Unfortunately, you cannot share assets found in one project's Clip Bin with another project. That's where the Library comes in.
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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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 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).
When: September 22-25
Where: McCormick Place, Chicago (Part of the Online Learning Conference Certification program)
There are multiple tools available that will let you create compelling eLearning content including Adobe Captivate, Articulate Storyline, TechSmith Camtasia Studio, and Adobe Presenter. But which tool is the best, most affordable option for your needs?
Once you select your eLearning tool, what's next? How do you get started creating your first eLearning content? Once you start, how long is it going to take you to finish? What's the real cost for your effort? Are there hidden costs? How will you be able to measure the effectiveness of your eLearning?
Join IconLogic's Kevin Siegel for an intense, tool-agnostic, hands-on workshop where you'll get a jump start on building your first eLearning course.
Among other things, you'll learn:
What came first, the chicken or the egg? Wait... before answering that, let's rework that classic question with this: what comes first, the eLearning or the PowerPoint presentation?
September 03, 2014 in Adobe Captivate, Adobe's Technical Communication Suite, Articulate Storyline, Camtasia, Captivate, Documentation, e-learning, eLearning, Microsoft PowerPoint, mLearning, PowerPoint, TCS5, TechComm, Technical Communications, TechSmith Camtasia Studio, training, UA, User Assistance, User Experience, UX | Permalink | Comments (0)
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You can create the best-looking, most well-written eLearning lesson anyone has ever seen. But for the lesson to be effective, one of the most important things to keep in mind is that more does not mean better. If your lesson plays too long, you run the risk of losing the attention span of your learner and lowering the effectiveness of the lesson in general.
So how long is too long? The answer is directly tied to the average attention span of an adult learner. According to Joan Middendorf and Alan Kalish, Indiana University, "Adult learners can keep tuned in to a lecture for no more than 15 to 20 minutes at a time."
In their excellent article, The 'Change-Up' in Lectures, Middendorf and Kalish found that after three to five minutes of 'settling down' at the start of class, a lapse of attention usually occurred 10 to 18 minutes later. As the lecture proceeded the attention span became shorter and often fell to three or four minutes towards the end of a standard lecture.
I have been teaching classes for nearly 30 years (both online and in-person). Keeping my students engaged (and awake) has always been a top concern. Here's one final quote from the Middendorf and Kalish article (and it's something to which any trainer can relate). One of their colleagues attended a class and observed the following:
"I sat in the back of the classroom, observing and taking careful notes as usual. The class had started at one o'clock. The student sitting in front of me took copious notes until 1:20. Then he just nodded off. The student sat motionless, with eyes shut for about a minute and a half, pen still poised. Then he awoke and continued his rapid note-taking as if he hadn't missed a beat."
In the 1800s, people had very good attention spans. In her article, Keeping Pace with Today's Quick Brains, Kathie F. Nunley cited the Lincoln-Douglas debates which were literally read from paper and lasted for hours. Nunley said that "people stayed, listened, and paid attention."
Back in the Lincoln-Douglas days, there was less competition for the attention span of the debate attendees. But what about today? Why are attention spans getting shorter? More likely than not the culprit is the distractions and experiences of modern daily life.
"Today's mind, young or old, is continuously bombarded with new and novel experiences. Rather than novel opportunities every few days or weeks, we now have novelty presented in micro-seconds," said Nunley.
eLearning and the Common Goldfish
So eLearning lessons can last anywhere between 15 and 20 minutes and still be effective, yes? Ummm, no. The 15-20 minute range was for an in-person classroom with a live trainer. The times are just a bit different when it comes to asynchronous eLearning lessons that will be accessed over the Internet.
According to the article Turning into Digital Goldfish, "The addictive nature of web browsing can leave you with an attention span of a goldfish."
Granted, a learner accessing your eLearning lesson will have a greater attention span than a typical web surfer--or even a goldfish. However, in my experience developing eLearning, I put the attention span of an adult learner at 15-20 seconds per slide or scene. If the slide/scene plays any longer, your learner will begin to fog out.
I know what you're thinking: 15-20 seconds is not enough time to teach anything. If your slide contains some voiceover audio, a text caption or two, and an interactive object controlling navigation (such as a button or click box), 15-20 seconds is perfect. Your student will have enough time to understand and absorb the content before moving on to the next slide.
I encourage students who attend my eLearning classes to try to chunk a one-hour eLearning course into several short eLearning lessons. That would translate into 12 Captivate eLearning lessons (if you use the 5 minute-per-lesson timing) for the 60-minute course.
What do you think? Is 3-5 minutes the right amount of timing for an eLearning module? I'd love to see your opinion as comments below.
