The new Camtasia Studio 8, the Flipped Classroom and Mobile Learning [Review]

For all the mind-boggling stats we read about the video revolution, like how we are publishing video to YouTube at the rate of 72 hours every minute, and consuming over 3 billion hours of video each month, as well as other stats you can see here, video as a medium hasn’t really evolved. For the most part it has remained a fairly passive experience.

I mean we sit back and watch a video, pause and play it, and rewind and fast forward it, but that’s about it. There’s been little innovation in video around interactivity and engagement as compared to what we may find in a Flash-based interaction for example.

Perhaps this is why in eLearning we have always gravitated toward using tools that publish learning in the Adobe Flash format in order to create engaging desktop experiences.

However, now that the desktop has been reduced to just one of many screens we have to develop learning for, coupled with the fact that Flash is no longer the ubiquitous technology it once was, perhaps video is about to play a bigger role in how we develop the next generation of learning experiences, that will be consumed by learners across a multitude of mobile devices.

Video is one the most ubiquitous multimedia assets today across virtually every screen. Take a video on YouTube or on Vimeo as an example, it works pretty much everywhere, you can watch it on a desktop computer, on a Tablet, a smartphone and even on that flat screen TV in your living room.

Video and the Flipped Classroom

It’s no surprise then that video is at the very center of the Flipped Classroom movement. If you are new to this movement in Education, here’s how Ted-Ed describes the Flipped classroom:

This refers to a method of instruction where classroom-based teaching time and traditional “homework” time are reversed (flipped). A teacher provides video lessons to be reviewed outside of class, which in turn gives teachers more time in class to focus on higher-order skills.

I really like what Ted-Ed is doing by “flipping” videos for educational purposes, however I can’t help but think how much better the learning experience would be if the quiz was embedded in the video itself within context, instead of having to watch the video first before taking the quiz, which is how things work today.

This is precisely where I see TechSmith bringing a lot to the table, especially with the new release of Camtasia Studio 8.

I have been a Camtasia fan for a long time, as well as a SnagIt and Jing fan and I’m also very impressed with the work TechSmith is doing on Mobile. I think that TechSmith has been quietly building something very impressive and whether they realize this or not, I believe they have great mobile learning and flipped classroom stories.

Here’s an example.

Head over to TED-Ed and watch the “Flipped” video (link below), and then if you have a few minutes please go through the questions found for this video, they are located to the right of the video under Quick Quiz and then come back and continue reading.

Welcome back.

Now, imagine if we could embed these same questions right in the context of the video.  That is exactly what Mayra did for this post using the new Camtasia Studio 8 software. She took a similar video and added 5 questions to it, each one also provides the ability to review each section before continuing. You can watch this interactive video (link below) on your desktop PC, iPad and iPhone (may be prompted to install the Smart Player app) and all the interactivity should work just fine.

Here’s the link to our version of this flipped video, created using Camtasia Studio 8:

Quizzes and Hotspots in Video

The ease with which you can add this type of simple interactivity to videos in Camtasia 8 is one of the things I like the most about it. I believe Camtasia makes it extremelly easy to add just the right amount of hotspots and quizzes to videos within context, and this is one of the reason why I believe Camtasia 8 is a must-have tool for learning design, especially because I truly believe the future of learning design calls for all of us to hit the soft reset button and embrace simplicity.

Re-Thinking Traditional Software Simulations

Speaking of embracing simplicity in our learning design, perhaps it’s also time for us to re-think traditional software simulations, especially as we start thinking multi-screen design.

Maybe forcing learners try every click in a try-it simulation is almost an insult to their intelligence, perhaps we are we not giving our learners enough credit about what they already know about software, and not enough freedom to discover things on their own.

I’m not saying that we won’t need learning experiences on mobile that will be aimed at teaching learners how to use software, what I’m saying is that perhaps we need new and simpler ways of accomplishing this vs. the traditional show-me, try-it and test-me approach.

I love watching those really fun and hip videos that you see on so many startup companies’ websites. Here’s a great site that aggregates many of them These videos are fun and engaging and make you want to look deeper into their tech offerings and explore new things on your own, maybe there a lesson for us in eLearning and mLearning.

What if we took a traditional software simulation, shorten it and made it fun and gave it just the right amount of engagement via simple interactivity?

