- A computer
- Internet access
- Headset or Telephone
- A Meeting Space Vendor
Smart Shapes were introduced in Adobe Captivate several years ago. Similar to PowerPoint's Shapes feature, Smart Shapes in Captivate allow you to draw stars, ovals, banners, and more on a slide. Once drawn, it is easy to switch from one Smart Shape to another (without having to redraw).
To draw a Smart Shape, visit the Shape tool and select any one of the Shapes. One the slide, drag your mouse to draw the shape.
If you're unhappy with the Smart Shape (perhaps you meant to draw a star but you drew an oval), visit the Properties Inspector and, assuming the shape you drew is still selected, simply pick a different shape.
The ability to create a Smart Shape and change it on the fly is awesome... but that ability pales in comparison to your ability to not only reshape the Smart Shape (and create shapes limited only by your imagination), but save your custom masterpiece as a Smart Shape for later use in any Captivate project.
To customize a Smart Shape, right-click a drawn shape and choose Convert to freeform.
Drag the points to create any kind of shape.
If you need to add more points (the points will disappear if you deselect the Smart Shape), right-click the Smart Shape again and choose Edit points.
When you're finished creating the Smart Shape, right-click the shape and choose Save Smart Shape.
Name the Smart Shape and then click the OK button.
From now on, the saved Smart Shape will be available in the list of Shapes.
Adobe released RoboHelp 2015 last week, a major upgrade sporting several enhancements. This week we take a first look at some of the big changes.
Ribbon Based Interface
The menu has been redesigned to make RoboHelp easier to use. Options are sensibly arranged and menu inconsistencies have been cleaned up. Lesser known features like search synonyms are much easier to find and use.
Small improvements, such as working with tables, make editing content much easier.
One of my favorites is the Locate Item tool. Open a topic and select an image or a Captivate movie. Click the Locate Item tool and the item will be highlighted in the Project Manager.
Skins and Layouts
RoboHelp 2015 includes new WebHelp skins and Responsive HTML5 layouts. The WebHelp skins are clean and modern. Both WebHelp and Responsive HTML5 support Right-to-Left languages. Though for WebHelp you will have to use one of the six new skins.
The Responsive HTML5 Layouts have more customization options. It is now possible to choose which panes to include in the output, just as with WebHelp. The layouts have Facebook share and Twitter buttons included as well.
I've mentioned what I consider to be the most important enhancements in RoboHelp 2015. Stay tuned for articles on each of these enhancements in the weeks to come.
I had a client recently who needed to include a Glossary in their Storyline eLearning course. Fortunately, this kind of functionality is simple to add to any Storyline project.
To begin, open or create a Storyline project. Click Player (located in the Publish group on the Ribbon). From the Data area of the Properties, click Glossary and then from the bottom left of the dialog box, click Add.
In the Glossary Term dialog box, type a Term and Definition. When finished, click the Save button. Repeat the process as necessary.
The final step is telling Storyline that you want the Glossary to appear in the published lesson. From the top of the Player dialog box, select Features. From the list of Player Tabs, select Glossary.
How do you collaborate with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) who aren't Adobe Captivate or Articulate Storyline developers? Specifically I'm talking about text content. How many times have you gone back and forth (and back and forth again) with your SMEs, changing a word on a slide here, removing a comma there. Maddening, right?
Wouldn't it be great if you could export the text from your eLearning projects into Word, get your SMEs to make their changes in the document (using Word), and then import those changes back into your project? That kind of workflow is a dream, right? Nope. The workflow exists today in both Captivate and Storyline and the process is simple.
Open or create a Captivate project and choose File > Import/Export > Export project captions and closed captions.
In the Open dialog box, name the resulting document, specify a save destination, and click the Save button. (You will be notified when the captions have been exported.)
Are the slides that make up your eLearning lessons text-heavy? Images are an often overlooked component of a good eLearning course. Sadly, when images are added to eLearning, they often have little to do with the content being presented or, just as sad, are of poor quality.
You've probably heard the saying that a picture is worth 1,000 words. But consider this: people process information presented in an image far faster than text. According to Mike Parkinson, founder of Billion Dollar Graphics, "visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text, graphics quickly affect our emotions, and our emotions greatly affect our decision-making."
Parkinson went on to say "Study after study, experiment after experiment, has proven that graphics have immense influence over the audience's perception of the subject matter and, by association, the presenter (the person, place, or thing most associated with the graphic) because of these neurological and evolutionary factors. The audience's understanding of the presented material, opinion of the presented material and the presenter, and their emotional state are crucial factors in any decision they will make. Without a doubt, graphics greatly influence an audience's decisions."
