Best practices: Enhancing your Moodle™ course with videos and interactives

I love creating simulations to add interactivity into our Moodle™/Joule training courses and capturing videos to add engagement. Students frequently ask me what tool was used to create these media assets. In most cases the answer is Adobe Captivate. Captivate is an authoring tool that allows you to create media such as videos simulations quizzes and branching scenarios. It can also be used to create full elearning courses or lessons as well as be used to convert PPTs to elearning materials. Captivate allows you to publish to formats such as SWF MP4 and to package it as a SCORM 1.2 and 1.3 PIF. Depending on the content of your course you can use this tool in a variety of ways. Now that you know what Captivate can do let’s talk about when and how to use it to enhance your Moodle™ and Joule courses.


Videos can be a great way to engage your students. However you should only use them when necessary. You don’t need to create a video in order to show a static screen with narration. If you had ever heard the term “talking head” you know that recording yourself talking into a video camera can be more of a distraction to learning than a motivator or enabler. Videos are best used for content that requires visual attention such as watching how to do a task in a software learning soft skills (e.g. how to interview) or watching an animation of a process (e.g. how to change a tire). Here are some ideas and tips for creating videos using Captivate:

  • Create simple animations. You don’t have to know Flash in order to create these! Create transparent text areas and add images. Use the timeline to animate and add effects.
  • Capture a screen recording using FMR (Full Motion Recording) to demonstrate how to perform specific tasks in software applications and add a voiceover describing the steps.
  • Import videos captured in other programs and synchronize them with text and audio.
  • Add questions after videos to reinforce learning and add interactivity.
  • Create videos that are engaging and to the point. Remember less is more!
  • For longer videos chunk the content into shorter segments. Shorter segments are better for loading and for keeping the attention of your students.
  • Write a script before recording.
  • Calibrate input for higher quality audio.
  • Roundtrip to Adobe Audition (if you have the software) so that you can take advantage of more advanced features such as filters.
  • Publish as a SWF or MP4 to load into your course using the Moodle™ Media feature. Alternatively publish it to an MP4 load into YouTube or Kaltura and embed it using the HTML Source icon.


Adding interactive components into your courses can keep learners engaged and give them hands on experience. It also allows you to customize a user’s experience based on their interaction. You can use interactives to teach reinforce and assess. Here are some tips and ideas for using Captivate to make your course more interactive:

  • Create an interactive scenario that requires users to choose their own path. Present students with a scenario and pose questions to them that branch to different paths based on their decisions. Provide feedback to students as they make choices and/or describe consequences for their actions.
  • Simulate how to use a software program and require students to navigate through it by completing various tasks.
  • Evaluate using Captivate quizzing questions such as the ratings scale (likert) hotspot and sequence. You can also create question pools.
  • Import a PowerPoint presentation and add interactivity by adding questions to check on learning.
  • If you want to add interactivity and track scoring of student interaction in your Moodle™ course then you will want to use Captivate to create a SCORM 1.2 package.
  • Upload SCORM packages into your course using either the SCORM course format or the SCORM activity module as an asset into your course. View one of my older blog post to learn some tips and tricks for using the SCORM package activity.

Keep in mind that Captivate is just one of many tools that you can use to create videos animations screen recordings and interactives. Use the tools that you have available and what works for you! If you’d like to learn more about other advanced Moodle™ and Joule features check out our Advanced Course Building online course.

Thanks for reading,

~Rebecca DeSantis



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