Action! Activity! Stimulating Interaction in eLearning

An instructional designer can stand out from others by developing comprehensive learning experiences that stimulate user interaction.

There are three components to instructional design development that are typically included in eLearning:

  1. Tell– the user about the subject matter
  2. Show– the user the subject matter with images and videos
  3. Do– provide the user with a practice activity that replicates what was told and shown

The tell and show are most commonly used in instructional design because they take less time and resources to develop.

Depending on the scope and time frame to develop the training project, talented instructional designers are able to create a stimulating user interaction experience—the Do.

I’ve recently had the opportunity to begin new projects where I’ve scoped out interaction.

After discussing the timeline and workload with my colleagues, we decided to complete two reiterations of the courses.

The first versions of the courses include the “tell” and “show” components. We decided to launch these first versions of the courses in order to provide our users with timely content. The second version of the courses will include the tell and show content, but will also include user activities.

We record all of the content pieces for both versions of the course at the same time, but post production is first conducted on the Tell and Show version. After a course is complete and launched to to the users, the Do content is then edited, added to the course, and relaunched to the users.

The content for these courses were produced as follows:

  1. Tell– Use Adobe Audition to record subject matter experts’  narrations of the content
  2. Show– At the same recording sessions as the “tell”, the subject matter experts’ record a screen capture using TechSmith’s Camtasia. After editing these with the voiceovers, the final result are “Demonstrations” that show the user the subject matter
  3. Do – The final piece of production is recording a second version of the subject matter in Adobe Captivate. We’ve been able to record Camtasia and Captivate on the same computer, at the same time. After post production is concluded on the tell and show, attention is focused on producing “Try-It’s” that allow the users to practice what they learned earlier in the course.

About Julie Tausend Burba

Instructional Designer at Hulu, Ed Tech and Project Management enthusiast. MBA Technology Management, MS Management, BS Communications, Traveler and Cook.

Posted on May 24, 2014, in Educational Technology, Instructional Design, Project Management, Tausend Talks Shop and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I want to create short modules for a WordPress e-portfolio. I do not have access to Captivate or Camtasia yet, but am researching which to purchase for my project. What do you recommend as a starting point?

    • Hello Simone!

      Thanks for reading my Web site. Captivate and Camtasia are very similar, and eLearning developers will argue for their favorite. For me it boils down to two key points:

      1) User/learner interaction — Captivate does a much better job creating simulations from the beginning. To do so in Camtasia is a bit cumbersome, hotboxes can be added to Camtasia in post-production to imitate a simulation. I recommend Captivate if you want to create a simulation for your users to perform/practice with.

      2) Timeline- Captivate and Camtasia have different editing timelines. Camtasia works on one long timeline so you can see your project from start to finish, it makes editing transitions between scenes easier, but if you have a very long project, you may become overwhelmed with the project on one continuous timeline. Captivate creates a new slide for each new scene, which means you have to pay attention when editing from one scene to the next.

      When I taught myself Captivate, I used the book “Adobe Captivate 7: The Essentials”, which includes hands on activities and access to files to work with. It’s more of a training manual (

      Learning Camtasia, I watched the tutorial videos on TechSmith’s Web site.

      Other eLearning software to consider include Articulate, Lectora, and iSpring (which is a plug-in to PowerPoint).

      I think it all comes down to the topic of your ePortfolio and making sure that whichever file output you get can be published within WordPress. You can check out my ePortfolio (on the right side menu) created in Captivate and my Video Resume created in Final Cut Pro for inspiration…. but please don’t copy the look, feel, and organization of my pieces.

      Good luck!

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