There's something very helpful about having a pictorial representation of the concept to hang your hat on. An image anchors a concept in a way that words often can't. While text forces you to create an image in your brain from scratch, introducing a picture gives us a jumping-off point, showing us a tangible concept which can be instantly grasped and further explored through text or audio.
For many of the same reasons above, a good image can also increase a learner's comprehension and recall. Instead of trying to remember the nebulous image that they produced in their mind's eye, they can simply call up the more tangible picture that they physically saw and didn't have to manufacture themselves.
Any journalist worth their salt will tell you that a story without a picture lacks the punch it might otherwise have. For instance, if I were to describe to you a natural disaster that occurred in some foreign country, you might be pretty shocked by the words alone. However, it wouldn't be quite as real to you as if I included a picture of the rubble, injured people, and all-around devastation.
Similarly, I could try to tell you how much I love dogs and try all day to convince you to love them too, but it wouldn't have nearly the same impact as if I just showed you this...
How quickly did your heart melt? How long did it take for the word "awwwwwww" to involuntarily escape your mouth? Instantly, right? And now we both love dogs! (Thanks to Mike Parkinson for inspiring this example.)
Punctuating the Text
Finally, eLearning images also work wonders when it comes to breaking up the text and giving the eye a chance to rest. When you read, your eyes scan a wall of words trying to squeeze out each nugget of information. If done for an extended amount of time, it can get exhausting. But throw in some pictures periodically...
... and it breaks the monotony of a text-heavy lesson.
by John Gillmore and Bucky Dodd
In the previous installment of this series, we provided a purchasing "checklist" for setting up a green screen video production studio. Part III of this tutorial series explains the production steps for recording, editing, processing and encoding video for use in Adobe Captivate eLearning lessons.
Step 1: Develop a detailed script that not only describes what the talent will say, but also what they will do while on screen. Be sure to include how the talent will enter and exit the screen and what non-verbal gestures should be performed.
Step 2: Set up the studio in a room that allows all equipment to be operated properly and still allows production staff to be comfortable. In this step, the critical production factor is the lighting. The lights should be positioned so the talent is evenly lit and the solid green background is free from any shadows and also lit evenly.
The talent should be positioned as far away from the background as possible, while still providing the desired frame for the video. This reduces shadows and greatly improves the quality of the end product.
Step 3: Establish and test the video recorder's settings for optimal performance. For audio, make the appropriate connections with the wireless microphone system and ensure the audio levels are within an acceptable range. Next, set the camcorder's recording sessions to record the video at 720p at 60fps (frames per second). Record the talent performing the script several times.
Step 4: Import the video into Adobe Premiere CS4 for editing and processing. To begin, trim the video so it starts and stops at the desired locations. Apply the Boris FX chroma key filter to the video by activating the plug-in and choosing the background color you would like to remove with the plug-in's color picker. Adjust the chroma key filter so all the background color is removed and the transparent background is free of any processing artifacts. You may find that having a still image of the Captivate lesson's interface placed behind the video will help with adjusting the video's settings and placement.
Step 5: Encode the processed video by selecting File > Export > Media. This will open a dialog box for setting the encoding parameters. Encode the video content as Flash Video (.FLV) and select the option to encode the alpha layer. This allows the background color that is removed by the chroma key plug-in to remain transparent. After choosing the encoding settings and clicking the OK button the Adobe Media Encoder (packaged with Adobe Premiere CS4) will launch automatically. Select Start Que to begin the encoding process.
Once this process is complete, you have a video in .FLV format where the background has been removed, leaving just the talent. This video can be used in a variety of ways to support and enhance the instructional value of eLearning lessons.
The ability to create Responsive Projects was introduced last June with the arrival of Adobe Captivate 8. During the development process, you can basically create and work on multiple screen sizes (called break points) in one Captivate project. When you publish the responsive project, the learner will automatically be served the break point appropriate for the device they're using.
As I've created more and more Responsive Projects, one of the big concerns is to ensure the fonts and font sizes used in each break point is appropriate for the display size. For instance, I might want my font size to be 14 points in my Primary Break Point, 12 points in my Tablet Break Point, and a bit smaller in my Mobile Break Point.
While I could manually change the font formatting used on my slides, Break Point by Break Point, if I've got a lot of slides, that means I've got a ton of work to do.
As an alternative to manually formatting the slide objects, visit the Object Style Manager (via the Edit menu). Select an Object Style and in the Text Format area, notice that there's a Break Points drop-down menu. The menu contains three options: Primary,Tablet, and Mobile.
Select each Break Point in turn and set the desired Font Family, Size, Format, Color, etc. When finished, click the OK button and you'll see your changes immediately on the project's three Break Points.
I've previously taught you how to create links between Merged HTML Help projects. This time, let's tackle merged WebHelp. Merging WebHelp differs from merging HTML Help in that you select the RoboHelp project to merge instead of the output.
