Creating Flash Tutorials With Adobe Captivate

Flash is one of coolest, most dynamic development platforms I’ve ever worked with, and Captivate is the best way to teach someone how to use it. In this article I’ll explain the best way to produce a Flash tutorial using Adobe Captivate. Actually, the methods discussed can be applied to creating a tutorial for any software, but Flash will be the focus when I provide examples.

Identify the Topic

The first thing you should do is identify your Flash topic. Examples may be “Using the Flash Pencil Tool,” “Using the Flash Selection Tool,” or “Create and Edit Text in Flash”. Notice that these topics are specific and to the point. Too often I see Flash tutorials on the Web that are too vague and general. The tutorials may be entitled “Learn Flash Animation” or “How to Animate in Flash”. One has to watch the tutorial before they’ll know what type of animation is taught.

Flash offers many ways of doing the same thing, so to be clear, these tutorials should have titles like “Learn Flash Motion Tweening” or “How to Animate a Stick Man in Flash”. It is important to remember the KISS principle, which is short for “Keep It Simple Stupid”. If you remember the KISS principle, it will be easier for you to focus on one topic and produce a more effective tutorial. This approach will also help the learner focus on the specific topic you are trying to teach. If you have a big topic to cover, break it into smaller, manageable pieces by creating multiple tutorials.

Record the Screen

Preparing to record the screen is essential to producing a quality tutorial. Adobe Captivate offers several settings to help you create a tutorial that best meets your needs. These settings affect automatic events such as text pop-ups, highlight and click boxes, mouse visibility, click and typing sounds, and many others.

Adobe Captivate offers three recording modes for recording: Demonstration, Assessment Simulation, and Training Simulation. These modes have several preset options that can be customized to meet the specific needs of your simulation. For example, if you want most of the options that are associated with a demonstration, select the Demonstration mode, but then click the Options button, and next the Edit Settings button to open the Recording Mode drop-down list. At this point you can simply select or deselect the options to meet your requirements.

As I mentioned earlier, Flash has many ways of doing the same thing, but every method can’t be covered in one tutorial. I recommend demonstrating the most common method in your tutorial. If you are narrating your lesson, which I highly recommend, you can mention the less-common methods in your narration without actually demonstrating how they are applied.

Write the Script

Again, I highly recommend writing a script and narrating your tutorial. If recording your voice in this way is not natural for you, don’t worry, you’ll get better with practice. I suggest narrating your lesson because some people learn best by seeing the information in action, and others may learn best by hearing it. But everyone is more likely to learn if they encounter the information in more than one way. So, if someone were to hear and see the information, they are more likely to learn it than if they were to only hear it or only see it.

I also recommend writing the script after you have recorded the screen. This is because it is easier to write a script to match what is happening on the screen than it is record a screen to match a written script. You know the screen is accurate because you see the end result of all your actions. However, writing a script of how to perform certain steps from your memory is more likely to have missing steps or contain errors.

Narrate the Tutorial

Narration for the tutorial should be recorded on the corresponding slide, starting with the first slide and in sequential order, working your way through to the last slide. When screen recordings are produced, you’ll notice that some slides (e.g. those recording multiple mouse clicks or screen reloads) do not require narration. This is why it is important to record the screens first, and then add the audio narration to the slides that need it.

Test the Tutorial

It’s a good idea to test your tutorial often while it is being produced. After you’ve recorded the screens, watch the entire tutorial, even if the timing isn’t correct. By the way, in most cases the timing will not be correct initially because of preset times for actions in Captivate. However, watching the tutorial from beginning to end will help you ensure that all the required steps have been correctly recorded.

As you’re testing, there are a few things you should always check. Make sure that the audio is accurately synched with the actions on the screen. Also make sure that there is enough silence before and after actions occur on the screen. This gives the learner time to get oriented and ready for what is about to happen. Finally, adjust the timing for all the slides so that all actions are similar to what happens in the real world. This refers to making the timing realistic for selections in drop-down boxes and page reloads after a button or link is clicked.

So those are the basics for creating Flash tutorials with Adobe Captivate. There is enough information here to get you started, but you’ll only be able to produce top-quality tutorials with a lot of practice. If you want to see examples Flash tutorials made in Captivate, visit http://flash-tutorials.elearner.tv/

3 Unique Ways You Can Create Fresh and Captivating Copy for the Web

It is far easier to write a book or an article than to create copy. Copywriting involves a restricted use of words. So you have to make every one count. You cannot afford to take the limited space that you have for granted.

