In the first article of this two-part post, I argued why interactive content embedded in videos is a good technique, but how does one go about creating this sort of content (without the aid of a well-funded platform such as Coursera, Udacity or EdX)?
Most often it is done using some sort of eLearning authoring tool. Now there are many eLearning authoring tools on the market of various complexities and, of course, prices. You may have heard of a few of them – Camtasia, Adobe Presenter, Adobe Captivate, Articulate Storyline, Lectora Inspire, Raptivity – the list goes on.
Of these tools, I don’t consider Camtasia a true eLearning authoring tool even though the Windows version supports some minimal embedded quizzing (the Apple version does not), however it is great for producing video. In fact, I often use Camtasia to help me produce the video content for a true eLearning authoring tool like Adobe Captivate.
Adobe Presenter is a Windows-only plug-in for PowerPoint that helps to make a PowerPoint presentation interactive, but is limited primarily to quizzing. Still it’s a good tool if that’s the sort of thing you are looking for.
Of the remaining tools, Adobe Captivate and Articulate Storyline are by far the most popular and easiest to use (and I’ve tried all of them) of the true eLearning authoring tools. The best “bang for the buck” is definitely Adobe Captivate. This is the eLearning authoring tool I turn to most often, as it’s several hundred dollars less expensive than Storyline and is very flexible. It also doesn’t hurt that it works well with other Adobe Creative Suite products like Photoshop.
Captivate is easy enough for a novice to start using, as it’s fairly intuitive (I often like to describe it as PowerPoint on steroids). But it is also a very deep authoring program, offering the ability to do program more interactivity without actually learning how to write code. It also supports branching (allowing for non-linearity of your content based on input from a user) and features an API (application programming interface) whereby third-party developers can create what are known as “widgets” to provide more functionality and interactivity than Adobe Captivate does out of the box. The best widgets I have found come from companies called Infosemantics and CaptivateDev, and include things like adding drag and drop interactivity, embedding the content of webpages (like iFrames in HTML for those who are familiar with that concept), and even some basic analytics using Google Drive. It’s a great feature that other eLearning authoring tools simply don’t have.
All of the tools mentioned above have 30-day free trials and I encourage you to try some of them if you are looking to add interactivity to your videos. I’m also happy to consult with anyone who is interested in trying this technique. Sometimes these programs can be daunting but I can help design templates and provide some basic training to get you going. Here are some recent examples/demos that I have helped to design with Adobe Captivate: Asking Good Interview Questions, Spanish Interactive Video Lessons, Global Climate Change Mini-Lectures, ADEPT (Autism Distance Education Parent Training) Modules. If you’re interested in using free web tools to achieve a similar (albeit less dynamic) approach, you also may want to check out YouTube’s Quizzing Beta or Popcorn.js which provide some interesting options.
Embedding quizzes and other interactions in video is one of the more exciting approaches that eLearning offers. Not only is this technique an incredibly dynamic way to improve learning, but creating these interactive, multimedia materials can be quite an enjoyable experience! The next time you produce a video, I hope you consider adding some interactivity to see how it improves learning for your students.