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Using Camtasia to Glue Your Learners to the Screen

When creating videos for eLearning we often find ourselves stuck with a lot of text on the screen, or simple graphics that seem to sit for what feels like days. Keeping your learner interested, or preventing your project from being boring, can feel like a daunting task. Allow me to share some of my thoughts and ideas on how to keep your eLearning video (or otherwise informational video) interesting.

To do so, I’ll use the following video as an example, digging into my Camtasia project file to show you how each segment was done.

This video script is very information heavy. Trying to make it visually interesting was a challenge. As you can see there were many instances where there was only text on the screen, usually reiterating what was being spoken. Let’s talk about those first

In the first instance, the text (and images) appear on screen at the exact time they are being spoken by the narrator. This helps to emphasize each word that is important in the script. In this case we wanted to make the point that engaging and interactive courses often require time and money—and lots of it! Of course that isn’t the case with eLearning Brothers assets. We give you engaging and interactive templates that will save you time, and therefore money.

The next instance was a similar principle.

This time the words on the screen didn’t line up exactly with what the narrator was saying. There is definitely room for argument on the pros and cons of having words on the screen that don’t match what is being spoken. Our minds have a very hard time comprehending two people (or sources) speaking to us at the same time. However, in this case the text on the screen is helping to organize what is in the script into useful bullet points. These points might not be obvious if they were only read in-line, but once they are presented in this fashion, it becomes more clear.

Graphics are great, but they need to serve a purpose, and be exciting! In one segment of this video we used a plain and boring photo of a man who was also plain and boring. This was to illustrate a point. After that though, we always had lots of color and when it was needed, movement.

Let’s be honest here. Camtasia 9 has helped us by giving us loads of simple tools that can make boring bits like this way more visually exciting. I had a short clip of scrolling through the eLearning Brothers template library, brought it into Camtasia, and BAM. All I had to do was give it a border (Visual Effects > Border) and color that border orange. Then I gave it a slick entrance and exit behavior (Behaviors > Sliding) where I specified that I wanted it coming in from the left and leaving to the right. And finally, I plopped a custom animation on it (Animations > Animations > Custom) with a lean to the left at the beginning and a lean to the right at the end. Seriously easy!

Utilizing the behaviors in Camtasia makes it even easier to get a consistent look and feel to your videos as well. In this clip the different logos of eLearning authoring tools are presented on screen in the order they are mentioned in the script. Lectora has updated their logo since this video was made, as has Storyline, but you get the idea. By selecting all of the logos on the timeline and then dragging a behavior onto one of them, I was able to give all of them the same behavior at once. I can even simultaneously edit that behavior for all of them.

Long story short, the best way to keep your potentially boring video interesting is to keep movement on the screen. Our eyes are drawn to movement and color, so the more colorful and active you can keep your video, the better.

Check out the rest of our video tips and resources for eLearning:


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