May I Have a Tutorial for My Tutorial?

One quarter of my grade in this last class is to create a tutorial with five different software packages that are used to create presentations. The objective was to create the same educational tutorial, just modify it to use the bells and whistles of the various programs.

So, there were five. SoftChalk, Articulate, Camtasia, Captivate and Lectora. I started with the SoftChalk and the time to complete the task was not extremely long, but I probably put about an hour more work into this program due to the learning curve.

Then I played with Camtasia and Captivate, two programs that I had purchased for the Mac, but hadn't installed until this week. Camtasia was ridiculously easy to use and turned out a fantastic voiceover presentation that was synched with a Powerpoint slide. (If I created the project on PC, I would have been able to add a quiz.)

Now that I've used three other Adobe products, Captivate made a lot of sense and I really liked it. The learning curve was crazy fast, partly because I knew what I needed to do with the tutorials at this point and partly because the Adobe products just make a lot of sense in how they're laid out. Heck, I didn't even look at the training guides and dove right it.

The other two programs presented a little bit of a hassle, because they are PC based. Articulate not only is PC based, it requires PowerPoint to launch, which Ed does not have on his machine. Our disc for MS Office got misplaced when we moved and he's been using Open Office since.

So, when I dropped GameTeen at school today, I headed over to campus and loaded the trial copies of the two programs on one of the PCs on campus. I launched Articulate first and in less than an hour, had a great looking presentation with quiz questions and a voiceover. That left Lectora, which I thought would be just as easy and give me the chance to work on Dreamweaver for the rest of the night.

That would be a big no.

I've heard the program is really good, but I spent the better part of the day putting stuff together, trying to package or save it, only to get fatal errors. Have you ever used a website that had a table of contents on it, that you could link back to pages? That was one of the things I had to do, and a heck of a lot of digging around in the instructional videos occurred before I found out exactly how to make it work.

Lectora is billed as the presentation packaging program that doesn't require programming experience. I beg to differ. Even with cursory coding skills, many of the features didn't work as seamlessly as a beginner would expect.

I got error messages about the pictures I included, I found that if you don't save before packaging, the program returns error message after error message and won't allow you to save multiple copies of the same title, even if you are trying to save them in separate locations. (You know, the 'save as' feature?)

It ticks me off, and I had to walk away from it. I'll start from scratch tomorrow because I am beyond irritated. The thing is, for the expense of the program (a thousand dollars retail), it really doesn't deliver a product that is that much better than Captivate or Articulate. I'm basing that on the several classmates who do this work for a living and know what they're doing with Lectora.

Now I understand why there was so much grumbling in the class about this tutorial...


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