the Reporting heading, click the fly-away menu (shown in the highlight box below) and choose Apply to all objects of this type.
The Reporting settings are applied to all of the click boxes in your project.
For the number of attempts, however, you’ll need to navigate to each and every slide and set that manually. Ugh. But here is a tool that will help: Advanced Interactions (which help you navigate to each click box in turn). One or two clicks per checkbox (depending on the point value you want to set), and you’re done.
Make sure you have set all of your click boxes to be included in quiz. Then, access the Advanced Interactions window to help ease the pain of setting them all to one attempt via Project > Advanced Interactions.
Ensure that the View filter is set to All Scorable Objects. If necessary, click the black twisty triangle to expand the list of scorable objects on each slide. In the Advanced Interactions window, click the first line that says Click box.
You are navigated to that slide in the Filmstrip, and the click box on the slide is selected. On the Properties Inspector, deselect the Infinite Attempts checkbox. Repeat for each click box in the project.
In your Quiz Preferences > Settings, ensure that Show Score at the End of the Quiz is selected. Then make sure the Quiz Results slide is at the end of your Assessment project. Preview the Assessment, purposely get a few clicks wrong, and you will see an accurate score at the end of the assessment.
Jennie Ruby, CTT, COTP, is a veteran eLearning developer, trainer, and author. Jennie has an M.A. from George Washington University and is a Certified Technical Trainer and Certified Online Training Professional. She teaches both classroom and online courses, and has authored courseware, published training books, and developed content for countless eLearning projects. She is also a publishing professional with more than 30 years of experience in writing, editing, print publishing, and eLearning.
As adoption of xAPI begins to take hold, it allows for more robust and interesting tracking of the learning process. As actual performance and results data are integrated with learning metrics, we will have the data we need to tailor the learning process to individual needs at the same time that we can draw more useful conclusions about the learning as a whole across a wider population. In this session we’ll take a look at what xAPI can do for you, what tools and platforms you’ll need, and how to get started.
Course Content. After a brief introduction to xAPI and what's new about it from the instructional design side, we'll discuss three key areas that impact instructional designers:
Identifying learning data needs, data sources and meaningful visualizations that answer organizational and L&D questions
Making choices about infrastructure: how and when to work with your LMS, your LRS or both
Models for taking advantage of xAPI across a variety of learning vectors: formal & informal, social & private, formative & summative, predictable & variable
The Instructor. Megan Torrance is CEO and founder of TorranceLearning, which helps organizations connect learning strategy to design, development, data, and ultimately performance. Megan, a Certified Online Training Professional (COTP), has more than 25 years of experience in learning design, deployment, and consulting. Megan and the TorranceLearning team are passionate about sharing what works in learning so they devote considerable time to teaching and sharing about Agile project management for learning experience design and, of course, the xAPI. TorranceLearning hosts the xAPI Learning Cohort, a free, virtual 12-week learning-by-doing opportunity where teams form on the fly and create proof-of-concept xAPI projects.
Welcome to the eLearning tool slug-fest. In this corner, it's Adobe Captivate. Over there? It's Articulate Storyline. And because this isn't a two-tool fight, look over there and you'll see TechSmith Camtasia. Attend this power hour and see demonstrations of all three tools. If you'd like to follow-along with your instructor, install trial versions of Adobe Captivate, Articulate Storyline, and TechSmith Camtasia (Mac or PC). Watch as your instructor, a seasoned eLearning developer and certified online training professional, puts each of these tools through its paces, compares their strengths and weaknesses, and helps you pick the tool that is right for you!
If you'd like to attend this live, online class, you can sign up here: http://www.iconlogic.com/compare-elearning-tools.html
I’ve been teaching and developing projects in Adobe Captivate for years. My particular area of strength is advanced actions. Just when I think I know everything about Captivate, a seemingly teeny, tiny option gets added by the Adobe engineers and I end up looking silly.
Standard Actions, such as Show can be used to easily show a hidden object. The problem is that the project will continue playing after the action occurs (after the shape appears). If you wanted something else to happen while the learner is still on the slide (perhaps another object appearing), it’s too late because the learner has automatically been taken to the next slide after the hidden object appeared.
To get around the problem in the past, you needed to create an advanced action that showed the hidden object instead of using a standard action. Why would you need an advanced action for something so simple? Because the Continue Playing Project behavior does not automatically occur with advanced actions like it did with standard actions.
That was so yesterday! There is now one of those teeny, tiny deals I mentioned earlier on the Properties inspector: a simple checkbox on the Actions tab labeled Continue Playing the Project. It is checked by default so if you use a standard action to show an object, you’ll still end up on the next slide. However, if you want to keep the learner on the current slide, all you have to do is deselect Continue Playing the Project. (In the simple scenario I mentioned above, there’s no longer a need to create the advanced action.)