Generate Merged Projects
Once you've created the master project, you need to generate the merged projects to the correct folder in the master project's output folder.
When you generated the master project, RoboHelp created the following folder structure:
For every child project, place the WebHelp output into the mergedProjects\<project name> folder. (Meaning that the child project called Child 1 has to be placed in the folder WebHelp\mergedProjects\Child 1.)
Once you generate all child projects to the correct location, open the master project output to see the results:
You're developing an eLearning module in Adobe Captivate or Articulate Storyline. There's a slide that plays for 45 seconds. As you're listening to the audio, you'd like a screen object to appear in sync with the voiceover audio or some other screen action.
If the object in question is already on the slide, you can certainly select the object on the Timeline and drag it until its left edge gets to the desired part of the Timeline. Of course, if the slide is playing for a significant amount of time, that's going to require a lot of dragging.
"In this course you will learn the functionality of [insert topic you've never heard of]. By the end of this lesson, you should be able to [do a bunch of procedures the utility of which is not immediately evident]."
Traditionally, many of us have written these types of sentences at the top of page 1 of our courseware materials or eLearning scripts, and then that has served as our audience's only introduction to the topic of the course.
It doesn't have to be that way. I'd like to introduce the Introductory Narrative--a brief paragraph prior to the sentences above and the list of objectives. Its job is to engage the learner and perhaps provide a little positivity and motivation.
The introductory narrative should do five things.
Over the next couple of weeks I'll be exploring each of these topics in turn. Today let's look at the first one: signaling the correct audience.
Signaling the correct audience is indicating in your first sentence who the intended audience is for the course or lesson. It can be done a couple of different ways.
First, you can always indicate the correct audience for a course or lesson by explicitly naming the job title or describing the situation of the person the learning is meant to address, and using the word you:
As a warehouse employee here at ABC Company, you...
As the parent of a newborn, you...
Another popular way to signal the intended audience is to ask a question. If the learner answers yes, they are the correct audience:
Have you ever taken a picture of someone and had their eyes come out red?
Do you need a quick way to transfer files between computers?
Do you need to build an authentication and identity API?
Learners who answer yes, immediately understand that the lesson is for them. Those who answer no or don't recognize what you are talking about will instantly know that the training is not intended for them.
A more subtle way to signal the correct audience is to describe a real-world situation with "you" at the center:
So you've landed the interview. Now you've got to land the job.
Without directly saying "this training is intended for persons who are currently seeking employment," the message is conveyed that if you are currently trying to get a job, this training is for you.
Of course the introductory narrative for training materials is not the only place you might need to use these methods of signaling the correct audience.
You might need to do this in the subject line of a company-wide email aimed at a subset of employees. Or in the first paragraph of any article or blog entry. Or you might need to write a course description to help potential learners identify the correct training for them.
Kevin Siegel and Jennie Ruby, Writing for Curriculum Development 3.0, 2014, IconLogic.
Do you need to learn how to write eLearning scripts? Come check out my live, online mini course.
Over the past few weeks I've taught you about text hyperlinks and object hyperlinks. This week, let's dive into yet another way you can get your learners to a website: Web objects.
While both text and object hyperlinks will take the learner to a website, the resulting website will either appear in a new browser window/tab, or replace the lesson completely. In the case of the latter, the learner will need click the browser's Back button to get back to the lesson.
Web objects allow you to embed a website directly on a Captivate slide. Once the website loads, the learner can interact with the website as normal (without ever leaving the lesson)
To add a Web object to a slide, click Objects and choose Web.
In my last article I introduced you to merged help and showed you how to create merged Microsoft HTML Help (CHM). This week I will show you how to create links to a merged project.
Create a Link to a Merged Project from Within a Topic
You created the link to another project. Please note: Should the file name of the topic in the remote project be changed, the link will no longer work.
Create Link to Merged Help Within a TOC
In much the same way as from a topic, you can also create a TOC link to a merged project:
The link to the topic is added to the TOC. The same warning I gave you above applies: If the file name of the topic in the remote project is changed, the link will no longer work. Be careful not to change the file name or location of a topic once it is referenced it in another project.
What are you doing Saturday? Are you going to build something? A storage shed perhaps? A deck? Face it, there's no way you'll finish either of those projects tomorrow. If you want to build something that matters, and get it done in a day, why not focus on your LinkedIn Profile?
Whether you are in the market for a new job, just starting your career, or are a well-established professional, LinkedIn is one of the most important tools for establishing your online presence.
Good practices from the start help you to "brand" yourself & determine what kind of message you want to offer about yourself to the world.
