In this chapter, we will answer some of the questions you must have had initially about Camtasia Studio®. The goal is to get you started with the right resources so that you can begin creating professional videos quickly. You will gain insights into how this unique tool can help you accomplish your e-learning video goals.
You have purchased Camtasia Studio or have downloaded the free evaluation, produced by TechSmith Corporation, and are anxious to start using it as the powerful teaching tool it has become. There are plenty of resources available to learn how to use the program and perhaps you have even taken a course or viewed the tutorials available at TechSmith's website (http://www.techsmith.com/tutorial-camtasia-8.html).
Years ago, it was adequate to simply videotape the teacher's lecture and give students access to the video and other resources such as a textbook or reference material. In business, videos were produced by the media department for the same purpose, educating personnel. Just by consuming the media, the students would theoretically learn the material and your teaching goals would be reached. While this approach was effective in some circumstances, especially in the "soft business skills" and academic categories, it does not do so well when teaching tasks or processes.
Also, those early attempts lacked interactive elements such as asking questions, presenting different scenarios, giving instructions, and even demonstrating an understanding of the material through knowledge assessments.
Today, video occupies a proven spot in the hierarchy of learning modalities when encompassed in a well-planned and executed e-learning program. This exemplifies the power of teaching complex subjects by showing you how to perform a task and then allowing the learner to demonstrate mastery. For example, you can point out the exact location of a switch on an appliance and describe how to use it very effectively with moving pictures and words. A video show-and-tell is perfect for describing how to use a computer program. Even classroom whiteboard teaching can benefit from the special effects available in today's e-learning environment.
The challenge is to think about how to best use these inherent advantages when planning your project. Begin by asking yourself the following questions:
What type of learning am I creating?
How can I best show learners what they need to know?
How will the use of a video enhance the learning experience?
Now you are ready to start developing courses, right?
Well, if you want to produce high-quality courses, based on sound e-learning development methodologies, you will want to review a few more topics before starting. Perhaps you still have some additional unanswered questions.
The following are some of the questions you might have about things you will want to review:
What are my goals for this project? What knowledge, information, or skill does the learner need to exhibit when done?
What are the best techniques to use (slideshow, lecture, or desktop video)?
Do I need an outline? In relation to my project, what is the outline and what does it look like?
What about a storyboard or a script? Do I need these?
How can I plan what to record and what steps to include in the instructions?
How can I assemble the information and recorded material needed to create the project?
How about some examples or a sample project? Would these help me get started?
You are in the right place. These topics and more are covered in this chapter.
By the end of this chapter, you will be aware of the steps required to plan an effective, high-quality new e-learning project when using Camtasia Studio. Then you will be prepared to learn more about these topics in the chapters that follow.
Whether in the business or academic worlds, perhaps you have taught students how to do things. This may have happened in a traditional classroom or informal face-to-face sessions. Or perhaps, you have written procedures for others in your organization to follow. Maybe you have some e-learning background already and just want to brush up on what you need to know before getting started. Whatever the situation, you know from experience that setting goals before starting will help your project stay on target.
The topic of goal-setting is discussed thoroughly in Chapter 2, Planning the Project. You will learn the specific components of a good plan, which includes everything up until you start recording. We will cover setting specific goals based on learner analysis, the components of a good plan, and creating an outline. You will understand how the outline is used throughout the project, how it is modified if necessary, and the use of some tips and shortcuts. Finally, the sample outline will be introduced and how to use it will be described.
So you have chosen to use video as a teaching tool for a reason, right? Perhaps you believe that you can reach your goals using video, maybe less expensively, more efficiently, or even more effectively. Now you are on the right track to setting goals realistically.
There are a number of additional reasons you might want to consider when using a video. To understand this better, ask yourself the following questions:
What will be different for our learners or organization after they complete the program?
Will it increase sales? Reduce training expenses?
Reduce employee turnover?
Increase knowledge and opportunity?
Perhaps it will accomplish some combination of these factors.
With your goal or goals firmly in mind, determine the best path to accomplish them. If you were presenting the learning material in a classroom, you would have limited your options to a live lecture at the whiteboard while referring to the textbook. Using Camtasia Studio, you have a different set of powerful options.
Many producers get bogged down on this part of goal setting. It seems daunting to attempt to discover what your learners need to know. Your project will benefit from spending some time thinking about and determining what they need before starting. This applies to video learning material developed using Camtasia Studio as well as other methods. We will cover this topic in detail in Chapter 2, Planning the Project.
