eLearningInstructional Design

Camtasia Learning Program Critical Analysis

By August 11, 2019 No Comments

Last year, I created a video within a short timeframe at work where I had to include screen recordings, bursts of text, and audio. For this requirement, I knew I wanted to use Techsmith’s Camtasia because I’d already used the program for simple screen recordings and found that feature intuitive. However, because my knowledge of the program was basic at that time, I decided to watch several tutorials to help fill my knowledge and performance gaps.

Techsmith’s screen recording and video editor program Camtasia can be purchased and downloaded at their website here and also includes a trial version as well. The intended audience includes anyone who would like to create a video and share that information such as an instructional designer in a business environment or instructor in an educational setting.

When a user scrolls down Camtasia’s home page, the program lists three easy steps to create a video. For step one, screen recording options include using a website, images, or PowerPoint slides. For step two, effects can be added, such as image transitions, kinetic typography, and quizzes. Finally, in step three, the video can be shared in a .mp4 format or uploaded directly to such websites as YouTube.

To access tutorials, at the top of the home page, hover over Support, select Tutorials then select Camtasia. From here, the user has options to watch tutorials that start with the essentials or skip to more advanced features.

Camtasia tutorials are an excellent example of how to incorporate learning principles as follows:

  • With the multimedia principle, both graphics and text are used to display what the software can do. Animations are used to show how specific text and graphics can be incorporated in a video such as rotating text or panning in on an image.
  • With the contiguity principle, the user can open the tutorial but still be within Camtasia’s website for easy accessibility to other areas. The audio follows along with exact timing to what is happening in the tutorial.
  • For the modality principle, as an example, one tutorial displays the words’ Visual Properties’ while showing how those words can be scaled to a different size or rotated on an axis. The user has the option to turn on the audio and listen to a brief description of the animation as well for further explanation.
  • With the redundancy principle, Camtasia displays short on-screen text or images to show what the software can do. Additionally, the user has navigational control over replaying parts of the video, turning the audio or closed captioning on or off.
  • As for coherence and personalization principles, the software focuses on giving instructions without extraneous sounds. An instructor speaks in a conversational tone.

Overall, Camtasia offers intuitive, self-paced tutorials that give users navigational control to stop and start if practicing along using the program. The program appears to cover all the essential elements of what makes a learner-focused tutorial. Their video tutorials include closed caption to aid in accessibility, an audio mute option, speed and quality options, a share option to email or LinkedIn as examples, an airplay option if using Apple TV, and a full-screen computer option.

Although a user can take any tutorial in any order without specific sequencing, my suggestion would be to start with the essential tutorials before moving on to the more advanced tutorials. Choosing this sequence will give the user a solid knowledge foundation of navigation and basic features.

As for any gender or ethnicity stereotypes, and in watching several of their tutorials, I noticed the same male instructor’s voice. Also, out of all the images used in the tutorials, I spotted one photograph of a white male used to describe how to change the background color. The rest of the images were landscape or shapes.

If the user needs more feedback with a software function, one can hover over Support or Resources on the top toolbar of the home page. Support and resources include a help center, community forum, blog, and the TechSmith Academy. There are more free videos and courses on topics such as writing and using scripts or syncing audio and video.

Finally, to further enhance the learning experience, Camtasia could consider adding a female instructor’s voice for some of the tutorials and adding another photograph or two of diverse individuals in the image library.

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