How useful can be the effects of animation in e-learning?

Star IT Euro

With advancement in technology, e-learning developers are on a constant mission to make e-content suitable for the tech-savvy learners of today. Especially in the corporate world, learners can access e-courses through a variety of devices – laptops, mobiles, tablets or smartphones. They also have easy and constant internet connectivity – which opens the avenue to deliver media-rich content that has a strong impact on the learner.

There is a lot that can be done in terms of a suitable media strategy for your e-course. A popular and affordable option is that of ANIMATION. It is a known fact that animations are a powerful tool in training as they can grab the learners’ attention instantly. On the downside, animations are not easy to create – at least the ones that have a lasting effect on the learners. You need good actors, appropriate settings, lighting – the works. When you need to create a animation that illustrates an idea or concept in an innovative manner, whiteboard animations are the quick fix!

Animations are videos that ‘show’ the learner an idea or concept through a series of live drawings. For example, the familiar image of the teacher’s hand writing or drawing on the whiteboard finds instant connect with learners of all ages.

So what goes into creating an impactful animation?

- A solid script:  That’s where you begin. Your script must identify the core learning that you wish to share – and also put it in crisp, succulent terms. Keep in mind that the animation should ideally have minimal text, so use words judicially. Your script should also define how long your animation will be, and it should set the pace of image-transitions on the video.

- A suitable flow: Ideally, a animation should have a distinct beginning, middle and end – like in a story. This flow works wonders in helping the learners understand the issue or concept being taught and how it affects their work lives. Typically, animations must be short (anywhere from 60 seconds to 5 minutes) and the flow needs to be smooth.

- Powerful imagery: Illustrations and images are the backbone of a animation video. Creating suitable images and illustrations might take time, but it is time well-spent. In the absence of words, your powerful imagery will be able to make an instant connect with the audience. Illustrations should be developed keeping the audience profile and their cultural or social predispositions in mind. Since the illustrations are either hand drawn or computer generated, they can be tweaked and reworked upon as per the need.

- Accompanying audio: Audio is an important accompaniment to the illustrations in a animation. The voice over is developed as per the nature of the animation video and is successful in ‘humanising’ the e-content.

- Background music: Music and sound effects are powerful tools to jazz up the video and create greater impact. They help in creating realistic scenarios even when the scene presented before the learner is an illustration. For instance, even if it is an animated illustration of a one person walks on leaves – the accompanying ‘The rustling of leaves’ will help the learner perceive it as real.

In past, the process of creating a animation was long-drawn and tedious. The popular way was to actually take a video of a hand drawing on a paper and then fast-pace it to make it look ‘animated’. Nowadays the process is much simpler and easier. Using popular graphics software, it is possible to draw illustrations. Animation software can then create a hand-animation effect and produce the video in MP4 format. This can then be uploaded on a video-sharing platform like YouTube, your company website – or even the organization LMS – for learners to view.

Animations have a number of benefits, especially in corporate training and learning.

- They can be a great marketing tool for your organization. If you are introducing a new process in the organization, your greatest worry is change management. Animations can be generate interest in a new process or tool within the organization. They can be short and crisp and taking up very little time of the viewer. They can be also informal, encouraging the viewers to ‘try and see’.

- They can also provide suitable refreshers to accompany text-heavy courses. Encapsulating the crux of the course, they can help the learner revise and refresh as per need. This makes the information more palatable and easier to consume as well as retain.

- Complex processes (like the operation of an electronic device or show a scientific process and even the transfer of the concept of integral to students...) can be broken down and illustrated with the help of animation. Unlike static images, these ‘how-to’ animations help the learners ‘see’ how things work and understand the processes better.

- For products that are being built, animations can be utilized to create impactful demos. When real pictures are difficult to get, illustrations or drawings can suitably represent the products to the learners through animation.

- Animations are ‘in’ and quite the flavor of the times! So they also help in differentiating your course from the run-of-the- mill variety. A short animation video before the beginning of a course can instill curiosity for the learner to know more. A crisp animation on your website may get you more hits than all the impactful text you can create.

- With an informal approach, these animations can help boost the morale of a team by highlighting organizational beliefs, goals and achievements. The animated illustrations dispel the usual seriousness that often accompanies such discourses.

- Animations are fast gaining popularity as an impactful tool for learning delivery in technology-aided learning. Being short and crisp, they align very well to the needs of the modern corporate learner.

Reza Pazhoheshnia
Star IT Euro