Jennie Ruby is an e-learning instructor for Accelebrate specializing in Camtasia and Captivate. Jennie sat down with Accelebrate's Julie Prince to discuss why she loves the software she teaches, what she enjoys most about teaching, the common questions she gets in class, her stint as a skiing instructor, and more.
For the entire video interview, please visit https://youtu.be/7HFTp15rU4c
Accelebrate: Tell us more about yourself.
Jennie: I started out, my first career was in publishing actually, I majored in literature and languages in school, and then went into publishing. But pretty early in my publishing career, I started adopting use of computers in publishing, and I was an early adopter of some of the early online desktop publishing software. And also, for copy editors, I started teaching people how to edit directly online. You can't believe it, but back at that time, we edited on paper with red pencils. And so anyway, I started out teaching people how to use the computer for editing, I taught everything about Microsoft Word. I've written several books about how to use Microsoft Word for high end editing functions. And then I branched out. When I found out how fun training was, I left a career in publishing and started a new career as a trainer. And so, I'll have to quote one of my friends right there. She always says, "Since I've been a trainer, I haven't had a bad day at work since."
Accelebrate: What do you like most about training?
Jennie: I think, well I love technical training because there's something concrete to teach people, and you can see the progress. During one day, I can get someone from I've never seen this screen before, so I can create e-learning lessons on three different kinds with Adobe Captivate now, in one day.
And by the end of the second day, they feel a sense of mastery over it, and I just love seeing them make that progression. And there's just something about being able to break down technical topics into very logical sequences and teach it systematically and then see it work for the people, that's really fun.
Accelebrate: What do you teach people about teaching?
Jennie: Yes, I also teach people how to teach in an online environment. So, these days, I do of course a lot of in person training, where I travel around the country and go in on site to do teaching, but I also do quite a bit of online teaching. And so, not only do I teach online, I teach Captivate and writing skills and some other things online, but I also am part of a group called ICCOTP, the International Council of Online Training Professionals. And over there, we teach people how to teach online effectively.
Accelebrate: What are some tips and tricks from your experiences with software like Camtasia and Captivate?
Jennie: Well, one thing that I teach with both Camtasia and Captivate is how to take a good screen cast of screen actions. And we've got to start with, setup your computer so that you have a clean background and you're not getting little shadow images of things in the background.
And then you have to move your mouse at a steady pace, so that it actually makes a good video of the mouse movement. If you go too fast, the mouse disappears, so I like to get you moving the mouse in a nice steady pace and getting a good video of it.
And then I like having people put it all together and do what I sometimes call a click and talk. And you see them on YouTube, you see them better ones and worse ones. But a good click and talk where you're saying, "Now click the file menu." click, "Now I'm going to choose page setup." click, and making that all systematic and smooth, and you get a nice clean video with very little editing needed. You don't have to add the voiceover later, because you've already recorded it.
But then you just, I've been recently teaching folks how to make one of those videos, create a title slide for it, publish it and you've got micro-learning.
Accelebrate: So, if I've never used Captivate, you say I could probably be up and running in like a day?
Jennie: Absolutely. By the end of the first, typically we start you with a beginner class that's two days. And by the end of the first day, you have created an example of a knowledge-based, slide-based kind of training that is self-paced for the learner and you've created software simulations as I've described. And maybe even a third kind, the actual video movie of your screen and two kinds of micro-learning and one kind of knowledge-based learning by the end of the first day.
Accelebrate: What are some of the most frequently asked questions you get asked in your classes?
Jennie: Let's see. You know, it's so varied because you never know what part of something is gonna be confusing to folks. But one of the hard parts seems to be timing. I like to teach people about the timing and adjusting it so that the learner always knows where to look. And people sometimes don't, that's not an automatic thing, people ask about that, "Well how long should I be able to read this caption before I move on?" and that kind of thing. So, I get questions about that.
I get technical questions a lot. When you're trying to use Captivate to record another piece of software, you got two different pieces of software, each of them has settings, your computer itself has screen resolution settings. So, I get people saying, "I tried to set mine up, but I wasn't recording the right area of the screen." or "My screen recording came out but I didn't capture my mouse and I don't know why."
So often, it's like technical troubleshooting things like that that people end up asking during the class.
Accelebrate: How do you learn? Do you have any favorite resources, blogs, podcasts, videos?
