2/15/07 – Captivate vs. Camtasia February 26, 2007Posted by Ben Craigo in e-Learning Tools, e-SIG Presentations, Intructional Design, Lessons Learned.
Dave Moser, a Certified Captivate Instructor at Brookwood Media Arts, delivered the first presentation on how do create simulations and demonstrations in Captivate 2. These notes are less about the specific instructions on how to do so and more on the key features/benefits of the tool. Keep your eyes out for a series of tips from Dave in the future.
Captivate allows you to do simulations, demonstrations and branching stories. Simulations and demonstrations mimic the actual product/software and gives the learner a safe environment to learn and it provides feedback in real time. One of the coolest features of Captivate is the ability to create branched story learning experiences. Think of it like the choose-your-own-adventure books or choose your own ending movies. The learner has the ability to go down different paths that may or may not be the right ones and figure out to do when they get there – just like the real world.
Some points from the presentation:
- It is easy to use, and you don’t have to be a programmer to use it.
- Produces a Flash SWF file which makes the learning highly accessible since nearly 98% of computers out there have browsers that have Flash installed on them.
- Options in Captivate 2 are very much like the options for Captivate 1.
- Can be integrated into a lot of software programs. It also works well inside Adobe Presenter (formerly Macromedia Breeze).
- Supports quizzes and track user responses.
- Solutions created with Captivate can be integrated into any AICC or SCORM compliant LMS.
- TIP: When recording demos in Captivate record the screen capture first and then go back and record the audio. It can be difficult to get good narration while performing the demonstration.
- TIP: Create templates with branding and standards that can be applied to all future simulations.
- TIP: 800×600 is currently most common computer resolution. Because the end users rarely have all that space available with toolbars, menus and the like Captiva offers smarter resolution choices to make sure your demonstration will fit in the end user’s desktop.
- The tool is smart enough to capture events like pop-up windows.
- Specific frames and audio can be edited after they are recorded.
- TIP: There is a problem with Flash 9 animations being incorporated into Breeze (no detail or workarounds given)
- Simulations are a great way to assess people’s ability to do something. Enables users to take a trial run. Good way to certify users.
Eric Mongrain, a Web Training Facilitator at AmeriGas, showed examples of finished trainings developed in Captivate. There were dozens of trainings done and gave real-world examples on how to apply this in industry. Users have had nothing but good experiences with the product with with the only negative comment really being about download speeds. Those comments were few and far between though to be expected as there are some users who still use dial-up to access the intranet.
- Use Captivate extensively on their intranet to create trainings and certifications.
- Users access the courses via dial-up, satelite and DSL/cable – challenge in creating training that meets the lowest common denominator.
- In their environment users have thin clients instead of desktop computers. This means that there is next to no software installed and training solutions have to be lean technologically.
- TIP: Agreed with Dave that it’s better to record the narration after you capture the simulation.
- TIP: Record the audio in a separate application to improve on the sound quality. Uses Audacity shareware or SoundForge.
- TIP: Prepare a step-by-step and script ahead of time to improve the quality of the narration.
- TIP: Don’t move around special effects within Captivate too much as it has to be synchronized with the audio. It’s easy to get carried away and synchronizing is a manual and lengthy process.
- TIP: People like to have something to show for their training. Including certificates in their courses is a big benefit.
Camtasia Pros & Cons
Nathan Eckel, Instructional Designer at Lockheed Martin, presented on the pros and cons of Camtasia as it relates to Captivate.
Summary of Nathan’s presentation:
- What is Camtasia? – A screen capture program (4th version) . Created by TechSmith . Thorough Recording. Ideal for Software Training Sims and Demos. One movie file, no “slides.”
- Benefits over Captivate:
- Moderate Budget -$300 Retail
- Smaller File Size (one file) vs. separate slide file for each screen change
- Exports to SWF but Also Windows Media, H.264, AVI, FLV, mp3, and m4a (iPod).
- Integrates with PowerPoint and PC Cam – you can record and publish your PPT presentations
- Other features – Zoom & Pan, Callouts, Flash Quiz & Survey
- Liabilities vs. Captivate
- Thorough recording is greatest strength & weakness
- Records everything on the screen -including extended pauses and mistakes.
- Also records Audio in real-time, including any unintended noises
- Editing is tricky and prone to hangups in playback
- There are glitches when making cuts – sometimes playback stops, audio issues
- More Time Consuming, Higher Learning Curve
- Camtasia will be Best for users who:
- Have a more limited budget.
- Think as a Movie Producer rather than a Standup Presenter .
- Need detailed simulation captures . Want to capture everything . Won’t mind controlling and editing everything.
Related Camtasia Resources
- Examples of Camtasia’s features can be found on their website
- For mp3 (Podcast) publishing go to: http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia/whatsnew.asp
- Web Briefcase Blog http://www.webbriefcase.com.au/200611/screencasting-tools-camtasia-studiovs-adobe-captivate/
- Streaming Media http://www.streamingmedia.com/article.asp?id=9393