Quizzes and Interactions in Camtasia Studio

A step-by-step guide to producing high-quality, professional E-learning videos for effective screencasting and training

This article by David B. Demyan, the author of the book eLearning with Camtasia Studio, covers the different types of interactions, description of how interactions are created and how they function, and the quiz feature.

In this article, we will cover the following topics specific topics:

  • The types of interactions available in Camtasia Studio

  • Video player requirements

  • Creating simple action hotspots

  • Using the quiz feature

(For more resources related to this topic, see here.)

Why include learner interactions?

Interactions in e-learning support cognitive learning, the application of behavioral psychology to teaching. Students learn a lot when they perform an action based on the information they are presented. Without exhausting the volumes written about this subject, your own background has probably prepared you for creating effective materials that support cognitive learning. To boil it down for our purposes, you present information in chunks and ask learners to demonstrate whether they have received the signal.

In the classroom, this is immortalized as a teacher presenting a lecture and asking questions, a basic educational model. In another scenario, it might be an instructor showing a student how to perform a mechanical task and then asking the student to repeat the same task.

We know from experience that learners struggle with concepts if you present too much information too rapidly without checking to see if they understand it. In e-learning, the most effective ways to prevent confusion involve chunking information into small, digestible bites and mapping them into an overall program that allows the learner to progress in a logical fashion, all the while interacting and demonstrating comprehension.

Interaction is vital to keep your students awake and aware. Interaction, or two-way communication, can take your e-learning video to the next level: a true cognitive learning experience.

Interaction types

While Camtasia Studio does not pretend to be a full-featured interactive authoring tool, it does contain some features that allow you to build interactions and quizzes. This section defines those features that support learners to take action while viewing an e-learning video when you request them for an interaction.

There are three types of interactions available in Camtasia Studio:

  • Simple action hotspots

  • Branching hotspots

  • Quizzes

You are probably thinking of ways these techniques can help support cognitive learning.

Simple action hotspots

Hotspots are click areas. You indicate where the hotspot is using a visual cue, such as a callout. Camtasia allows you to designate the area covered by the callout as a hotspot and define the action to take when it is clicked. An example is to take the learner to another time in the video when the hotspot is clicked. Another click could take the learner back to the original place in the video.

Quizzes

Quizzes are simple questions you can insert in the video, created and implemented to conform to your testing strategy. The question types available are as follows:

  • Multiple choice

  • Fill in the blanks

  • Short answers

  • True/false

Video player requirements

Before we learn how to create interactions in Camtasia Studio, you should know some special video player requirements. A simple video file playing on a computer cannot be interactive by itself. A video created and produced in Camtasia Studio without including some additional program elements cannot react when you click on it except for what the video player tells it to do. For example, the default player for YouTube videos stops and starts the video when you click anywhere in the video space.

Click interactions in videos created with Camtasia are able to recognize where clicks occur and the actions to take. You provide the click instructions when you set up the interaction. These instructions are required, for example, to intercept the clicking action, determine where exactly the click occurred, and link that spot with a command and destination. These click instructions may be any combination of HyperText Markup Language (HTML), HTML5, JavaScript, and Flash ActionScript. Camtasia takes care of creating the coding behind the scenes, associated with the video player being used. In the case of videos produced with Camtasia Studio, to implement any form of interactivity, you need to select the default Smart Player output options when producing the video.

Creating simple hotspots

The most basic interaction is clicking a hotspot layered over the video. You can create an interactive hotspot for many purposes, including the following:

  • Taking learners to a specific marker or frame within the video, as determined on the timeline

  • Allowing learners to replay a section of the video

  • Directing learners to a website or document to view reference material

  • Showing a pop up with additional information, such as a phone number or web link

Try it – creating a hotspot

If you are building the exercise project featured in this book, let's use it to create an interactive hotspot. The task in this exercise is to pause the video and add a Replay button to allow viewers to review a task. After the replay, a prompt will be added to resume the video from where it was paused.

Inserting the Replay/Continue buttons

The first step is to insert a Replay button to allow viewers to review what they just saw or continue without reviewing. This involves adding two hotspot buttons on the timeline, which can be done by performing the following steps:

  1. Open your exercise project in Camtasia Studio or one of your own projects where you can practice.

  2. Position the play head right after the part where text is shown being pasted into the CuePrompter window.

  3. From the Properties area, select Callouts from the task tabs above the timeline.

  4. In the Shape area, select Filled Rounded Rectangle (at the upper-right corner of the drop-down selection). A shape is added to the timeline.

  5. Set the Fade in and Fade out durations to about half a second.

  6. Select the Effects dropdown and choose Style.

  7. Choose the 3D Edge style. It looks like a raised button.

  8. Set any other formatting so the button looks the way you want in the preview window.

  9. In the Text area, type your button text. For the sample project, enter Replay Copy & Paste.

  10. Select the button in the preview window and make a copy of the button. You can use Ctrl + C to copy and Ctrl + V to paste the button.

  11. In the second copy of the button, select the text and retype it as Continue. It should be stacked on the timeline as shown in the following screenshot:

    E-Learning with Camtasia Studio

  12. Select the Continue button in the preview window and drag it to the right-hand side, at the same height and distance from the edge. The final placement of the buttons is shown in the sample project.