Let's assume you have decided to deliver your learning package using video. That's a good start, but you have some more thinking to do and decisions to make.
A recorded slideshow, where you create everything presentation-style using software such as Microsoft PowerPoint
A recorded audio-visual lecture, perhaps incorporating a slide presentation
A computer desktop recording, where you demonstrate how to operate a system, software package, or website
Location video, where you make a movie of someone doing a task
Animations or stock images and footage
A whiteboard presentation, where you draw the information on a real or virtual whiteboard while recording video
In all cases, a vital learning aid is an audio recording with commentary about what is being shown on screen. While it is possible to have a mute video, or one with only music, as a standalone method, this will not be as effective instructionally.
All the delivery methods mentioned in the preceding list can be very effective. The important point is to make a decision about what methods you are going to use and think about how doing it this way will help reach your learning goals.
We will delve into the topic of delivery methods in various places in this book, including a wrap-up in Chapter 8, Deploying Your E-learning Video to the Web or LMS.
Where can I get the information I need?
Where am I going to get the material to record?
What about subject matter expertise?
How will my learners know they are getting correct and authoritative information?
I know about Camtasia Studio, video e-learning, and building e-learning courses. However, if you ask me to create a training program on modern oil and gas exploration, I am going to need a lot of help. I'll go ask the experts and rely on their knowledge.
If you currently teach a subject and have developed material to share with students, you might already have the majority of the source material you need. Simply determine whether they are accurate, comprehensive, and up to date.
If you are the training lead working as part of a technical team, determine who on the team can act as subject matter expert, or SME. In fact, you might have more than one SME on your team, which is even better. Rely on these individuals to provide expertise for your training.
If you neither teach the subject nor are part of an existing team, you will have some special challenges. You will need to assemble a team or find other sources of authoritative information.
Many projects rely on assets that exist outside the material you already have. For our purpose, assets are pictures, illustrations, audio files, and perhaps video files that will be incorporated into your e-learning project. Consider the following example: you have been teaching a course to a live audience about workplace safety. You have a set of "props" you use during this lesson—a heavy box to illustrate the proper lifting technique, a ladder to show how to climb on safely, and a fire extinguisher to demonstrate how to point it at the fire properly.
Having these learning-aid assets in hand before starting the live lesson is a valuable tool, allowing the learners to visualize proper safety techniques as you describe them. But also, ask yourself the following questions:
Will the same assets work in an e-learning video based on the same subject?
How will I be able to reproduce that live experience in a video?
Will I be able to use pictures or illustrations in place of the live demonstrations?
Where will I get these items?
If they do not already belong to me or my company, how can I use them legally?
Similar to creating courses for face-to-face learning, as you begin planning and before you start recording an e-learning course, you will need to find or develop both the raw information you are going to teach and the additional assets you might need. This might include relying on your existing classroom material, interviewing team members to gain the information you need, doing independent research to find information. For assets, you might have to create or acquire additional resources that are appropriate for e-learning videos. We will explore all of these options in depth in Chapter 2, Planning the Project.
In the case of an instructional video, the outline is the same as a learning plan or a classroom course outline. The purpose is to plan the topics to be covered in the proper sequence. As in any creative process, outlining your project before starting is an important step. It helps you organize your thoughts, always with the needs of the learner in mind. If something is important for the learner to know, it should be included in the proper sequence to avoid confusion or mistakes. If it is determined as not important, it should be left out or covered in another project.
For this section, we will consider the details of the outlining process in Chapter 2, Planning the Project, and the sample outline included in Appendix. A sample project is also included with this book. The subject of our sample project is Using CuePrompter.
Now, let's consider some parts of the planning and recording process that are most often neglected. I believe they are vital to the success of your project. A storyboard allows you to draw up the audio, or vocal, content and visual parts of your "story". A good storyboard includes the script of the vocal recording, as well as a description or "stage directions" for the visual part of the recording.
A storyboard gives you a blueprint for your video and keeps you solidly on track with your outline and plan, hopefully focusing on learner needs. In its simplest form for a short project, a storyboard can be a drawing with lines and sticks on a notepad with the words to be spoken in a separate script. For a more comprehensive project, you will need to create a storyboard before you start recording and production. Used properly, a storyboard ensures that your project will be more focused and cohesive. Your learners will gain more understanding of the subject and will appreciate the logical organizational structure of your video.
A storyboard also affords you the opportunity to have your vision reviewed by others before you begin recording and production. If you have clients, other teachers, SMEs, or project team members who can act as reviewers, a storyboard gives them an opportunity to provide you with valuable feedback when changes can be made more easily than later in the project cycle.