During this class, you will learn to use the most powerful features of LinkedIn to get your profile noticed. You will discover best practices for creating an online presence, learn about privacy and other settings, get tips on networking and protecting your online reputation, and more.
The class will use a series of worksheets (provided) for exercises in gathering keywords, writing your summary, and listing your skills and strengths. We'll do some fun group exercises to get everyone thinking of how to improve their own profile.
Right at a time when flat design has become the rage, removing the three-dimensional look that for 30 years (happy anniversary to Windows this November!) has informed us that "this thing looks like you can poke it in! It must be a button!" people are starting to worry and become uncertain about the clear vocabulary that has helped us to write about software and computers for just as long.
In a recent class I had one participant tell me her office has forbidden the word "click" in favor of "select." Another told me that her office had done just the opposite!
The two concerns in question are whether the word "click" loses its meaning on mobile devices, and whether the word "click" is exclusionary toward individuals with disabilities or different abilities.
The good news is that using the word "click" is not ableist, nor is it declaring the hegemony of mouse users over mobile device users. It is just the standard word in technical communications to indicate "execute," on certain kinds of interactive items on screens. In other words, "click" means "hey you, button, do that thing you do."
The button, as with so many things in the computer realm, is an analogy to real-world little pokable nubbins that make things happen on electric devices from vacuum-cleaners to doorbells. Even real-world buttons have undergone some changes in the ways people use them. The buttons on my microwave and stove are now flat to the surface and covered with a plastic sheet so that spaghetti sauce and porkchop grease can't get in and ruin the mechanism. But you still actuate them by pressing them--and most of them still emit a satisfying "click" sound (or a beep) when you do so.
By analogy, "click" is whatever action you do to an on-screen button to make it do its thing. It is executed on various devices and by various computer users in various ways. Many of us already made the leap from "press and release the left button on a mouse device" to "press and release the left side of your mouse even though it no longer has a button" to "press and release the entire touchpad on your Mac laptop so that emits a click sound" to "tap ever-so-gently on the hair-trigger touchpad of your new Windows laptop" to "tap once on the screen of your iPad or phone" to "tap once on the screen of your touch-screen laptop" to "tab to the button and press the Enter key on your keyboard." And with Windows Speech Recognition, to actuate a button, you actually speak the word "click," as in, "Click OK;Click File; Click Bold; Click Save; Click Close," and so on.
To back away from the word "click" right now is as unnecessary, and even nonsensical, as deciding that the Save icon has to be changed because no-one has used an actual mini floppy disk since 2005. The Save icon has become a symbol that will retain its meaning like other permanent glyphs, such as the Arabic numerals or the smiley face. And the word "click" is the way you indicate "actuate" for certain screen items.
But that is not to say that the word "click" should be used for every screen action. By now I hope I have made clear that a "click" is a characteristic of certain screen items-buttons, icons, tools-not of the physical method by which you actuate them. So even though you may also click your mouse to execute the following actions, the word "click" is not the clearest vocabulary word for them.
You "choose" something from a menu, because you are "choosing" from a list of "choices," and once you "choose" the one you want, the chosen command is immediately executed.
choose File > Close
You "select" something that, once you select it, stays selected. You select a cell in Excel. You select part of the text in a document. You select an option from a list and the option stays selected-as in a drop-down list or a list-box. You select a radio button, and you select a checkbox. And they stay selected. Until you "deselect" them.
select the Portrait Orientation radio button
select the Kerning checkbox
from the Font drop-down list, select Verdana
select the first paragraph in your document
deselect the Enable Live Preview checkbox
You "press" a key on a keyboard or a real button on an actual piece of hardware. (The word "press" definitely cannot be used to describe what you do to an on-screen button, because it may create ambiguity: Does "Press Home" mean on the screen or on the keyboard?)
press the Enter key
press the F6 key
press the Power button (on the microwave)
And finally, you "click" an on-screen button, an icon, or a tool.
click the OK button
click the Bold tool
click the Wifi icon
As this vocabulary discussion continues, I would love to hear your take. Is your office using "select" for everything? Are you using "press" for mobile devices? Or tap? Are you combining commands, as in "click or tap the link"? Email me.
Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications: "Do not use choose as an alternative to click or double-click. Choose does not convey any additional information to those who do not use a mouse, and such users normally understand the equivalent action that they must take when a procedure step says to click."
Do you need to learn how to write eLearning scripts? Come check out my live, online mini course.
Last week I taught you how easy it is add a hyperlink to caption text in Adobe Captivate. This week, let's tackle object hyperlinks.
First of all, keep in mind that any interactive object can take a learner to a website. Interactive objects include, but aren't limited to, click boxes, buttons, text entry boxes, and smart shapes (assuming the smart shape is being used as a button).
