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Instructional Design & Support

Creating Online Lectures with Adobe Captivate


Adobe Captivate is the OIT-supported software that allows you to create online lectures with interactivity, and it is probably the best OIT-supported method to use if it is important to evaluate student learning (e.g., games, quizzes that include matching, fill in the blank).

With Captivate, you can create video with interactive simulations and demonstrations, and you can record complex mouse movements, narration, music, and animation.

An especially sophisticated feature offered by Captivate is branched scenarios. A branched scenario allows learners to experience the consequences of their decisions in an online scenario without experiencing the actual situation. Captivate is available for PC and Mac.

Captivate vs. Camtasia

Adobe Captivate and TechSmith’s Camtasia have many shared features. Important examples of those features are their ability to:

  • record screen and keyboard activity
  • integrate audio and video
  • deliver video to mobile devices
  • allow for editing
  • provide closed captions

Switch to Camtasia options for online lectures

Advantages for Student Learning

As with Camtasia, the interactive piece of the video aids in learning and student satisfaction (Zhang, Zhou, Briggs, & Nunamaker, 2006). As with other online lecture approaches, students appreciate the flexibility, convenience, and potential for learning. Students can learn in less time, and students take advantage of features such as pause, replay, or changing speed when learning new content (Schwan & Riempp, 2004).


Possible downsides to using Captivate in some situations are that it:

  • is relatively expensive.
  • has a moderately complex interface.
  • has a comparatively steep learning curve.
  • can become a very large file and require professional storage.

When to Use Captivate

Below are examples of situations in which Captivate would be a great choice to record your lecture.

The Situation Captivate will allow you to…
You want to teach your students to create several different types of charts in Visio. create complex software demonstrations.
You want create multiple-choice, true/false, short answer, and drag and drop assessment activities in your online lecture. create varied assessment options with scoring capability.
You want have an interactive online presentation with voice narration. convert your PowerPoint to a video, record voice narration and add interactive elements such as web links, navigation menu, and more.
You want to provide video as part of your online lecture. embed and stream a YouTube video within your presentation.

Examples of Captivate Videos

Business Communication Basics

Dr. Sally Harris, English

Dr. Sally Harris transformed her in-class lectures into interactive online lectures that contain slides with voice narration, self-assessment quizzes, additional materials linked as PDF documents, after-lecture assignments, and the attendance quiz. OIT provided Dr. Harris with software, training, and technical assistance through the Faculty First program.

Fungi and Fungal-Like Organisms
This interactive learning module was developed using Adobe Captivate.

Ease of Use

Though most Captivate users commend it for being a powerful and flexible eLearning, tool; most negative feedback is related to its rather steep learning curve.

For assistance, refer to OIT’s Online Instructor Toolkit, check for the availability of a face-to-face workshop, or contact the OIT HelpDesk to schedule a consultation.

Cost and Storage


Please contact VolShop for the current cost.


Video created with Adobe Captivate can be uploaded to a website or a media sharing site. OIT encourages you to discuss with its staff how to provide your students access to your videos. Possible solutions for storing your videos include:

Contact OIT for assistance.

Is Captivate Right for Me?

Only you can evaluate whether or not Captivate can meet your needs for creating online lectures, but the questions below may help you think it through.

The Situation Feedback
Want to provide Next and Previous buttons? Consider using Captivate.
Want many possibilities to create student interactions? Consider using Captivate.
Want to provide interactive quizzes? Consider using Captivate.


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