Software Simulation Best Practices

Nov 15, 2014

Hi all,

I'm working on many software simulation projects where I need to create various show me, let me try and test me demonstrations on how to use specific software.

There is a lot of text in the course as the requirement is to explain every field in every screen. Voice over is already recorded.

My question is what is the best approach in creating show me/let me try demonstration? Do you add a caption for everything the voice over is narrating? Or better approach to use the notes feature and just synchronise the audio with highlight shapes and zoom functions on screen?

I saw many courses that just type the captions and sync with voice, such as (this field is.., Notice this..., Click here to... as shown, etc). Is this the approach you use when designing software simulations?

Any thoughts are appreciated



3 Replies
Nicole Legault

Hello there Zola!

Thanks for posting your questions here in the E-learning Heroes forums! This is a great topic. 

There's an ongoing debate in the training/e-learning world about if narration should be the exact same as the text that appears on-screen. This is a hotly debated topic (you can check out a few great articles and discussions about that topic here, here, and here.) and as you can see, the same dilemma can apply to software simulations. So a good first step might be to read through those forum discussions and decide which side of the argument you sit on and what your thoughts are there. 

In my opinion, for a software simulation I would use the narration for the "Show Me" part of the software simulation training. It makes sense at that point since it's basically a guided tour of the process for the learner that walks them through where they need to click, etc. At that time, I think it makes sense to include the narration (you can decide if it should narrating the on-screen captions word for word, or not).

However, when the learner gets to the "Try Me" and "Test Me" modes, it probably makes more sense to let them go through the process without the narration telling them what to do and what each area is. By the time to get to "Try Me" or "Test Me", I think they should already know that information. Hope this makes sense for you!!

Good luck and if you can report back with what you've decided to do and some best practices or lessons learned when the project is finished, we would totally appreciate that! Thanks :)


Jacqui Cooper

Hi there,

Can I just add a personal note regarding narration and text? 

As a hearing-impaired person I find that I cannot rely solely on the audio content of e-learning interactions so I rely on the text.  I don't know if this would be a factor for your audience but perhaps worth bearing in mind?

Good luck with your project!

Raul Castillo

My approach is to provide full narration (and on-screen equivalent for 508 complainace) during the show me phase. In the try me portion I use guided pop-ups to guide learners through the process. In the test me phase, the learner is expected to know the steps. If they cannot, then there is a retry button that takes them back to the try me slide and they are given another look at the proper steps before trying the interaction again on their own.

This discussion is closed. You can start a new discussion or contact Articulate Support.