To insert an interactive object, click Interactions on the Main toolbar. In this example, I'm going to use a Button.
With the object selected, go to the Properties Inspector and select the Actions tab. From the On Success drop-down menu, choose Open URL or file.
Select Web Page from the Link To drop-down menu and then type in the web address. And just like I mentioned last week when creating a text hyperlink, prior to clicking the OK button, visit the drop-down menu to the right of the web address. Select New from the list of options. (This will ensure that the page that appears after the learner clicks is a new page or tab, rather than a page that replaces the current lesson.)
Let's take the example of a contact list, where each entry is a paragraph with the following elements in common:
In our own, considered, humble opinion, we have an awesome blog that every eLearning professional should read.
But sometimes we like to see what our colleagues are doing, which means taking a look at the multitude of eLearning knowledge that exists all over the web. Here are a few blogs that you simply must bookmark and read on a consistent basis:
Is there a blog you would like to add to this list? Feel free to name your go-to blog in as a comment below.
If you've taken any of our Adobe Captivate, Adobe Presenter, or Articulate Storyline classes, you are probably aware that these programs provide a selection of screen characters--cut-out pictures of professional actors in business, medical, or business-casual clothing posed as if they are talking to you. They are intended for use as a kind of avatar of the trainer.
April 16, 2015 in Adobe Captivate, Adobe Presenter, Adobe Presenter Video Express, Adobe's Technical Communication Suite, Articulate Storyline, Camtasia, Captivate, e-learning, eLearning, mLearning, TCS5, TechComm, Technical Communications, Technical Writing, Technology, training, UA, User Assistance, User Experience | Permalink | Comments (0)
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Over the years I've had more than a few eLearning development clients ask us to create links to web resources on a slide. There's more than one way to accomplish the task. Over the next couple of weeks I'll discuss some of my favorite techniques. Up first, text hyperlinks.
To create a text hyperlink, select some text (the text can be contained within a text caption or a smart shape). Then, on the Properties Inspector, select the Style tab. From the Character area, click the Insert Hyperlink tool.
If you've tried Adobe Presenter with Video Express, you are probably aware that you can create a video of yourself as you present your PowerPoint slides, and then display either yourself, your slides, or both in the published project. However, a well-kept secret is that Video Express actually enables you to take a simultaneous video of yourself and anything you have on your computer screen--it doesn't have to be PowerPoint slides.
Here's an example: I needed to show a few different functions in Word 2013. I'm creating an update lesson, not a full how-to video. I want to be able to list the changes in 2013 from the 2010 version of the software, and show just a quick mini-vid of things that have been changed.
First, I turn on Video Express independently of PowerPoint and Presenter. (On my Windows 8 touch-screen machine, I went to the Start screen and tapped the Video Express icon. You can start your copy of Video Express just as you would start any application.)
Next I created a script (you can't do anything without a step-by-step script, and possibly a voiceover script to go with it), and opened my target application, Word 2013, in maximized view. Video Express is automatically set to capture the entire screen.
From the task bar, I retrieve Video Express, and hit the Create New Project button.
I ignore the fact that my video camera is now showing my face--I'm not going to display that aspect of the video in my end product. No need for lighting, makeup, etc. on this one!
I click the Record button.
Video Express disappears, a count-down from 5 to 1 rolls, and consulting my script, I take a live video of some screen actions, narrating as I go.
When I've finished the steps, I hit the stop recording short-cut key combo, Shift-End.
My video opens in Editing view.
At the bottom of the screen, I click the Presentation Only tool.
Now the published output will display only the screen actions, and not my face, but my audio narration will play throughout.
Since the video was shot with Word maximized, I click the Pan & Zoom tool at a crucial point along the timeline.
Then I adjust the Pan and Zoom to focus on the part of the screen that is of interest.
Later along the timeline, I could choose to zoom back out, but that is not needed for my project.
Finished with editing, I go to the lower right corner of the Editing screen, and click Publish.
From the options displayed, I choose Export to PowerPoint. I've decided to create a slide show of the Microsoft Word updates, with a mini-video of each change.
After some processing, PowerPoint opens with my inserted video ready to go on a new slide. I'll add an intro slide and explanatory slides along with additional slides showing my other mini-videos.
Now I can save my project, then use Adobe Presenter to publish it as one continuous movie, with my embedded videos playing automatically in between explanatory slides. Sweet!
So okay, I did end up using PowerPoint and Adobe Presenter along with Video Express after all, but that combo was just what I needed for this hybrid project.
Want more on Video Express? Sign up for my Video Express mini course for just $79, and you'll be ready to make expert videos after just one afternoon session!
Merged help is the process of combining outputs from multiple RoboHelp projects into a single help system. While the content is created from multiple projects, your users see a single, integrated help system.