Jennie: Yes. I start with books usually. I love reading, and so I'll start with a book on the topic and that usually gives you the most in-depth background on something, it's more fully explained.
And so then, I'll supplement that with whatever little videos I can find by others. But often, I'm the early adopter of the new version of the software and so on. So, then the next thing I do is experiment. And so I go into whichever piece of software it is, I see what the book says to do and I'm like, "Oh really, well what happens if you click this?" I love experimenting with the software and figuring things out.Another thing I'll do is, okay, I'm about to tell possibly as many as 20 people in a classroom to click this. How is it going to go wrong? And so what are they, five of them will accidentally click this other thing, three of them will double click instead of single click and so I then tryout all those things, so that I know how to bring them all together.
And when you're teaching online especially, you can display their screen and look at it, but often I don't even need that. Because I've experimented, that learner comes on the audio and says, "Jenny, when I click that, I get a dialogue box that says this." And I'm like, "Ah, I gotcha, you right clicked, didn't you?"
Accelebrate: What are some of the main tools or technologies you use for e-learning design?
Jennie: So Adobe Captivate is the main one. TechSmith Camtasia, I love that for making videos and quick little micro-learning videos of the screen, or actual videos like we're making today and that kind of thing. And one of my favorites, it's almost too fun, It allows you to create animated screen characters. You can make them talk and their lips will move, they lip sync. They will walk and do things, and you can also create those whiteboard animations where a hand comes out and draws on the board, and then you can add voice over to that that supplements what's being written on the screen. It's just a wonderful thing. I think they invented it really for advertising, but people are using it for e-learning.
You make a little video in that, it's very engaging, very gripping. And you can tell a story with it, and so on. So that's one of my most fun things right now is adding Vyond into the equation.
Accelebrate: What advice do you have for kids or teenagers who want to get into the technology sector when they grow up?
Jennie: Oh yes, yes. But during classes, take notes of what works. When a teacher teaches this way, does it work? If they lecture for a long time, what happens to you? And just take note of that role that you want to be in, and then start watching what makes a good one, what makes a bad one.
I still remember some of the early conferences I attended. You end up taking notes on the content instead of taking notes on what the presenter was doing. And the next thing you know, I'm the presenter and I'm trying to make good on what I saw was good presenting and what was less effective.
And then I'll take it to the next level. So, what worked in the classroom? How you going to recreate that in the e-learning you're using Captivate to create? And so, just today I was teaching about Captivate earlier today, and I wanted them to add practice questions, not just a quiz at the end, but practice questions that alert that learner, "I'm going to ask you this on the quiz later, so let's have a practice question now." and it helps people absorb the content better.
Accelebrate: What do you do for fun outside of work?
Jennie: I kind of have two main areas for fun. This time of year, since the snow has melted, I'm into singing. I sing in a choir; I sing in another singing group. I play the guitar. I'm going to be participating in learning how to play the recorder and try to play in a little group with recorders and that kind of thing.
When there's snow, it's all about skiing and snowboarding. So, a few years ago, I'll never forget this. One of my colleagues in a training company, she said one day, "You know Jennie, we teach, and we ski. We could be ski instructors." And so sure enough, by the next winter, we were up teaching skiing on a mountain nearby. And so that has just been a really fun thing to add and be able to do. So those are two of my hobbies and I have a lot of other interests as well, but those are two of the main ones.
Accelebrate: Is there anything else our viewers and our readers should know about you?
Jennie: I will bring enthusiasm and energy if I'm in the classroom. One of the things I did when I was taking notes about teachers years ago, I kind of said, "I will never let someone fall asleep in my classroom." And I think I've held to that, I really do. I have my little techniques. If someone's really falling out, I'll walk by their desk and nudge that desk, and they're like, "What? I wasn't asleep."
So, I don't know. I don't know what else to say. If you need e-learning, have me come show you how to do it. I do development work. Maybe I should add that, I do development work of e-learning. I actually create e-learning for clients. So I'm not just talking theoretically, and I'm not just talking from the book. I often throw it away and yes, this one client hated this text to speech voice, but we were able to import another one, and they loved that one. And I'll be throwing tips like that as well.
Accelebrate: Thank you for your time Jennie, it was really good getting to know you a little, and we really appreciate all the great work you've done with us.
Jennie: And I love working with all of the clients at Accelebrate. Thank you so much.
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