Two new versions of popular software simulation products focus heavily on providing easy-to-use yet powerful demonstration tools.
Adobe Systems Captivate 2 and TechSmiths Camtasia Studio 4 make it very simple to record any action from an application, a presentation or a Web site. Users also can add quizzes, directional aids and learning tools and deliver it all in Flash or digital video format. Neither product qualifies as a high-end software simulation tool for learning management, but both support common standards such as SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) and have decent quizzing and testing features.
We would recommend either application to a business looking to easily and quickly create software or Web application demos, but Adobes Captivate 2 has a slight edge in both usability and capability.
When it comes to authoring demos, Captivate 2 and Camtasia Studio 4 support only Microsoft Windows 2000 and Windows XP. However, if demos are output as Flash or digital video, they will play on most end-user systems. Evaluation versions of Captivate 2 and Camtasia Studio 4 can be downloaded from www.adobe.com/captivate and camtasia.com, respectively.
Labs Director Jim Rapoza can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.