Over the next couple of weeks I will teach you how to create merged help for several output formats. Since RoboHelp's layouts work differently, I will go over each layout in turn.
I like the idea of games in learning, generally speaking. Why shouldn't learning be fun? Set the capitals of the states to music, turn the stock market into a game, great. But lately the eLearning community is all aflutter about the gamification of learning. Game this. Video that. Avatar all the things!
Sure, I think there's a place for games in learning. Yes, I think to some degree games can improve learner engagement. But what about retention? What about actual knowledge gain? And mostly, what about the message we, as eLearning developers, are sending? Should everything be a game?
To create a menu, open a Camtasia project and choose Tools > Studio tools > Camtasia MenuMaker. From within the MenuMaker Wizard, select Create a new project using the Wizard and click the OK button.
Next you can choose a Template for your menu. After selecting a Template, click Next.
Find and open your produced videos (in the image below, I've added three videos to my menu).
On the final screen, give your menu a title and click Finish to create the menu.
And that's it! Of course, if you want to control the look of the menu, there are plenty of things you can do to customize it... but that's a story for next week.
When you add a sidebar to your project in Adobe Presenter, you have the option of displaying a table of contents (TOC), which in Presenter is called the Outline. The Outline automatically lists the title of each slide, and viewers can click any title to navigate to that slide. Sweet! But let's say you preview your project, and one or more slides turns up in the Outline as "Slide x," where x = the slide number. Not quite as sweet. A slide title like "Slide 5" tells your viewer nothing, making navigation using the Outline a matter of guesswork.
The solution to this problem is not difficult, but it does require visiting a number of places in your presentation and in Presenter. First, you need to know how Presenter got the titles for the slides that are listed correctly in your Outline. If your slide has a Title placeholder in PowerPoint, Adobe Presenter picks up that title automatically. So one solution is simply to give every slide in your presentation a title.
However, you may not want a title to appear on every slide. Some slides might be images or graphics only. No problem. You can still assign the slide a title in Presenter that will only be displayed in the Outline.
On the Adobe Presenter tab of the Ribbon, from the Tools group, click Slide Manager.
The Slide Manager dialog box lists all of the slides in your project. Notice in my example below that slides 1 and 2 have titles (in quotes after the slide numbers), but slides 3 and 4 do not.
Among the options for each slide is Navigation Name. Click the word None, replace it with the title you want to have displayed in the sidebar Outline, click the OK button, and you are done.
However, in my case, since these slides are just images, I decided not to give each a unique name. Instead, I want it to be clear from the sidebar Outline that these are merely continuations of the previous titled topic. For each, I want the navigation name to be (Continued). Now, I could give each one that navigation name right here in the Slide Manager, but there is a way to cover all unnamed slides at once.
After closing the Slide Manager, click the Theme tool on the Ribbon.
At the bottom of the Adobe Presenter Theme Editor, click the Modify Text Labels button.
Scroll to the bottom of the list of labels, and the second to last one is Unnamed slide title.
Double-click the text Slide %n and replace it with (Continued).
Click the OK button to save your change. Click the OK button on the Theme Editor to close it.
Now, when you preview your project, all of the unnamed slides show up as (Continued) in the Outline. As a bonus, this word also appears in the list of Thumbnails.
Using Captivate's Text to Speech feature allows you to quickly convert written text to voiceover audio. It's an awesome feature. However, we recently had a client who felt that Paul (that was the Speech Agent we used for the project) spoke too fast. The client wanted to know if we cloud slow him down a bit.
While you might think that controlling the cadence used by the Speech Agent was beyond your control, it's actually really easy. Prior to converting a slide note to speech, just add a bit of code (known as Voice Text Markup Language or VTML) to the text.
Suppose you have hired voiceover talent to record the audio for your Adobe Presenter project. You give the voiceover artist the script. The script is organized by which slide in your PowerPoint presentation each audio segment belongs to. When you get the voiceover recordings back, you just import each segment to the slide it belongs to. When you preview your presentation, everything plays smooth as silk until--there is a click-activated animation on slide 12. Now, as the pre-recorded audio plays, the slide just sits there, and the animation is never activated. Uh-oh.
That's where synchronization comes in. In Adobe Presenter, you can synchronize slide animation with the imported audio in just a few mouse clicks.
Start with the animated slide active in PowerPoint's Normal view. The animation in my example slide is a simple text build, with each bullet point appearing on mouse click.
From the Presenter tab on the Ribbon, go to the Audio group and click the Sync button.
The presentation opens in Slideshow view, and the Synchronize dialog box opens. At the left, click the green Sync-change timings button.
The audio begins to play, and the Next animation tool becomes available.