The Continue Playing the Project checkbox originally appeared in Captivate 9. I missed it. In prior versions, it wasn’t possible to stop a project from continuing to play if you used a standard action. Because Continue Playing the Project is selected by default in both Captivate 9 and 2017, it’s an easy option to overlook, especially if you’ve been developing in Captivate for years like me.
Though the Continue Playing the Project option means that you no longer need to create an advanced action for the behavior I’ve described above, you will still need to create advanced actions if you want an interactive object to perform multiple actions once clicked. If advanced actions have you a bit intimidated, join me for my Captivate Variable and Action Deep Dive series. The 101 class starts with the basics. As we move through 201, 301, and 401, we will continue to build your skills and practice with Captivate Variables and Advanced Actions.
Lori Smith, COTP, is IconLogic's lead programmer and Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) in Captivate. Lori has a Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from MIT as well as a Master’s in electrical engineering from George Mason University. She has been working in the field of software engineering for more than 20 years. During that time she worked as an embedded software engineer at Raytheon (E-Systems) and ARINC.
Which of the following statements do you think are true?
A. By 2019, 80% of ALL web traffic will be video.
B. 64% of customers say they are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video.
C. 59% of decision-makers would rather watch a video than read a blog or article.
If you said all three, you are correct (Source: Hubspot, 2017).
The impact of video is astounding... and growing! Whiteboard videos have proven to be especially attention-getting as they allow a story to unfold in front of your eyes on a blank canvas.
Why Whiteboard Animation Works
Whiteboard animation, or scribing, is a novel take on video that has been proven to be three times more likely to be shared than a talking head video. Scribing brings a message to life through visual metaphors, captivating the viewer and holding attention until the last scene plays out. Why?
Viewer Completion. One of the secrets of video scribing is the concept known to artists as “viewer completion.” When you see two circles and a curved lined, your mind instantly jumps to the conclusion that you’re seeing a human face. Your brain fills in the details, completing the image.
Viewer Anticipation. Scribe videos also kindle viewer anticipation by inviting the brain to speculate about what is being drawn. Anticipation creates surprise which then rewards the brain with dopamine. Viewer anticipation helps explain how mesmerizing whiteboard videos can be–it can be tough to tear your eyes away from them.
Scribes are Judged Differently
If you’ve ever tried to make your own professional video, you know how difficult it is to produce anything that resembles what a high-price videographer using professional equipment can create. The visual simplicity of whiteboard animations puts them in a category of their own and lets them be judged differently. On top of that, with today’s software, anybody can learn how to make a professional-looking scribe.
Watching a scribe is an immersive experience, which gives them great staying power. A scribe reveals information gradually, sparking curiosity and allowing information to be processed one small chunk at a time. When viewer anticipation and viewer completion kick in, the message is processed at a deeper level and the message is more likely to be retained.
Cognitive psychologist Richard E. Mayer established that combining images with a voiceover to be the most effective way of communicating information – 50-75% better, in fact. Three groups were studied:
Group 1 listened to the content.
Group 2 watched the content.
Group 3 listened and watched the content simultaneously.
The result was kind of a no-brainer: those in the Group 3 had more accurate recall and retained the information longer.
Mayer’s research also concluded that people learn best when corresponding words and pictures are presented closely together; people learn better from animation and narration than from animation and onscreen text, and people learn better when extraneous material is not included. (In other words, the simpler the better.) Does that sound familiar? These are pretty much the central principles of video scribing!
Scribe vs. Talking Head
Sparkol, makers of VideoScribe, sent 1,000 people a whiteboard animation and another 1,000 people a talking head video, both of which used the same audio file and provided the same content (a business coach making a pitch for new clients). After watching, viewers answered a set of questions that tested their comprehension, retention, enjoyment, and inclination to respond positively to the pitch.
The scribe video outperformed the talking head video in all tests.
Those who had seen the scribe performed better in four out of five memory tests. The scribe was three times more likely to be shared and more than twice as likely to be recommended. Twice as many scribe viewers said they would buy the service. The scribe video came out on top in all age brackets and for both sexes.
To see scribing in action, check out a few of these examples:
Geeky Girl Karin Rex is an online learning pioneer and whiteboard animation evangelist. Since 1989, Karin has owned Geeky Girl, LLC, a boutique learning organization, where she devotes her time to writing, course development (instructor led and eLearning), and teaching.
Karin has authored several technology books, including: Office 2010 Demystified (McGraw-Hill) and hundreds of user guides, reference manuals, and tutorials. She’s also developed an extensive number of learning programs for a wide variety of global clients.
Karin is a Certified Online Training Professional (COTP), certified synchronous facilitator, designer, and producer, with a master’s degree in professional writing. Additionally, Karin teaches undergraduate writing courses for Penn State University and is the Instructional Design Lead for InSync Training.