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RoboDemo Reviews

This review reflects the observations and experiences of independent teacher volunteers, and is provided as a service to Education World readers. The review in no way constitutes an endorsement of the product or its manufacturer by those teachers or by Education World.


RoboDemo, a software program from eHelp Corporation, allows users to create interactive simulations, tutorials, and demonstrations for teacher workshops, online training, instructional technology support, and more. Recently, Education World reviewers checked out RoboDemo in actual tech training situations, rated the software on a scale of 1-4, and shared their opinions about the program's strengths and weaknesses. Our reviewers either loved RoboDemo or they hated it. Read their comments and see what you think! Included: Strong comments about how the software's usability and usefulness.

RoboDemo, a tutorial software program from eHelp Corporation, allows users to create animated, interactive Flash simulations of any computer application without knowing Flash. As you use an application, RoboDemo records the steps you take and automatically turns your content into a Flash-based simulation of your application, with visible and audible mouse clicks. These interactive simulations can be used as tutorials and demonstrations in teacher workshops, online training, instructional technology support, and more.

Recently, Education World asked our reviewers, all educational technology specialists, to check out RoboDemo in actual professional situations. Reviewers were asked to use RoboDemo for a period of at least one month, note specific strengths, weaknesses, and/or quirks of the program, record personal observations -- both positive and negative -- and rate various qualities of the software on a scale of 1-4.

The results are in -- and, interestingly, our reviewers expressed widely divergent opinions about the usefulness and usability of RoboDemo: They either loved it or hated it -- or they never quite figured it out. Read their comments and see what you think.


Please note that this review refers to RoboDemo version 3.60. A newer version -- RoboDemo 4.0 -- is now available. In addition, eHelp Corp. recently released the eLearning edition of RoboDemo, which "enables instructors to create interactive, SCORM / AICC compliant simulations, with quizzing and scoring capabilities, that can be easily integrated into a learning management system." (SCORM, Sharable Courseware Object Reference Model, is a suite of technical standards that enable web-based learning systems to find, import, share, reuse, and export learning content in a standardized way.)


"I've always dreaded creating tutorials because of all of the steps involved: screenshots, resizing them, adding the notation to each picture, laying everything out in a word processor or html, etc. With RoboDemo, you start the recording and it handles all of the screenshots and also records the mouse movements. Then you can open each screenshot and add boxes, arrows, and notes and export it in a variety of formats."

"I attempted to use this product to develop a training movie for teachers. I also would have liked to have developed movies for student use, but was not successful. My first several attempts[resulted] in a great deal of frustration, so this did not happen. This program was frustrating and difficult to use for me. I would not find it a helpful application in my job as I don't have huge amounts of time to invest in training development. I need something quick and user friendly for this task. My greatest frustration was in editing material that I was trying to create so that I had a usable finished product."

"I used the product to create instruction for teachers/administrators, etc. to assist them in the following areas: 1. Setting up an Outlook Express account to check e-mail from our district's tigerwires accounts. 2. Items new teachers needed to take care of online. 3. Setting up a simple Web page on our districts pages. 4. Accomplishing specific tasks on our Web pages. 5. Filling out online conference request forms and signing up for training using our online course catalog."

"At this point I have not successfully used this product for anything, but I am going to keep working at it."

"I used the product for community use -- to assist them in logging on to our online gradebook and checking students grades. I also used it at a conference to show how easy it was to fill out an online conference request."

"This program is difficult to manage in a teaching environment. I am very technically literate and I have a wide range of experiences using software and yet I could not master this program. Teachers would not find this a useful tool."


"I loved what the program did, but did not feel it was very user-friendly or intuitive for the creator of the movies. It was extremely easy for teachers who used the products created by the program, however."

"I especially liked RoboPDF 2.0 I have used it more times than I can count."

"There were a few things I wanted to do with the program, but I haven't figured out yet how to do them -- which is pretty unusual for me. Having written instructions would be a big help."

"I would recommend this program for what it can do, but not for its ease of use. I would recommend RoboPDF to everyone. It was easy to use as well as a powerful product."

"My future plan is to use this program to make short tutorials for helping college students learn to use programs that they need for projects, class work, and so on. This does not take the place of workshops, but does give me the option of providing students with a different way of learning that may be more convenient for them. By saving these short tutorials in .exe files, I can put them on disks or send through e-mail for students to use wherever they want."

"I see this as a great way to help K-12 classroom teachers learn new technology skills. They can work at their own convenience in short time periods and learn the skills they need for integrating technology into their classrooms."

"I really liked this program. It was easy to use, even without going through the tutorial. I enjoy using a program that I can jump right in and get results quickly. I was able to make a short tutorial using Microsoft Excel on how to make a graph, and showed it to some of the students who use our computer lab. They were really excited about the tutorial and are already asking me to make more, based on their specific needs."