A major challenge of writing copy is that you have to be unique, engaging and stay relevant albeit at the same time. This takes some doing. However, it helps if you do not take your job too seriously and have a zany sense of imagination. Here are 3 unique ways you can create fresh and captivating copy for the web.

Tell a Person’s Story

People love an interesting story. They start from the beginning and would love to see how it all ends. You do not always have to rely on your own thoughts. If you find someone’s story that expresses what you want to say even better, use it.

You can use the story about a famous personality everyone knows or a successful individual in the industry or niche you are talking about. Let your copy reflect their lives, thoughts and experiences. Try to dig up information that people are not really aware of. Your readers would appreciate your efforts and different perspective.

Forget Words

As the saying goes “a picture speaks more than a 1,000 words”. You do not have to always use words to craft a compelling copy. Sometimes, you can use an illustration or image to make your point. Instead of trying to find the right string of words, try etching your thoughts on paper.

You will be surprised that some illustrations and images say certain things better than even words can. In this era of social media, if your visuals are intriguing, you can expect them to be shared across the world in a matter of hours.

Be Funny

Humor is a language that everyone understands. It is not every time that you should try to be serious or business like. Sometimes, the right and funny words can do the trick and make people see things in a different light, crack a smile or burst out into laughter. Try to make your copy lively and funny. Write with gusto and enthusiasm. If you are bored or going through the motions, it will definitely show in your copy and rub people off.

Being funny might just be the easiest way to get people to understand you. However, the door swings both ways. Try not to overdo it and remember that you are trying to close a sale. If they do not get your funny approach, you lose them forever.

Hermit Crab Breeding – Can It Be Done In Captivity!

There are a lot of people that will tell you that hermit crab breeding cannot be done in captivity. However, the true answer is that it is possible and can be achieved although it is very tricky. This then begs the question “why is it so hard to breed hermit crabs?” Well in order to answer this you have to look at how the hermits breed in the wild.

It is important to note that of all the species of these little creatures on the planet (well over 500) only 15 or so of these are land based, or live on land permanently. Out of these 15 species, all of them have their offspring in the sea. You see, what the land based crabs do is to lay their eggs on the shoreline and the motion of the waves carry the many thousands of eggs into the sea. The young then hatch in the water and make their way on to dry land. When the very tiny crabby critters reach dry land their first task is to find a suitable shell to make their home in. As you can see this causes a potential problem for breeding these crabby critters right away. How can you re-create the ocean in a mock set up?

Well first of all you will need a fairly large tank. One half needs to be sand in order to re-create the shoreline effect and a salt water tank needs to be placed in the other half. If no natural salt water, you can make this up by putting one teaspoon of salt to every cup of water. The temperature needs to be maintained at around 72oF and you will need to purchase a pump which will simulate waves in the water. These can be bought from a good pet stockist for a few bucks. Try to create a walkway or ramp that naturally leads from the sandy area into the salt water tank as this will mimic the shoreline down to the water’s edge

So now you have set the scene for successful mating for these little crawly critters what other problems can you expect? Well these little guys are pretty fussy critters and will not lay eggs until everything is just perfect, so you may well have to give her a helping hand. Firstly monitor the expectant mother and check the color of the stored eggs. When they turn a dark grey they are ready to be hatched. In order to do this dip the shell of the mother to be in the salt water, but try to avoid getting her under body wet. Next twist the shell to dislodge the eggs into the salt water. The next thing to do is to wait and observe. What you are looking for is tiny zoea. They should hatch pretty quickly after hitting the water but can take up to a few hours.

Once they are hatched, immediately begin feeding the young powdered brine shrimp. Also it is recommended to add thawed plankton to the tank to aid nutrition. Once they are around the fourteen days old point you will need to select tiny conical shells for the young crawly critters and place them the other side of your ramp area. After this point the crabs should begin to come ashore to select their relevant shells. This is critical because they need to find the right shell in order to survive!

When the danger stage is over and the young are around 40 days old, they can be placed in the tank along with all the other crabby critters and should now lead a normal life in captivity.

As you can see hermit crab breeding can be a tricky process that is fraught with danger and is quite tricky to pull off. However, it is definitely possible that if you follow these procedures then you could be rearing your own crabby critter colony before long.