January 6th, 2013 E-Learning

free-adobe-illustratorOne great way for instructional designers to create effective learning material is to include screenshots and videos in their e-learning modules. Many programs have this feature build in (i.e. Adobe Captivate and the new Articulate Storyline), but some prefer a third party program – and for years the standard bearer has been Camtasia Studio.

Don’t get me wrong, Camtasia Studio is pretty great. By all means you should take a look at it to see if it meets your needs. However, it does come with a hefty price tag. If you are on a budget, and need to create some instructional videos on your computer, then you need to check out the free alternative to Camtasia Studio: Cam Studio

Okay so the name leaves a little bit to be desired, but rest assured that this program is legit. Cam Studio is a free open source screen capture and recording tool for Windows with the accolades to back up the hype. If you’re looking for a viable screen capture/recording program, then give Cam Studio a try – I think you’ll find it will meet your needs.

If you are looking for other alternatives, then there are a few options (although not all of them are free, and some have pretty limited features until you upgrade).  Other options to consider in your search include:

  • Jing by Techsmith
  • EZvid
  • ScreenCast-o-Matic
  • Webinaria

You can probably find a viable solution among these options.  If not, then a simple Google search will yield quite a few other options as well.

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Justin Ferriman started LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Justin's Homepage | Twitter

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I do like Camtasia, because the editing tools are great for spicing videos or adding comments boxes on screen. But you are right it is pricey. I will have to test out CamStudio and see how it compares.

Avatar Briana Taylor
Avatar Briana Taylor

Camtasia is a nice tool indeed, arguably the best – but not for everyone and every situation. If you think of it, come back and let us know how you liked (or don’t like) CamStudio.


Thanks for bringing these resources to our attention. I was familiar with Jing, but hadn’t yet used any of the other programs before your post. I had only previously used Camtasia Studio, but after giving Cam Studio a try, good call. It’s a viable cost-effective alternative. Thanks again!

Avatar Sean Getchell

Good tool recommendations. I’d add Screenr.com to the list if you don’t need to protect your capture. Works pretty well. No editing tools but you can export your caps to MP4 when you’re done if you need to display in other places.

Screenr is good, but I find Screencast-o-matic to be a more powerful version of it – to each their own though 🙂

Any recommendations for the Mac platform?

Avatar Mark Steele

Screencast-o-matic is my favorite, works for both mac and windows. Free version is pretty good too.

I’ve used Cam Studio in the past and found it to be a pretty good alternative. It was a little challenging to edit videos back then, but I imagine they’ve improved the options for recording, pausing, etc.

Thanks for the info Justin, but if you had a Mac Book Pro OS X it comes with screen capture and you can crop the image if you want to any size that you want. And it comes with iMovie for video capture and editing. And both are already integrated into Power Point or any other software you want to place the image or video. I’ve used the image capture and placed the image into my Blackboard course work at Valencia College, Orlando, Florida. And although I haven’t used Moodle, it is my understanding it is free to use as well.

Avatar Russ Norden

Great post, thanks for the sharing. I used to record my computer screen with acethinker free screen recorder. It’s a free web-based application, you don’t have to download and install anything. Share it here to increase your list of free alternative to camtasia studio.

Avatar jeffcard

Hi! Could you tell about using SCORM 2004 (that was made in Camtasia Studio) in LearnDash?
I use Tin Canny LearnDash Reporting plugin. I’ve impacted some issues.

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