  13. Save the project.

Adding a hotspot to the Continue button

The buttons are currently inactive images on the timeline. Viewers could click them in the produced video, but nothing would happen. To make them active, enable the Hotspot properties for each button. To add a hotspot to the Continue button, perform the following steps:

  1. With the Continue button selected, select the Make hotspot checkbox in the Callouts panel.

  2. Click on the Hotspot Properties... button to set properties for the callout button.

  3. Under Actions, make sure to select Click to continue.

    E-Learning with Camtasia Studio

  4. Click on OK.

The Continue button now has an active hotspot assigned to it. When published, the video will pause when the button appears. When the viewer clicks on Continue, the video will resume playing. You can test the video and the operation of the interactive buttons as described later in this article.

Adding a hotspot to the Replay button

Now, let's move on to create an action for the Replay copy & paste button:

  1. Select the Replay copy & paste button in the preview window.

  2. Select the Make hotspot checkbox in the Callouts panel.

  3. Click on the Hotspot properties... button.

  4. Under Actions, select Go to frame at time.

  5. Enter the time code for the spot on the timeline where you want to start the replay. In the sample video, this is around 0:01:43;00, just before text is copied in the script.

    E-Learning with Camtasia Studio

  6. Click on OK.

  7. Save the project.

The Replay copy & paste button now has an active hotspot assigned to it. Later, when published, the video will pause when the button appears. When viewers click on Replay copy & paste, the video will be repositioned at the time you entered and begin playing from there.

Using the quiz feature

A quiz added to a video sets it apart. The addition of knowledge checks and quizzes to assess your learners' understanding of the material presented puts the video into the true e-learning category.

By definition, a knowledge check is a way for the student to check their understanding without worrying about scoring. Typically, feedback is given to the student for them to better understand the material, the question, and their answer. The feedback can be terse, such as correct and incorrect, or it can be verbose, informing if the answer is correct or not and perhaps giving additional information, a hint, or even the correct answers, depending on your strategy in creating the knowledge check.

A quiz can be in the same form as a knowledge check but a record of the student's answer is created and reported to an LMS or via an e-mail report. Feedback to the student is optional, again depending on your testing strategy.

In Camtasia Studio, you can insert a quiz question or set of questions anywhere on the timeline you deem appropriate. This is done with the Quizzing task tab.

Try it – inserting a quiz

In this exercise, you will select a spot on the timeline to insert a quiz, enable the Quizzing feature, and write some appropriate questions following the sample project, Using CuePrompter.

Creating a quiz

Place your quiz after you have covered a block of information. The sample project, Using CuePrompter, is a very short task-based tutorial, showing some basic steps. Assume for now that you are teaching a course on CuePrompter and need to assess students' knowledge. I believe a good place for a quiz is after the commands to scroll forward, speed up, slow down, and scroll reverse. Let's give it a try with multiple choice and true/false questions:

  1. Position the play head at the appropriate part of the timeline. In the sample video, the end of the scrolling command description is at about 3 minutes 12 seconds.

  2. Select Quizzing in the task tabs. If you do not see the Quizzing tab above the timeline, select the More tab to reveal it.

  3. Click on the Add quiz button to begin adding questions. A marker appears on the timeline where your quiz will appear during the video, as illustrated in the following screenshot:

  4. In the Quiz panel, add a quiz name. In the sample project, the quiz is entitled CuePrompter Commands.

  5. Scroll down to Question type. Make sure Multiple Choice is selected from the dropdown.

  6. In the Question box, type the question text. In the sample project, the first question is With text in the prompter ready to go, the keyboard control to start scrolling forward is _________________.

  7. In the Answers box, double-click on the checkbox text that says Default Answer Text. Retype the answer Control-F.

  8. In the next checkbox text that says <Type an answer choice here>, double-click on it and add the second possible answer, Spacebar. Check the box next to it to indicate that it is the correct answer.

  9. Add two more choices: Alt-Insert and Tab.

  10. Your Quiz panel should look like the following screenshot:

  11. Click on Add question.

  12. From the Question type dropdown, select True/False.

  13. In the Question box, type You can stop CuePrompter with the End key.

  14. In Answers, select False.

  15. For the final question, click on Add question again.

  16. From the Question type dropdown, select Multiple Choice.

  17. In the Question box, type Which keyboard command tells CuePrompter to reverse?.

  18. Enter the four possible answers:

    • Left arrow

    • Right arrow

    • Down arrow

    • Up arrow

  19. Select Down arrow as the correct answer.

  20. Save the project.

Now you have entered three questions and answer choices, while indicating the choice that will be scored correct if selected. Next, preview the quiz to check format and function.

Previewing the quiz

Camtasia Studio allows you to preview quizzes for correct formatting, wording, and scoring. Continue to follow along in the exercise project and perform the following steps:

  1. Leave checkmarks in the Score quiz and Viewer can see answers after submitting boxes.

  2. Click on the Preview button. A web page opens in your Internet browser showing the questions, as shown in the following screenshot:

  3. Select an answer and click on Next. The second quiz question is displayed.

  4. Select an answer and click on Next. The third quiz question is displayed.

  5. Select an answer and click on Submit Answers. As this is the final question, there is no Next.

  6. Since we left the Score quiz and Viewer can see answers after submitting options selected, the learner receives a prompt, as shown in the following screenshot:

  7. Click on View Answers to review the answers you gave. Correct responses are shown with a green checkmark and incorrect ones are shown with a red X mark.

    If you do not want your learners to see the answers, remove the checkmark from Viewer can see answers after submitting.

  8. Exit the browser to discontinue previewing the quiz.

  9. Save the project.

This completes the Try it exercise for inserting and previewing a quiz in your video e-learning project.

Summary

In this article, we learned different types of interactions, video player requirements, creating simple action hotspots, and inserting and previewing a quiz.

Resources for Article:


Further resources on this subject:


Books to Consider

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