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Tutorial Review: Building an E-learning course with Camtasia Studio 8

This eight-section information and training course, developed and delivered by Joe Deegan, presents a hands-on opportunity to learn how to use Camtasia Studio 8 on a Microsoft Windows® operating system. Deegan, who has created e-learning courses for several software applications, employs a “I show you, now you show me/yourself” approach that builds the learner’s skills.

Target Audience

This course is meant for two types of users, says Deegan during the overview: new users, who will benefit most from following the course in sequence from beginning to end; and experienced users, who are familiar with most features but want to go straight to a lesson module to learn something specific. This course does not discuss features and functions that are new for Studio 8, although an experienced user might notice new functionality and cosmetic changes in the user interface.

How the Tutorial is Presented

In addition to video chapters that present both a real-time presentation of the software in use and description of how and why to use the software, Deegan prompts e-learners to practice using the functions after each chapter section. The e-learning course includes prepared sample files that are used in the on-screen presentation; the user can mimic Deegan’s steps and then produce similar, if not the same, results. Deegan also encourages participants to create or edit a new course—risky for the novice but practical for a user modifying an existing course.


The course content is solid, but the Packt framework is clunky, especially for an experienced Camtasia user who has selective training needs. The Main Menu can’t be viewed in a split or side window, so if the user selects either the Main Menu or the Course Overview while watching the presentation in a browser, the tutorial is reset to the beginning. This is frustrating. Why not allow the user to pause and then return? The course overview includes a table of contents (nitpicking: it is an outline, not a table) that is not hyperlinked to the tutorial, which is surprising for a Web-based tutorial.


So, the big question is whether the course is effective. The tutorial definitely provides accurate information about the software and offers practical ways to prepare a learning course. The tutorial does not include any embedded assessment tools, which might leave the novice user wondering if he or she is on the right track. What might help is a post-section answer key that displays the sample file correctly updated. In fact, this would be useful for a course participant who is jumping in well after the first few chapters, or for a novice who is not successfully updating the test samples.

Conclusion

Overall, the course material is relevant and useful. Deegan’s presentation style is pleasant and casually professional, a nice balance. The course format is clunky and not very interactive, which might be frustrating for an experienced user. The course also lacks self-assessment other than hoping for similar outcomes with the sample files.

Reviewed May 2014