That is exactly what Mayra did using Camtasia 8’s new recording engine, Smart Focus and all the new features around interactivity. Watch this video and if you have an iPad or an iPhone watch it there too. All the interactivity works on multiple screens.

Incidentally, you may have noticed that we posted the two videos above on, which is TechSmith’s hosting solution for sharing videos. However, Camtasia Studio 8 also comes with a publishing option called ‘MP4 with video player‘ that allows you to publish everything you need, including interactivity, and then host it anywhere you want.

Also, for these examples, I chose not to enable Quiz tracking, but Camtasia 8 does provide email and SCORM support for tracking. Here’s where I would make the recommendation to TechSmith that they look into the Tin Can API for better mobile tracking implementation.

What Else is New?

There’s so much to like about the new version of Camtasia Studio, but for me the interactivity one can add to videos and the fact you can share and consume these interactive learning experiences across a multitude of screen is the real killer app for eLearning and mLearning.

Having said that, here are some of the others new features in Camtasia 8 I love:

  • I really love the new, completely rebuilt screen recorder in Camtasia 8, which not only yields smaller file size of the recording (i.e. camrec) but the smoothness of the video playback you end up with is unrivaled in the industry.
  • You can now compose any type of project using an unlimited number of tracks in the timeline, so the possibilities are endless here.
  • The new Library is full of professional designed assets for every project, including tons of music, themes, animated titles, callouts, lower thirds, etc.
  • Unlike before, you can now animate just about anything in your projects, including videos, callouts and images.
  • One thing I really like about TechSmith is that they don’t let the limitations of the platform stop them from achieving consistency across multiple screens. For example, while the iPad does not require a special app for properly consuming interactive videos, Apple from what I understand does render videos differently on the iPhone and thus why TechSmith made available the Tech Smith Smart Player app on the iPhone in order to provide a full and consistent experience across devices. Kudos to the team for not using this limitation on the iPhone as a cop out for nothing doing something.


I highly recommend the new Camtasia Studio 8!

The new version is solid and comes with lots of new functionality to accomplish any project you throw at it. The company behind it, TechSmith, is sharp and forward thinking and not only knows how to build desktop software, but they also know the importance of having a mobile presence on the App store with products like ScreenChomp, Smart Player and Coach’s Eye. Even if you own Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate, or any other eLearning tool, I believe you still need Camtasia 8 in your toolbox because what I’ve seen in these tools as it pertains to video capture is subpar when compared to what you get in Camtasia.

You can read more on Camtasia Studio 8 from TechSmith’s site HERE.

Please give Camtasia 8 a try and also let me know what you think of my ideas above around the Flipped Classroom, mLearning, Simulations and the whole concept of embracing simplicity in learning design, by leaving a comment here.

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  • Nice review RJ.

    I upgraded myself last week and I’m slowly making my way through the new Camtasia, so thanks for some pointers.

    I’m unsure about now realistic the systems training could be that you mentioned, although I’m VERY wiling to be convinced!

    Keep up the good work, I’ll be emailing you soon with an idea for your podcast.


  • Rick McCleary

    Thanks for the review. I’m sold. I’ve just downloaded the program and am hoping it’s as easy to learn as it is smart.

  • Techsmith suprises me with every new release of software. Doesn’t matter if we talking about Camtasia, Snagit, Jing or Screenchomp. All of them are great products. What I really like is, that the guys from Techsmith are really close to their customers and “listen” what they need. Or the know what we need before we do 🙂 e. g. quizzes and hotspots in video, mobile app.

    As a teacher I’m really impressed of the flipped classroom concept. In Europe we aren’t as far as in the US, but it grows ( I think this summer holidays I will produce a lot of videos for my upcoming classes 😉

    I agree with you, RJ, Camtasia should be in the toolbox of everyone who’s interested in eLearning, mLearning or wants to change the way of teaching.

  • Great review of a great product from a great company.

  • Kathryn

    I am new to eLearning. Need to learn and would like a software recommendation for a beginner?
    I have been a professional trainer for over 20 years. Now employers want you to know how to use eLearning tools! I am back to zero!! Thanks

  • This is a wonderful information that you can learn about in order for some people to know about the necessary things that they should have in mobile learning and on can they apply it.

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