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 上門補習中文 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.