When the audio mentions the next bullet point, click the Next animation tool to cue the animation.
Click through the remaining animations on the slide, then click the square Stop button.
Now that you have synchronized the audio with the animations, click the Play button to review your work. The slide audio plays, and the animations occur at the points where you clicked. If you are satisfied with the results, click Save. Otherwise, click Discard and try again.
Close the Synchronize dialog box and you'll find that your project now sports perfectly synchronized audio and animations.
Note: You could synchronize a longer audio clip across multiple slides. However, for ease of corrections and updates, the best practice is to have a separate audio clip for each slide.
When Camtasia developers need to add attention-grabbing visual affects to a software demonstration created using the Camtasia Recorder, the work is typically accomplished by editing the recording in Camtasia Studio. However, using Camtasia's Effects Toolbar, you can add several attention-grabbing visuals while you are recording your video.
Start the Camtasia Recorder. Enable the Effects toolbar by choosing Tools > Recording toolbars and selecting Effects (click the OK button to close the Recording toolbars dialog box).
When I teach Camtasia, one of the activities that garners the largest "that's cool" factor is how easy it is to animate any object. During class, we not only animate an object, we get it to grow and rotate while it's flying around the screen. Sound awesome? Here's how to do it:
Insert an object onto the Camtasia stage (you can animate anything... in the image below I've added a rectangle callout, added a bit of text and positioned it in the middle of the stage).
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Adobe Presenter Video Express is a new version of the video software that comes with Adobe Presenter 10. With it you can record a video of both you and your computer screen at the same time. When you open it from the Presenter ribbon within PowerPoint, you can create a video of yourself and your PowerPoint slides. Once you have recorded your video, you can then edit the project to show either your face, the computer screen, or both. Its intent is to allow you to record yourself presenting your slides just as you would to a live audience.
Set up your camera so that you can look into it as you give the presentation. On a laptop with a built-in camera, this is easy, because as you look at the screen, the camera typically faces you from the top center of the screen.
However, even this placement means that often your eyes will be looking down at the screen instead of up into the camera. If you have to read every word of the script, or if you look at your slides while talking, your eyes will be down the entire time.
Try printing your script landscape, in large print, and tacking it up behind the camera so that you can glance at it and then back to the camera very easily. (Think: teleprompter.)
Better yet, memorize the script, or become very familiar with it, and then just have note cards posted in back of the camera.
If you can purchase professional photography lights, that's a great way to go. With a lower budget, daylight is your best bet--but not direct sunlight. Set yourself up so that you face a window, with curtains or blinds at least partially drawn to even out the light. You may need to supplement the light with some lamps. Make sure there are no shadows or patterns on the wall behind you. The camera's back should be to the window as it faces you.
What is behind you? Some of it will show in the video. A blank wall is best. If there are bookshelves, make sure the books are neat and organized. A potted plant might be a good thing. For specialized topics, you might want a backdrop that relates to the topic. If your office is messy, consider getting a curtain to hang behind you.
Wednesday, February 25, 7:00-8:00 p.m., Eastern
Location: Live, Online... You Can Attend from Anywhere in the World!
Presented by Joe Ganci
More and more people are using mobile devices to access content. You know this and realize that the mobile world is different than the desktop world. You're ready to take the plunge into designing and developing true mobile learning, but where do you start?
During this session, Joe will explain the pros and cons of including certain instructional design features and show how to design and develop alternatives for those elements that will not work on mobile devices. In addition, Joe will discuss features that you may find advantageous when implementing mobile learning. Joe will also make himself available for questions and answers and hopes you'll weigh in with your own observations and experience!
In this session, you will learn to:
Joe Ganci is President of eLearningJoe, LLC, a consulting and training eLearning company located outside of Washington, D.C. Joe has been involved in every aspect of eLearning development since 1983.
As we continue our journey around the world, let's explore some common cultural facts about Poles and their expectations when it comes to training and development.
I've said it a thousand times: when it comes to eLearning (and presentations in general), PowerPoint is not the problem. Bad design is the problem. That being said, I wouldn't let PowerPoint off the hook altogether. Many PowerPoint defaults serve to lead users down a path of poor design choices (starting on a slide that encourages a title followed by a bulleted list, for example).
Let's take a look at tables. When you insert a table in PowerPoint, you will probably end up with something that looks a lot like this:
The table shown above isn't deplorable, but there's a good chance that if you show it to an audience, eyes will glaze over (people will not know where to focus). To fix this table you first need to decide what message you are trying to convey. Do you want your audience to really see all of the information? Are you trying to show a progression over time? Are the totals really important? Maybe just one month is important and the other information is just supporting data? You might find that a table really isn't the solution you want after all. Maybe a simple graphic would do the trick instead.
