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Using Animation in eLearning: A Tool For Student Engagement

     

Why is it that we can sit our children in front of Peppa Pig, The Simpsons or Paw Patrol at any time and not hear a pin drop for minutes on end? Yet, have them read a book and they can barely keep still for a few seconds. You can probably see where this is going. Let’s see how animation is able to capture the attention of learners in ways no other format of storytelling can.

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Why does animation capture attention?

The human eye is drawn towards motion. In a research paper entitled Visual Attention and Eye Movements, Chen, K and Choi, H (n.d.) mentions:

“There are two types of attention cues, push cues and pull cues. The cue demonstrated in the attention cuing paradigm is a push cue because your attention is pushed from the cue to the target location. It is a cue that causes a voluntary shift of attention.  The other type of cue is pull cues. These cues pull our attention to them involuntarily. An example of a pull cue would be a moving object. When you stare at a still image and something suddenly moves, your eyes will automatically become attracted to that object.”

To see what we mean, check these two images. Which one draws your attention more?

A

B

Graphics from Giphy; Artwork by Max Scandi Sticker By Maxomorra (n.d.)

Exactly.

How does this apply to eLearning? Animation is a powerful tool that can be used in eLearning to engage students and keep them interested in the material. Animation can be used to make learning more fun and interesting, and it can also be used to help students understand complex concepts.

Types and examples of great animation for eLearning

There are many different types of animation that can be used in elearning, and each type has its own benefits. For example, motion graphics can be used to help students understand how processes work, while character animation can be used to help students learn about different cultures.

Animation can also be used to create simulations that allow students to experiment with different scenarios. For example, a physics simulation can allow students to explore the effects of gravity, while a medical simulation can allow students to learn about different diseases.

Here are some examples that we hope could provide inspiration for your next elearning project.

 

TED Ed

“TED-Ed’s commitment to creating lessons worth sharing is an extension of TED’s mission of spreading great ideas. Within TED-Ed’s growing library of TED-Ed animations, you will find carefully curated educational videos, many of which represent collaborations between talented educators and animators nominated through the TED-Ed website.”

 

Brilliant.org

“Brilliant.org is the best place on Earth to learn math and science. We help you master concepts by solving fun, challenging problems on everything from logical reasoning to artificial neural networks. Join our community of 8+ million members to solve and discuss fascinating problems with math and science enthusiasts around the world.”

 

Crash Course

“Crash Course is an educational YouTube channel started by John Green and Hank Green, who first achieved notoriety on the YouTube platform through their Vlogbrothers channel. Crash Course was one of the hundred initial channels funded by YouTube’s $100 million original channel initiative.”

 

Kurzgesagt

“Animation videos explaining things with optimistic nihilism since 12,013. We’re a team of illustrators, animators, number crunchers and one dog who aim to spark curiosity about science and the world we live in. To us nothing is boring if you tell a good story.”

 

Primer

“Attempting to communicate the deep ideas of academic subjects. This probably isn’t going to help you on tests, but if you’re curious about a subject, I hope you’ll find this channel valuable.”

Overall, animation is a powerful tool that can be used to engage students and help them learn. It can be used to explain complex concepts, create simulations, and make learning more fun and interesting.

The tangible impact of animation

“Animation can explain whatever the mind of man can conceive.” – Walt Disney

Whether using TupiTube, Videoscribe, Moovly or Pencil 2D, there are various reasons for using animation as a tool to engage students:

If you’ve been to a children’s party before, you might recall seeing young guests mimicking their favourite cartoon character many times over. This adoration and relatability instantly flicks a switch in a child’s brain when they see animations in the classroom. There is an ease and informality that allows the student to engage with the work, sometimes without even knowing that they are learning.  

Yes, reading is fundamental, but using eyes (the visual component) and ears (the audio component) even touch (clicking to start the animation) is already far more engaging than a student reading a text to themselves or aloud. Multi-sensory learning has been proven to be successful in helping students to read and support those who have dyslexia. In many cases, an animation will trigger a reaction or emotion that the student will more likely recall when doing revision or an examination.

A hilarious animation with a ‘laugh out loud’ reaction can make a student remember anything from the number of days in a month to the 8th number on the periodic table. It can also be used in teaching modern moral behaviour at an early age. Suppose a young student sees a particular behaviour or situation dealt with in animation. In that case, they can empathise and apply that same reasoning/reaction to their own lives. Thus, creating a profound relatable lesson.

There are plenty of adults who are still watching and engaging in animation celebrating their inner child. As we age, the level of text and content consumed increases dramatically. Animation is a refreshing and welcomed break in adult reading/learning. It can be very memorable when it comes to consuming unending subject matter.

On top of reacting, students will naturally gravitate towards sharing an effective animation with fellow students and parents outside the class. In today’s current sharing climate, this leads to further reactions and discussions about ideas and concepts that were only prevalent in a ‘show and tell’ environment.

Are you ready to animate?

Whether a century-old philosophy in the past or an augmented virtual reality-based learning game in the future, the common thread is always motivation, motivation, motivation! As technology evolves and animation continues to inspire and demand more interaction with students, it will only increase their desire to learn.

We are Strawberry Solutions

We are Australia’s leading content creators for the education industry. We can help your business develop innovative new learning experiences to inspire minds like never before.

We’ll help bring your lessons to life. We work with a range of clients from K-12, RTOs, higher education, corporate learning and development to the government. 

Our team consists of a talented crew of graphic designers, instructional designers, animators, video editors, voiceover artists and eLearning developers who create sophisticated, multimedia SCORM output.

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