"I would recommend this program to anyone who is teaching technology skills. I can see school districts and universities purchasing it for use in staff development for teachers and students."

"I used the program to make a demonstration movie of how to use one of our district Web projects. We have an online book club where students can publish reviews of books they've read. I created a tutorial to show teachers how to register for the site and get their students started writing reviews. The site is located at and the tutorial is at I'm also in the process of creating tutorials for teachers and students on MS Office products, which will be used in online courses we are offering."

"The program offered a variety of formats for exporting the final project (Flash, exe, Word, and so on.)."

"The Flash movies I created with it were rather large because of the number of screenshots I used, but it is created in such a way that when playing it on the Web it "streams" from the server and begins playing immediately instead making you wait for the whole download. This is very good."

"Teachers who used the tutorials I created with RoboDemo responded very positively. They like being able to see the mouse movements and hear the clicks instead of just reading a tutorial."

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"One big complaint I had about the program is the inclusion of an 'info' button with the controls (play, forward, reverse, etc.) of the Flash movie. If users click on the info button, they see an ad for the RoboDemo parent company. I think this is very unacceptable. It would be like Microsoft including an ad for PowerPoint in every presentation you made. While I did find a work-around on the discussion boards on the company Web site, it should not be necessary. If a customer pays for the product they shouldn't have to also provide free ad space."

"I would purchase this product and have recommended it to others in our district because of the ease with which you can produce step-by-step instructions with annotated screen shots, narrations, and so on."

"I would not recommend that someone else purchase this until they tried the free trial download. Then they should decide for themselves."


"No problems with installation. The program created a shortcut on the desktop for convenience. I did not rate this exceptional because most programs today do install rather seamlessly, and this program was no exception."

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Do you agree with our reviewers' rating of RoboDemo? E-mail [email protected] to share your experiences with RoboDemo.

"The program requires an install code from the company. This makes removal from one computer and installation on another very difficult. I installed this on my home computer and then decided to move it to a work computer. The removal was easy. The re-install did not work with the code provided and I had to contact the company to get a new code."

"Very easy installation. Totally problem free."

"RoboPDF2.0, additional software that came with the program, would not install on my computer; I kept getting error messages. I wondered if it had anything to do with the fact that I had Adobe Acrobat 5.0 already installed. After I installed and registered the program, I received an immediate e-mail back from customer service with my activation information on it."

"The installation was very typical of Windows programs. It was all automatic. All the default settings were appropriate."

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"There is no print documentation with this program. The Help and Tutorial are online. I did try the Tutorial online. In my opinion the Online Tutorial demonstrated what the program could do, not how to do it."

"Documentation for this program is entirely online except for a quick tutorial and some simple help in the program itself. I could never figure out the means to edit the video the way I needed to in order to make my movie work the way I wanted it. Documentation needs to be provided in written format either in a printed manual or PDF so the user can have it in hand. This is a costly program to come with no manual! I could not figure out how to do what I wanted to do with the instructions provided and became so frustrated with this and technical difficulties I never got a tutorial made."


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"An instruction book needs to be included. When I had questions about how to do something, help was not available unless I was hooked to the Internet. The total lack of instructions made getting started difficult."

"The computer I used was fairly new, and I didn't have any trouble running the software with multiple programs open at the same time. The installation guide does not give a lot of information -- basically just how to install the program and what the new features are. I think that the user is expected to go through the tutorial to get information on how to use the program. Personally, I would have liked a little more information in the installation book, just some general information, because I really dislike tutorials."

"The help system in the program worked fine and provided an overview of the program as well as detailed instructions for using it."

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"The computer did freeze up a time or two, but I think it was more a problem of low resources. The program always loaded correctly, and in a reasonable time."

"The program did max out my system resources (memory and CPU usage) whenever I generated a final version of a movie. It also seemed to slow somewhat after doing a series of screenshots while it opened those slides in the main window for the program. Considering the screen resolution I was using for the screenshots and the size of the files involved, I would not consider these shortcomings of the program."

"I spent a great deal of time on this program. I made very little progress. My biggest stumbling block was getting started. There are several ways to start a movie. You can open a previously existing file. There are four file types that can be opened: .avi software tutorials, .vp or .qvp projects, TDP projects, or PowerPoint files. Since I had no idea what these other files were I opened a PPT file. I really didn't want to use it with PPT because PPT 2000 already has many capabilities. I wanted to use it with Web pages. I tried opening a new file, like in Word or Photoshop, and then I figured I could paste in a screenshot. However you can't open a blank page. You have to start recording a movie."