The optional shot list helps you plan the video recording session. It is a terse, step-by-step guide that you can print or have on screen while you are recording. Your first impulse when clicking on that big red Record button may be to freeze. This is normal and can be easily overcome. Having a written list to remind you where to start and where to go next is a big help. In a few words, a shot list reminds you of the sequence of events you are going to record. This illustration shows a shot list for a video that describes logging on to a system and setting profile preferences:
A shot list is especially important for video recordings. Whenever the video camera or screen recording software is turned on, you are going to want to know what comes up next. The shot list will put your mind at ease about this. It gives you the proper sequence to execute the list of tasks you are going to record.
This technique works well for a sequence of events that you need to keep in mind while recording. For other projects where the sequence of events is already defined or well understood, you might not need a shot list at all. For example, if your project is based on a deck of presentation slides, the sequence of events is already defined by the position of the individual slides. A shot list in this case would be redundant. The shot list is described in Chapter 4, Creating the Storyboard and a sample is included in Appendix.
This book includes a sample project that you can use to follow along and see these principles in action. You will gain a better understanding of how the information in this book relates to a "real-world" e-learning project created using Camtasia Studio. Let's take a moment to consider this sample project, which you can examine more deeply at the appropriate times when referenced in this book.
The subject of the sample project is one that will be useful for your own consumption: Using CuePrompter. CuePrompter is a web-based teleprompter which I find useful in my own general courses for Camtasia Studio users. The following are the elements included in the sample project and associated material in Appendix:
Project sample: This contains a link to a Camtasia-zipped project file and instructions on downloading and using it. You will be able to use the sample as a starting place in developing your own projects.
Project plan and outline sample: The project plan and outline for the sample project is provided for you to examine and use. A template is also included to be used as described in Chapter 2, Planning the Project.
Script sample: This is the script for the sample project. A script template is also included so that you can use it as described in Chapter 3, Creating the Script.
Storyboard sample: This is the storyboard for the sample project with commentary about the format of the document. A script template is also included so you can use it as described in Chapter 4, Creating the Storyboard.
Shot list sample: This is a sample of a shot list for the sample project with commentary about each entry and how it is used as described in Chapter 4, Creating the Storyboard.
Quiz sample: This is a list of typical questions as they would exist in the sample project. The rationale and techniques being used are described to help you create similar quizzes as described in Chapter 7, Quizzes and Interactions.
The Camtasia Studio templates and samples included with this book are a valuable resource for you to use in your own projects. I recommend you download them now so you will have them available for the exercises in later chapters. The sample project was created with Camtasia Studio. The sample project documents and templates are available both in the Microsoft Word format as well as on Google Docs.
For those readers who have Microsoft Word, the sample documents and templates can be downloaded from the Packt Publishing website, as follows:
Download and store the file
Sample-Project-Using-CuePrompter.zipon your desktop.
.zipfile and move the document templates to your Microsoft Office
To learn how to manage templates on your system, refer to http://support.microsoft.com/kb/924460.
When you create a new document, select the appropriate template. For example, in Chapter 2, Planning the Project, you will be using the
For those readers without Microsoft Word, the documents and templates are available in Google Docs format. Both types of documents can be opened and edited in Open Office applications. For instructions on using the Google Docs versions, refer to Appendix.
In this chapter, you got the opportunity to explore the answers to the questions that you must have had about using Camtasia Studio to produce e-learning videos. The scene is now set to learn about the planning, resources, techniques, and solutions you will be using in your journey. From here on, the book steps you through these topics and coaches you through the whole process of developing and delivering an e-learning video.
Camtasia Studio is a very robust and powerful tool to be used in creating e-learning videos. But just owning and using Camtasia Studio does not mean your e-learning videos will reflect the quality levels you hope to achieve. There is no guarantee inherent in the software that ensures that your learning objectives will be met. This chapter presented some of the other items to be considered such as posing questions you might have asked yourself and providing links to the resources in this book that will help you answer those questions. Going through the chapters that follow, you will learn the importance of sound planning and execution. You will have access to some well-crafted samples to guide you on your way.
The next chapters are about project planning, scripting, and storyboarding. After that, you will learn the basics of creating Camtasia recordings, editing the footage, adding quizzes and interactions, and finally, deploying your finished e-learning video to Web or learning management system. You will get ample opportunities to try out the techniques I describe using the samples provided with this book or your own projects.
Engage your imagination and enjoy the trip!