For the sake of demonstration, let's say you are presenting the chart above and the main point you want to drive home is the 2013 totals. Here is a step-by-step guide to fixing such a table:
Remove font and fill colors
Don't worry, we'll add in some design-y elements later.
Remove Borders and Gridlines
Use your best judgment here to decide whether there should be absolutely no lines, lines in specific places, or a line after each row. Generally you will find that despite temptation to add them, few lines are really needed. This may depend on your audience, how much data you are presenting, and from what size screen your end-users will view this content.
Traditionally you may find that the trend is to bold all items in the top row and the left-most row. Think carefully about whether this is really necessary.
Left align text
Ignore the titles for now and align all of the data's text (not numbers) to the left.
Right align numbers
Still ignoring the titles, right align all of the numeric data.
Align titles with data
Now for the titles. Match the alignment of titles to the data below them.
Resize columns to data
Working within the table in PowerPoint, hover your mouse over the gridlines between each row of data. Your mouse will change to parallel lines with arrows. Double-click and the row to the left will resize to perfectly fit its data.
Use white space
In the example below the data is divided by months of a year so a logical place to add space and provide a rest for the eyes was after each quarter. Use your best judgment when deciding how you might break apart your data to make it more readable.
Round numbers and use consistent precision
There are some fields where it is truly important to show numerical data several units past a decimal point. For most of us, however, that is not the case. Decide where you want to round your numbers and be consistent throughout.
In this case, repeating 2013 for every month of the year was not necessary. Instead the title was changed to "Months of 2013."
It's easy to forget to apply the fonts you've used elsewhere to your table. Take the time to do that now, making sure you are being consistent with the rest of your content.
Now, finally, add in emphasis thoughtfully to illustrate your main point.
Create a List Style with Custom Images
If you'd like to learn more about eLearning, check out IconLogic's eLearning basics mini course. And if you'd like to learn TechSmith Camtasia Studio, Adobe Captivate, Adobe Presenter, or Articulate Storyline, we've got a great collection of live, online classes for you.
If you'd like to learn more about eLearning, check out IconLogic's eLearning basics mini course. And if you'd like to learn TechSmith Camtasia Studio, Adobe Captivate, Adobe Presenter, or Articulate Storyline, we've got a great collection of live, online classes for you.
See also: What Makes Videos Effective, Part 2
Articulate Storyline is one of the hottest eLearning development tools in the world. We are proud to announce that our newest book, "Articulate Storyline 2: The Essentials" is now shipping.
"Articulate Storyline 2: The Essentials" is a step-by-step workbook that teaches you the top Storyline features and will have you creating interactive eLearning projects in as little as two days.
There are tons of activities supported by a mountain of screen shots. As you work through the lessons, there are challenge exercises (Confidence Checks) that will immediately put your new-found skills to the test and reinforce what you've learned.
You'll use Storyline to create projects from scratch. You'll work with slides, learn how to add text, images, characters, and shapes. There are lessons that will teach you how to add interactivity to your slides via buttons, Triggers, text entry areas, and hotspots. And you'll learn how to create quizzes, and how to publish your eLearning projects for the widest possible audience.
Starting off our pet peeves this week are two about fake words. Julie Vails gives us
Anyways. That is not a word!
Anyways is a dialect entry in Webster's. Certainly it does not belong in business writing.
Lisa Blaski calls out
Made-up words--for example making the word "solicit" into "solicitating."
That is a great example of a "back formation." People invent incorrect verbs by working backward from the noun form, in this case, solicitation. Since the noun has that extra syllable in it, they put that syllable into the verb form, or in some cases just make up a verb that does not exist. Here are a couple of others:
Conversate, conversating (from conversation)
commentate (from commentator)
emote (from emotion)
What happens next is that the dictionary writers observe these words and some of them become accepted usage, like curate (from curator).
That extra syllable creeps into some other words as well, such as preventative (should be preventive), but that is not even a back formation from anything!
Stacey Edwards gives us a wordy phrase as a pet peeve:
I frequently see the phrase "in order" added to a description of how to accomplish a particular task. For example, in order to bake a cake, you must have an oven. I cannot think of an example when "in order" actually adds any information or is required for clarity.
And rounding out this week's batch, Mary Gerhardt gives us another example from a regional dialect:
My pet peeve is when people pair the verb need with a past-tense verb, for example, "Those dishes need washed," or "This project needs finished." I respect and appreciate regional dialects, but I cringe when I hear it in a formal business setting or see it in corporate documents. I believe this is just an Iowa phenomenon.
What they are leaving out, of course, is to be.
The hoard continues to grow, and I will keep sharing the peeves. In a few weeks we will try another direction; but for now, stay peeved, my friends, stay peeved.