"If you start a new movie, RoboDemo starts recording your every movement. It took me a while to realize several things: 1. I already should have open the program from which I want screenshots taken. 2. Even if the computer did take a screen shot every two seconds, they are easy to delete. (Believe me I deleted many trying to figure out this program.)"

"After many sessions -- maybe five -- with RoboDemo (I'm beginning to feel less and less computer savvy as I write this), I did manage to get about eight screenshots (by RoboDemo recording my movements) on which I thought I would add fade-in and fade-out captions. I also wanted to add a click box, and a colored frame on a link, so the user could interact with the movie. I quickly cut the screenshots down to four, because every time I previewed the movie to see how I was doing, it took quite a while, and I figured the user wouldn't want to watch a long tutorial either. Also, every time I previewed it, my elements were either in the wrong place, or eventually didn't show up at all."

"The online tutorial does suggest that you storyboard your movie ahead of time. By the time I was done playing with it, it was storyboarded, but that didn't help. It was the timing of the individual elements that did me in. They would either show up on the wrong page, or sometimes not show up at all or faded. I thought the fading would be solved by right-clicking and choosing bring-to-front, but that didn't help at all. I know there was a check box on whether to display the element before or after the mouse click. I tried it every way! Then, to add insult to injury, when I decided to save my flawed movie to a .swf (Flash) file and played it, it played at a different resolution and you couldn't read the writing on the captions! That was at the end of my last session."

"Every time I attempted to use this program I encountered illegal errors or some sort of technical conflict. The last time I attempted to make a tutorial, I was using Microsoft word. Each time I added clip art, the two programs working together caused a corruption in my clip art. I had to stop both programs, loose my work and start over."

"The teachers who viewed the created demos loved them. I attached them to our Web page for community users with instructions for accessing online grades and received several e-mails commenting on how helpful it was."

"Everything loaded quickly and worked great."

"Text in the Flash movie was sometimes hard to read when the viewing window was smaller than the original screen shot resolution."

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"I don't think this program should be used for anything other than the purpose it was designed for, that of creating tutorials. Most teachers would not have the time or the need to use it, but it would be useful for a tech center."

"I really think the timing issue needs to be straightened out. (I think they already know this, because of the storyboarding they suggest you do ahead of time.) Sometimes there were two times to be set on an element, and several elements on a page; this was confusing."

"This program is designed for presenter, trainer use. I had hoped to be able to make tutorials for my staff to provide training opportunities that they could refer back to after participating in training sessions. I was not able to do this with a reasonable amount of invested effort. I would rather use PowerPoint and screen capture and build my own how-tos."

"I often have calls from administrators and teachers asking me how to do something. This program allowed me to do it once and record it, post to the Web page and allow viewers to download it. I also e-mailed it to people when they requested instructions. Although it took a little more time to create than a simple word document, the results were worth it."

"I plan to use the program for a variety of instructional movies to place on our Web page."

"This program is wonderful for individualizing student learning. It is very easy to make short tutorials to help students learn how to use computer programs. They can easily open the tutorial on their computer and work simultaneously with the tutorial by pausing the tutorial and following the directions. I liked the way that you can add voice and print directions within the tutorial, and that it was easy to edit. Because you can make the tutorials as long or as short as needed, I think this will be a great tool for many different types of users."

"This program definitely saves teacher time. It would take quite a while to generate a similar Flash-based tutorial using screenshots and importing them into Flash to create the movie by hand. I am truly amazed by the ease of working with the screenshots/slides and the quality of the final product. Although I could do all this working solely in Flash, it would take forever. RoboDemo let me produce quality tutorials in very little time."

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"I did not try to get technical help from RoboDemo or the Web site, other than the online help -- which wasn't very helpful. Most of the time I didn't feel as though I understood enough about the program to ask questions."

"Help can be accessed while using the program if you are online. If you are not online, you're out of luck."

"I called technical support in the hopes of finding a manual. None was available. This was not a real test of the technical support system, so I really can't rate this. The help tool is accessible during use of the program, but is it not very helpful. Other help has to have Internet connectivity while the program is being used. At the time of this review, my Internet connection at home was not working, so I could not access the help I needed."

"Help should be available when not online. I was using the program in an airport; I needed to access the help, but was unable to because I wasn't hooked to the Internet. At the very minimum, an index of help areas and basic instructions should be available to any user."

"There is a help tool available and it can be used while you are working on the program. There is online support, but I did not need to use it. The help tool had the normal options, where you could get information by content, index, or search."

"While the help file in the program was very helpful for getting started, the company's Web site also has an online forum where I found answers to other questions not covered in the help file. Surprisingly, the comments from users in the forum did not seem to be screened by the company, and some reflected poorly on the company and included user complaints. There were also many posts to the forums from company representatives helping to solve user problems."

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