Top 15 Free Screencasting Software for eLearning Designers (Updated in 2018)

Sep 17, 2018 | Blog, eLearning tips, instructional design tips | 0 comments

The fact that the market has started to get flooded with free screencasting software makes it harder for eLearning designers to find the right one. As F.studio has been working with eLearning designer for years, we know what you need, and we put together what we believe the most extensive list on screencasting software, just for you!

It’s time to find your perfect screencasting software, and lay back to see how easier you work will become!

I. What to know before choosing a screencasting software

There are 14 free screencasting software to choose from.

Yes, it is a large number.

No, you don’t have to download every single one of them to see if it suits your need.

To help you to identify which screencasting software go with you, there are a few things to consider:

1. Intuitive Design (Easy to Use)

Nobody wants to waste hours grappling with head-banging software tutorials and a myriad of cryptic icons. You choose a screencasting software to make your work easier, not to make it harder!

2. Mouse Movement Recording and Editing

Talking about screencast software to create eLearning lessons or video tutorials, mouse movements does matter!

If the screencasting software offers powerful mouse movement control, e-learning designers probably do not need to insert too many callouts and shapes for explaining their messages. The audience can easily follow recorded clicks and mouse movements to know what the next steps are as well as what they have to do.

3. Built-in Audio & Video Editor

Built-in Audio & Video Editor should be the top features to look for when you consider different free screencasting software. Why burden your computer with two separate applications on your computer if there is one that can cover all your desired features. The truth remains the same when it comes to choosing a screen recorder featuring post-production tools.

4. Export Options

The capacity to export captured videos to popular formats such as MP4, MKV and AVI are one of the key features of professional screencasting software should have.  The more output options you have, the easier for you to manage your post-production or transfer it between platforms.

5. Animation library

There are very few free screencasting software an available animation library even though investing in this features can easily give one screencasting software massive advantages over others.

Animation is fun. Adding animation to your screencast can instantly spice up your recording, make the lesson less boring and improve your audience’s retention.

(We don’t just make it up. Science proved it)

You may have interest in:

6. Available Support and User Documents

Finding the solution to technical issues must be a nightmare to user of the free screencasting software that lacks a proper user community. No matter how amazing the free screencasting software is and what features are available in it. If it does not provide you with useful and essential documents, it is highly possible that you will be worn down with a variety of confused technical problems.

II. Top 15 free screencasting software for eLearning designers in 2018

1. Screencast-O-Matic

  • Operating system: Windows, Web-based

Screencast-O-Matic serves a diversity of users, from developers, gamers to educators. It also offers the most robust, easy-to-use and cost-effective screencasting solutions available for eLearning designers. With Screen-o-matic paid plans – which are highly economical, ranging from 1.5$ to 4$ per month, you can get access to over 40 handy features such as Adding animation layers, Speeding up/down or Creating Gifs. However, since we are talking about free screencasting software, check out Screen-O-Matic free version’s features:

  • Record Screen/ Webcam/ Window
  • Trim Recording
  • Zoom in while recording
  • Add captions
  • Free music tracks
  • Quick Share to social media
  • Store Videos on Screencast-O-Matic
  • View videos on any device

2. CamStudio

  • Operating System: Windows only

Camstudio is an open-source program with powerful video and audio recording features. Camstudio’s Key features are also impressive for a free program, including:

  • Simplistic and friendly interface
  • Option to record part or all of the screen
  • Flexible choices of video output format
  • Records 1280x720 quality
  • Customisable frame rate for space-saving options
  • Allow user to add text or voice-over
  • Include codecs to reduce file size
  • Curser highlighting, panning and multitude of shapes and sizes to add

3.  Active Presenter

  • Operating System: Windows, Mac OS

Specifically designed for creating video tutorials and corporate training contents, ActivePresenter without a doubt acquired millions of users worldwide. ActivePresenter offers their users, especially those who are eLearning designer, a rich library of powerful features, including:

  • Advanced recording features: Full Motion Recording, Smart Capture
  • Diverse video editing tools: Cut, Crop, Join, Change, Speed up, Slow down
  • Multiple Audio/Video Layers
  • Rich Annotations: Shapes, Image, Zoom-n-Pan, Closed Caption, Cursor Path, Audio/Video Overlays
  • Built-in themes and templates
  • Flexible Export options: MP$, WebM, MKV, AVI, WMV

And that’s just the free edition! Crazy, right?

With ActivePresenter Standard Edition and Pro Edition – Which cost you $199/license and $399/license respectively, offer unique and unimaginably handy features for eLearning designers in particular such as Responsive Design, Interactivity& Branching, Quiz, etc.

Now that’s how eLearning designers can finally have a vacation!

