One of the greatest struggles I see with Instructional Designers is trying decide which rapid authoring tool to purchase and spend their limited time learning. Generally, it's a choice between ArticulateCaptivate and Camtasia Studio with Camtasia running a distant third (unless software demos make up the bulk of the training). 

in the past I would have agreed that Camtasia would not have been my first choice for true e-learning but with the two most recent releases of this software I've found it to be the perfect tool for not just software demos but also soft skills and compliance training.

Multiple Video Windows keep Learners Attentive

When I think of Technical training courses Camtasia has always been my first choice. It takes a "mean" screen capture video and has a full featured video editor. Now with the new Camtasia 8 you can have multiple video tracks so you could display a your screen recording  inside one window, with the presenter  talking in another and an animation to go along with the screen recording in the third. We're talking some serious visual interest. Let's just say your learner will not be bored.

More Engagement using Hotspots

I also use to think that Camtasia would not be engaging enough for soft skills training because it would be too "Linear". I like when students can choose a particular learning path and interact with the video by clicking on buttons or characters.  Now I've learned create some really attractive PowerPoint slides , import them into Camtasia with all the animation intact then add Camtasia's "Hotspots". These allow anything to be clickable so the learner can move seamlessly to a new screen or even outside the video to additional learning materials.

Ability to Collect and Report Test Scores

Lastly, I used to feel limited by the quizzes and reporting features in Camtasia but with the latest version they have really made their testing feature easier to use.  They have also included a free reporting service that collects scores , organizes them and sends you a daily report of how the students are doing. Sweet!

What Camtasia is NOT Good For

Now, a fair review would not be possible without telling you what Camtasia will not do.

  1. If you need a simulated software environment (because a student would really mess something up if they practiced with real software) you need to check out Captivate. I have personally not used it but I hear the latest version is amazing for simulations. I just haven't had a request for that type of course yet.
  2. If you need fancier testing such as drag and drop quizzes where students can move things into a certain order  or, basically, move things around on the screen at all- you will want to look at Articulate.
  3. Articulate also offers much more complex branching than you can get with Camtasia. I've used Articulate for some soft skills courses and like it a lot. I just can't justify the price.  It's beyond my budget at about $1400 whereas Camtasia Studio cost me less than $300.

If you'd like to see some of the e-learning I've developed with Camtasia Studio over the past couple of years Please join me, Camtasia specialist Lon Naylor and Elearningindustry.com/ site founder Christopher Pappas on Sept 25th for a free Webinar called "Camtasia Studio 8 E-learning Case Studies".

Please register here to join us.

http://learncamtasia.com/eLearningIndustry/