How to use animation most effectively in eLearning
Animation creates the illusion of motion, helps you change the shape of objects to add pizzazz to a presentation, visualise impossible-to-observe processes, and convey complex ideas. Whatever your learning objective, animation can be a very useful and interesting method to engage with learners and bring to life course material.
Animation ensures that information remains consistent across every session, irrespective of the teacher leading the course. Using voiceover in different languages makes it easier to reach out to audiences from different regions and nationalities. Animation also aids recall and puts the control in the hands of the user, letting them pause, replay, and interact with the content in front of them. But it is important to identify your purpose and use the right kind of animation to capture the attention of your audience for maximum effectiveness.
As educators, today you can choose from simple 2D, motion graphic animation, and GIFs to more advanced, expensive and time-consuming 3D animation depending on the subject at hand. You can also decide if you want to include a storyline and characters. For instance, you could choose to create a workplace safety tutorial featuring characters on the shop floor and show an accident occurring when safety protocols are ignored.
You can also choose an appropriate ‘look and feel’ for your tutorial. A whiteboard style of animation can help break down a large argument into bite-sized pieces. Imagine taking your students through a whiteboard video on ‘The Power of Compounding to Grow Your Investment.’
At our agency, we help clients integrate learning material using best-in-class tools like Storyline 360 and Adobe Captivate.
Storyline 360 gives interaction designers the freedom to create interesting introductions, transition between slides, and close out a presentation. It also moves objects, triggered by learner’s actions. For example, HR managers can rate and review resumes, by looking for keywords, as demonstrated by this nifty exercise.
Educators can create a variety of animation effects for one object, and quickly apply it to a group of objects, use customisable dials to let learners manipulate data, explore cause-and-effect relationships, and interact using push buttons, radio buttons and checkboxes. Course creators can also import animations created using external tools, like Adobe After Effects, Animate CC into Storyline and Captivate.
If you want to walk your audience through a software tool, or ‘explain’ a product or service, you can choose to create a video demo by animating and highlighting relevant app screens and buttons in Adobe Captivate 9. See a tutorial here.
You can also use simple motion graphics to put your point across. For instance, you could use manipulate flat shapes, judiciously use colour and music to create an engaging narrative in Storyline, like this example by Ian Monk or use simple animation to morph shapes and create an interactive clip. 2D animation can also transport your learners into an entirely different world; for example, see a beautiful universe created using a few shapes and textures here.
If you want to explain a slightly more complicated, hard-to-observe process, for instance, demonstrate how braking works to stop a car in motion, you can create a process-based animation, as shown in this example, using native tools within Storyline.
We hope this article acts as a springboard into thinking more creatively about eLearning and introduces you to a world of tools and choices that you have to make learning truly engaging and inspirational. Please do get in touch with us for guidance on leveraging the latest technology to breathe life into your course content.
Preeti Prakash | Journalist