4. Grabilla

  • Operating system: Windows, Mac OS X

Despite not being a strong player in the race for best free screencasting software, Grabilla is a simple and fast tool to help users capture screen or record desktop actions video with voice comments and instantly upload it to Grabilla image hosting server.

Grabilla’s key features include:

  • Standard screen video recording
  • Flexible storage options
  • Flexible sharing options

5. Nimbus

  • Operating System: Windows, Linux, Mac OS X

Nimbus is a Google Chrome extension specifically created for screencasting. Despite being an extension, Nimbus have all standard features to rival with other free screencasting software for desktop.

Key features of Nimbus include:

  • Standard screen recording: Record full screen or a selected region, record video from active program or from webcam
  • Customizable timer to countdown to recording
  • Standard editing options: Draw on video, highlight text
  • Draw on video
  • Easy to configure
  • Flexible output format: MP4 or GIF

6. Screencastify

  • Operating System: Windows, Linux, Mac OS X

Screencastify is another Chrome Extension with the potential to be the perfect replacement for desktop free screencasting software. User testimonials on Screencastify website indicate that educators and elearning designers fall head over heels with this screencasting tool. To help you know why, below are Screencastify’s key features:

  • Standard screen recording: Record entire desktop, an application, current browser tab or webcam
  • A handful of annotation tools: Focus mouse, draw with pen, Embed webcam or Trimp video
  • Flexible output options: GIF, MP4 or Autosave to Google Drive

7. Filmora

  • Operating System: Windows 7 or later, Mac OS X 10.7 or later

Filmora pride itself on its powerful editing feature enabling user to pan and zoom in to emphasize important parts that student will need, which makes it easier for e-learning student to interact with the lessons.

Filmora also offers several handy features, including:

  • Intuitive Design
  • Record voice-over, PC and screen
  • No limit of screen recording time
  • Extensive collection of editing features for education videos, including a wide variety of motion element templates for annotation specially designed for educational video

8. Ezvid Video Maker

  • Operating System: Windows 7 or later

Ezvide Video Maker is a standard screencasting software, which means it has no outstanding feature compared to other free software. However, Ezvide is decently designed and has all the basic tools for eLearning designer. Ezvide’s key features include:

  • Straightforward and Easy to use interface
  • With one click, you can record your screen with the app, and capture whatever appears on your computer screen: Web pages, games, applications, paint programs, maps, you name it. Ezvid also allows you to add slides, change the playback speed of your video, and make overlaid annotations.

9. TinyTake

  • Operating system: Windows, Mac OS X

Tiny Take is a feature-rich, free screencasting software integrated with all features eLearning designer may need. Tiny Take also offers a wide range of paid plan for commercial uses, rewarding paid users different premium features based on the pricing. For example, with TinyTake Plus – TinyTake most popular paid plan, user get access to 200 GB storage, video recording limit up to 30 minutes, Youtube Integration and No Ads/Promotion.

For TinyTake free plan, you can use the following features:

  • Standard screen recording (5 minutes)
  • Annotate videos with add-on icons and layers
  • Store videos in the cloud
  • Zoom in/Zoom out
  • Proxy Server friendly

10. Open Broadcaster

  • Operating System: Windows, MacOS 10.11+, Linux

Open Broadcaster, also known as OBS, is a popular free screencasting software. Not only can it serve as a standard screencasting software for elearning designer but it also can live stream. Open Broadcaster Software is also equipped with a powerful API, enabling plugins and scripts to provide further customization and functionality specific to user needs.

Key features of OBS include:

  • High-performance real-time video/audio capturing and mixing
  • Real-time editing tools: Create scenes made up of multiple sources including window recording, screen captures, images, text, browser windows, webcams, capture cards etc
  • Streamlined settings panel: Get instant access to wide array of configuration options to polish every aspect of recording
  • Powerful and easy to use configuration options: Add new sources, duplicate existing ones, and adjust their properties effortlessly
  • Intuitive audio mixer to enhance audio recording quality with filters such as noise gate, noise suppression, and gain

11. Flashback Express

  • Operating System: Windows

Flashback Express is without a doubt one of the top choices when it comes to free screencasting software. Despite being a free version of a paid software, Flashback Express houses features that are on a par with those of premium programs, including:

  • Flexible recording option: You can record your whole screen or selected areas.
  • No time limits or watermarks: No more suffering from ugly logos on your video.
  • Standard choices of output format: MP4, AVI, WMV.
  • Built-in sound recording for commentary.

In addition, Flashback Express’s well-designed and intuitive interface would be a bargain for novice users.

12. Apowersoft Free Online Screen Recorder

  • Operating System: Windows, Mac OS X

As Apowersoft is web-based, when you first use Apowersoft Free Online Screen Recorder, you’ll be guided to download a small launcher application. After you run the application, you will have a control bar teeming with more options than you can find in most screencasting software. Apowersoft website is neatly designed and its intuitive design definitely a representation of how powerful Apowersoft.

