Top tools for creating interactive content and videos

Slide showing the logos of six companies: Articulate 260, Adobe Captivate, Kaltura, Camtasia, Screencastify, and H5P

There are probably thousands of tools online that can help you create interactive content, and all of them have their own pros and cons. Here are some of the best tools for creating interactive activities and videos for your online orientation.

Articulate Storyline

Articulate Storyline is a cloud-based authoring tool that allows you to build interactive e-learning modules and online courses. The interface is similar to PowerPoint, but also allows you to produce simulations, quizzes, drag-and-drop interactions, screen recordings, and many other interactions. Most of the interactive activities within UVic’s Pre-Arrival Program were built using Articulate Storyline. Activities built in Storyline can be embedded in most learning management systems. Articulate offers a ton of different templates you can use, and has a robust community that can provide support when needed. Because of all the features offered, getting started with Storyline can be a steep learning curve.

Cost: A personal plan costs $499 USD/year. A team plan costs $649 USD per user, per year. A plan gives you access to Articulate 360, which includes both Storyline and Rise.

Articulate Rise

Articulate Rise is a web-based e-learning course builder that makes it easy to quickly create well-designed e-learning courses. The platform is user-friendly, can be used to quickly develop a course, and allows for text, video, interactive graphics, and multiple choice capabilities. However, the platform has a limited ability to customize and limited formatting abilities (that’s part of the reason it’s so easy to use), and less opportunity for creativity (when compared to Storyline). Rise is a great option when a course has a lot of material for a user to read.

Cost: A personal plan costs $499 USD/year. A team plan costs $649 USD per user, per year. A plan gives you access to Articulate 360, which includes both Storyline and Rise.

Adobe Captivate

Adobe Captivate is an authoring tool that is used for creating e-learning content such as software demonstrations, software simulations, branched scenarios, and randomized quizzes. Using Adobe Captivate, you can convert existing PowerPoint content to interactive videos, create virtual reality walkthroughs, record talking-head screencasts, create multi-module branched courses, add interactions and quizzing, and more.

I’ve never used Adobe Captivate, but I haven’t heard great things from those who have.

Cost: $44.99/month; free 30-day trial available

H5P

H5P empowers everyone to create rich and interactive web experiences with only a web browser and a website with an H5P plug-in, or a learning management system that has the appropriate integration (and all the major one’s do!). It allows you to create a number of different content types, including interactive video, presentations, branching scenarios, drag-and-drop, flashcards, hotspots, multiple-choice, memory games, and more. Creating interactive content with H5P is relatively simple; however, you have a limited ability to customize or design your content.

Cost: H5P is a completely free and open technology.

Timeline JS

Timeline JS is an open-source tools that allows you to build rich, interactive timelines using just a Google spreadsheet. Your able to describe each event with text and hyperlinks and images, and add media from a variety of sources, including Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Google Maps, Wikipedia, and more. Timeline JS should work on most websites.

Cost: Timeline JS is free!

Kaltura

Create interactive videos

Kaltura is a video content management system that helps you manage, publish, distribute and analyze video content. The reason it’s on this list of tools is because of its interactive video editing tools. Using Kaltura, you can create interactive video paths, video quizzes, add hotspots, and more.

Cost: Kaltura is typically purchased by an institution as an enterprise solution. Check to see if your institution has it! There’s also a free 30-day trial.

Screencastify

Screencastify is a popular screen recording app used to record, edit and share videos. Using Screencastify, you can capture a tab, your whole screen, or just your webcam, embed your webcam in your video, use the mouse to spotlight areas of the screen, and use a drawing pen tool. Videos autosave to Google Drive, and can be uploaded directly the YouTube. The tool operates as a Google Chrome extension (so you do need to use Chrome as your browser), and is well known for its simplicity.

Cost: Free

Camtasia

Camtasia is a all-in-one screen recorder and video editor that allows you to record your powscreen, add video effects, transitions, and more. Camtasia is full of features, including pre-built assets, a library of royalty-free music, basic quizzing interactivity, annotations, animations, background removal, and more. Camtasia also allows you to create themes, so that you can maintain consistent branding across different videos.

Cost: one-time fee of $320.49 CAD; some institutions are able to provide Camtasia access to employees

Powtoon

Powtoon is a visual communication platform that allows you to create professional and fully customized videos and animations. Using Powtoon, you can easily created animated videos, explainer videos, and whiteboard videos.

Cost: There is a free version, but videos are limited to three minutes, and contain Powtoon branding. Premium packages start at $19.99 USD/month.

Check your LMS

While we can sometimes get drawn in by fancy tools, don’t forget that your LMS has some capabilities for interactive activities too! While the functions are generally limited, many LMSs allow you to create polls, multiple choice questions, fill-in-the-blanks, and basic drag-and-drop and hotspot interactions. They also allow for assignment submissions, if you want students to download an activity to complete.

Cost: Free!

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