Ideas on how I can use screenshots to create an interactive course

Hi All,

I am working on a project and the client has provided me with my content which is mainly screenshots (software training) to create an interactive course. I have cracked my brains and I seem to be drawing a blank. I don't want to use only annotations but right now it seems like that will be only option.

Any ideas will be very helpful on how to make this course more interesting will be very much APPRECIATED.

18 Replies
Patti Bryant


What product are you using - Presenter, Storyline, etc? Depending on what you have available, there are lots of different options. If you have Presenter, one option is to insert Engage interactions that label and provide information about sections of the software and walk learners through a scenario. If you have Storyline, you can do an actual simulation with see it, try it, and know it modes.

In general, the first thing I usually ask is "Do they need to just know how to use the software or do they need to know what to input, etc.' For one of the courses, the SME originally told me that we're rolling out a new software system to keep a record of campus incidents and people need to know how to use it. Once I started asking questions like "Do they know what type of incidents need to be recorded?" and "What are the most popular incidents that occur?", etc. it gave me a better idea of what I needed to include in the course.

Click here to view the course. It's a draft (no narration, not completely done) and it was created with the Presenter Suite. The "MySafeCampus Demo" area is where I used the Engage interactions to provide information about the software. I used an image of a computer monitor as the slide background to make it seem more realistic. Maybe it will give you some ideas!

If you have Storyline available, you could do something like the Sales Orientation course in the Storyline showcase. Click here to see that course. You'll want to apply for the Sales Admin position in the course. It walks learners through using Salesforce. You can get hints throughout and try it, see it, and do it. This is great because learners can actually try using the software in a simulated environment.

I hope this helps!

Keepin' the joy,


David Anderson

Hi Audrey - That's a really good question. 

Engage's Labeled Graphic is a neat tool for highlighting screenshots. Here's a really great post showcasing creative ideas for the Labeled Graphic: 3 Creative Ways to Use Engage Labeled Graphics

Another idea is to use the Labeled Graphic interaction to show a primary screenshot, then use the markers to highlight specific areas. You can even embed short video demos like we did in this example: view demo | download source

Cathy Moore also has a good example around combining tasks with screenshots.

Natalia Mueller

Hi Audrey,

Another option to add to your growing list is that you can insert transparent hyperlinks over clickable areas of the screenshot that will "jump" the learner to the next slide which displays a screenshot that captured what would have REALLY happened if they had clicked that area in the real software. The hyperlink is just moving the learner to another slide but it creates the illusion of really interacting with the software. ( As long as it's clickable areas and not input areas. ) I do this a lot when a full screencast isn't necessary. You can find examples of this and more in a previous post by Tom here.

I often incorporate a variety of the methods included here for whatever the topic calls for. Start with what the learner will need to be able to learn the process and then design around that. Even a highly interactive course can leave a learner not knowing what to do once they're sitting at their own computer with no guidance. For something that involves multiple steps that they have to recall on their own, it could be a good idea to also create a resource like a basic job aid and attach it to the course.

Natalia Mueller

Most of us are all too familiar with the challenge of having to work with what we are given versus designing the entire thing from scratch.  If only we had all of the control and all the time in the world. Then every project could be a masterpiece

You didn't mention the length of the content. Are there several short courses? One long? I mentioned adding resources (or directions to where they can find resources). Some other things I do to help learners process and retain software training is to break it up in a variety of ways. If a concept or the WHY is being explained, I'll take the opportunity to break away from the software screen and use different visuals to demonstrate or support the concept. Another one I like using is - once the basics have been explained, I'll insert a short scenario or knowledge check where they have to make a decision that builds on what they have already learned. That helps them immediately apply what they have just learned and it adds to the interactivity of the course. It also gives you the opportunity to insert some feedback and expose them to potential consequences.

I hope this all helps or gives you some ideas. Best of luck!

Audrey Kumi

Ah yes about the content, it will be several short courses. I just got the next set and thanks to all of you, i know just how I want that course to look like. But this, I am not so happy with it but I will make it work.

I actually thought about adding an activity ( Scenario-based) but the client said no because they want it to be more of a tutorial but  my thought was adding 1 scenario-based activity would not only reinforce learning but also make the content less boring.


Natalia Mueller

Well it sounds like you have a solid response to the client. I know that ultimately, a happy client = a successful project. The challenge I've come across is when the client THINKS they know what will make them happy and then it's not until they get it that they realize maybe it wasn't such a good idea after all. 

A big part of what I do is educate my stakeholders. Then the choice is ultimately up to them. Scenarios typically make the course development take longer. If time is the ultimate deciding factor, then the client may very well stick to that. If they just want end users to have a quick reference tool when they need it, then retention from the course alone may not matter so much. BUT if what they really want is for the end user to walk away from the course with the ability to DO something different or new, then you have a strong case for why a scenario would be a good idea. 

Thanks so much for sharing these details about your project with us!

Ben Riller

There's a great deal you can do natively in PowerPoint with user-interface screengrab demos and hands-on exercises, before you even think of opening the Articulate drawer, using hyperlinks. In my opinion, you then get a cleaner look than the unfortunate boxes-within-boxes look of many of the PowerPoint addon tools provide. I'm asssuming Storyline will provide a cleaner look than the Articulate suite does.

Nathalie Cayouette

Hi Patti, I have a question about the elearning you created for Salesforce. I have to create a try me software simulation but I cannot install Storyline on the lab computer so I have to build the simulation using screen shots. I was wondering if you had built yours using screen shots or if it is a screen recording. If you used screen shots, could you explain how you did it? Thank you very much!

Lisa Smyser

Hi @Nathalie,

I have also used webex/gotomeeting to remotely record screen movements to create simulations. You can have someone on the lab computer access a webinar and share the screen, then you record the application on your remote screen. You can request keyboard/mouse control so you get the clicks. I've had to play with the screen resolution a bit, but it really works and you can do a great simulation with little effort. Then you have the option to do the view, try, or test! Just remember to mute the audio, and you can add your audio later.