April 23, 2014 in Adobe Captivate, Adobe's Technical Communication Suite, Articulate Storyline, Camtasia, Captivate, e-learning, eLearning, Online Training, Storyline, TCS5, TechComm, Technical Communications, Technology, TechSmith Camtasia Studio, training, UA, User Assistance, User Experience, UX | Permalink | Comments (2)
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Want more free images for your eLearning or PowerPoint presentations? How about over a MILLION more? In December of last year, the British Library released into the public domain a huge collection of scanned images from more than 65,000 books spanning the 16th to 19th centuries. Yes, that's right, I said public domain. That means these images are free to use, share, and modify in any way that you see fit. The library asks only that you help to populate the metadata for the images to help make them more easily searchable--and to help spread the knowledge.
The project is called the Mechanical Curator and is housed on a tumblr page that purports to post a randomly selected small illustration or ornamentation from these antiquated books. All of the images can be found on the British Library's flickr feed.
Think these images are a little too old school for anything you'll be designing? Think again. Just for funsies I threw together a little eLearning layout by using the British Library's free images. Here's what I came up with:
The great thing about these images is that most all of them go together cohesively. And that "B" I used? I was able to find every letter I searched for, in a variety of styles. That could lead to endless designs... for free! Design on, friends.
April 11, 2014 in Adobe Presenter, Adobe's Technical Communication Suite, Camtasia, Captivate, e-learning, eLearning, Microsoft PowerPoint, Online Training, PowerPoint, Storyline, TCS5, TechComm, Technical Communications, Technical Writing, Technology, TechSmith Camtasia Studio, training, UA, User Assistance, User Experience | Permalink | Comments (2)
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When developing eLearning lessons using any of the top development tools (Adobe Captivate, Articulate Storyline, or TechSmith Camtasia Studio), you need to take the size of your learner's device into account. If you make your eLearning lesson too large (I'm talking width and height, not how many megabytes the lesson might be), learners with small displays may have to scroll to see your content. If your published lesson has the ability to scale to fit the learners display, your content could scale down so small that your content will become unusable.
While you can create a project at one size and resize it smaller later, it's not an ideal workflow. Resizing a project once you've started will likely result in shifting of screen objects that require additional editing on your end. For that reason, it's best to pick a width and height that will work for the widest possible range of devices right from the start.
Several years ago, the typical desktop computer display resolution was 800x600 pixels. If you developed eLearning content for a screen resolution that low, a project size of 640x480 was recommended. A few years later, 1024x768 was the standard screen resolution, resulting in typical eLearning lessons sized to 800x600. According to w3schools.com, the standard desktop screen resolution today is 1366x768 and it's trending higher. (You'll find that available resolutions vary from system to system. For instance, I use an HP 22 inch display that doesn't support 1366x768. Instead, my closest options are 1360x768 and 1376x812.)
Because screen resolutions are higher than ever, developers are seeking an optimal viewing experience for learners. But what's the ideal size for an eLearning lesson? Unfortunately, there isn't a cookie-cutter answer. The size of the lesson you create depends largely on your customer. What is the typical device you expect your learner to be using? How big is its screen? Is the device typically used vertically (portrait) or horizontally (landscape)? What is its typical resolution?
If you are creating content for learners using standard desktop computers (Windows or Mac), a project size of 800x600 still works well. However, if you plan to post your content to YouTube, stay away from 800x600. At that size, your lesson won't look quite right when viewed on YouTube (you will likely see black bars on one or both sides of the video, and the video might look distorted during playback).
What's the Relationship Between Project Size and Screen Resolution?
Let's say that you create a project that is sized to 800x600. I view your lesson on a 17-inch monitor with a resolution of 1024x768. In this scenario, your lesson is going to look fine on my monitor. But what if I have a large screen (a 27-inch monitor for instance), and I'm using a high resolution? Your lesson is going to have a lot of white space to the left and right. Will that white space make the lesson look silly? Who's to say?
It's a delicate balancing act between the size of the capture area and an ideal screen resolution. When I create YouTube videos, I set my eLearning tool's capture size to 1024x568 and my screen resolution to 1440x900. While I could go higher with my screen resolution and capture more of the screen, the captured screen text at a higher screen resolution is small and hard to read. When I upload videos to YouTube, the already small text gets worse because YouTube makes my videos smaller.
More information on sizing eLearning projects:
I'd love to hear from you. What is the best project size you've come up with? (Please post your comments below. Let me know who your target end-user is and the eLearning development tool you use.)
April 01, 2014 in Adobe Captivate, Adobe Presenter, Adobe's Technical Communication Suite, Articulate Storyline, Camtasia, Captivate, e-learning, eLearning, mLearning, Online Training, Storyline, TCS5, TechComm, Technical Communications, Technology, TechSmith Camtasia Studio, training, UA, User Assistance | Permalink | Comments (0)
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