Key features of Apowersoft include:

  • Diverse recording options: Record all types of activities on your screen including video stream, self-demonstration, live chat and more.
  • No time limits or Watermarks
  • Flexible Screen capture: Record a selected region, a whole screen or record web camera
  • High-quality video and audio capture
  • Insert webcam while recording
  • Make annotation while recording: add colours, shapes, notes, and different icons like arrows using Apowersoft’s toolkit
  • Multiple output formats
  • Diverse saving and sharing options

13. Debut Video Capture

  • Operating System: Windows, Mac OS X\

There are more to Debut Video Capture than being a mere Screencasting Software. Despite the slightly outdated interface and lack of post-production tools, Debut’s flexibility in recording options is a strong competitive edge to draw e-learning designers’ attention.

Key features of Debut Video Capture include:

  • No time limits and watermarks
  • Standard screen recording
  • Option to record from external devices (including webcam and security cameras)
  • Scheduled Recordings
  • Standard output format: MP4, MOV, AVI

Debut Video Capture is currently in public beta, so we should look forward to the final version with a dash of extra polish soon.

14. ShareX

  • Operating System: Windows 7 or later

A warning upfront: ShareX is not an intuitive and user-friendly screencasting software. However, ShareX makes up for what it lacks by offering a handful of powerful features which are able to smoke other free screencasting software, including:

  • Diverse screen recorder and screen capture options: Fullscreen, Monitor Menu, Scrolling capture, Text Capture (OCR), etc.
  • Diverse social media sharing options
  • Diverse Animation tools and Layers
  • Over 40 file destinations for texts, photos and URL
  • 15 productivity tools: QR code, Monitor test, Image Editor, Image Effects, Monitor Test, DNS changer, etc..

15. Icecream Screen Recorder

  • Operating system: Windows, Mac OS X

Icecream Screen Recorder has all basic features of a typical free screencasting software. It is created to do the basics, and it sure does them well.

Key features of Icecream Screen Recorder include:

  • Standard recording options: Record a selected area, record webcam video
  • Trim recordings
  • Scheduled screen recording
  • Add watermark
  • Drawing panel

III. Top-notch tips for High-Quality Screencast

1. Create an outline before recording

You screencasting video need a strong and appealing content. Obviously.

You may be tempted to shovel it off your impulse of inspiration, and it would be the right way if you want to lose your audience faster than a speeding train. Avoid babbling and jumping aimlessly back by forcing yourself to follow a structured outline right from the beginning.

2. Keep it bite-sized

These days, our average attention span took a nosedive to 9 seconds, one second less than the attention span of a goldfish. And it’s no secret that video length is negatively correlated with video engagement. Therefore, keeping your video short should be one of the top priorities. If you have record longer screencasts, breaking it up into separate, focused segments can be a good choice.

3. Add Animation

Simple screen recording combined with plain narration can gradually slide down into dry and tedious territory, with your audience stray off the track. As animations have an incredible story-telling ability that could break the traditional sense of learning being long and wearisome, streak your screencast with animation here and there to keep your lesson fresh and exciting and prompt your viewers’ focus right back to your lesson.

4. Embed your Webcam nicely

It is often easy to get carried away by embedding your webcam even though it is is a nice way of making your screen recording more persona.

Take a note that your viewer will most likely shift their focus to your face whenever they see it. While this is great for introductions, conclusions, overusing webcam embedding can distract your audience from on-screen actions.

5. Speak Slowly and Use good microphone

Screencasts with poor audio quality are recipe for disaster. There are two incredibly simple steps to help you avoid this headache:

  1. Use a good microphone. Fancy, expensive microphones can be unnecessary. Using basic headphones witha built-in mic can be a cost-effective method and much better than using your computer’s internal microphone.
  2. Speak slowly. We’re naturally inclined to speak more quickly when we’re giving a presentation. Therefore, it is advisable to rehearse once while consciously speaking more slowly than you regularly do. Then when you record, slow it down even more.

6. Trim Your Screencast

How to lose viewer 101: dead air scattered at the beginning and the end of screencasts.

You screencasts should start promptly when your viewer clicks play and end as soon as you sign off. It just takes a few minutes to trim your video to make a major improvement on the quality of your recording.

7. Use Annotation Tools

Most free screencasting software offer you a decent array of annotation tools including Zoom in, highlight text, draw with a pen tool, and more. These tools can be of  tremendous value in directing your viewer’s eyes where you want them to go.

8. End with a summary

Recap your screencast to help your viewer remember all of your key point – not just the last 1 or 2 that they heard – and make your presentation more effective.

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