The use of animation in e-Learning is one of the most powerful ways to bring your content to life. From the much-loved Pixar or Disney characters to the amazing Anime works of art, we have witnessed many examples of how animation has sparked our creativity while transporting us to breathtaking imaginative worlds.
Animations are often beneficial when it comes to communicating an idea or concept. But how often is animation for e-Learning used without a real purpose?
The truth is that when you are new to e-learning, you may consider animation nothing more than a design embellishment. When that happens, the animation may simply distract users from your content instead of helping to improve it.
Here are a few tips on how you can use animation in eLearning courses.
Pick Elements Which Evoke the Right Emotions
Animation in eLearning is effective only if it is conveyed in the right tone and evokes the right emotions. For instance, if you’re dealing with a serious subject, such as handling bio-hazards or perilous equipment, a light-hearted animation isn’t appropriate. Instead, you should choose a more authoritative and serious animation, like an animated character that demos the entire clean-up process, how to handle a spill, or teaches the proper way to wear safety gear. Remember that every detail of your animation, no matter how small, will impact your eLearning script. Make sure you bring all the components together in a way that they align with your goals.
Encourage Learners to Interact with the Animation
eLearning animation is powerful, but at times, it can be passive. Often, online users simply have to sit back and watch how the different eLearning characters conquer obstacles. While the animation may form an emotional connect with users, it may not make them feel involved. To make your animation more engaging and interactive, invite the learners to click on the trigger objects, ask them thought-provoking questions, or allow playback control. The key here is to put together all the tangible elements which can help encourage them to be more actively involved in the learning process.
Focus on Only One eLearning Topic or Character at a Time
Animation in eLearning can become confusing and chaotic very easily, especially because you do not have restraint. Although it is possible to virtually form any eLearning situation or character using an appropriate animation tool, it is best to focus only on one eLearning topic or character at a time. At the same time, do not include information or characters which are irrelevant, such as showing a background story for the protagonist or referring to the secondary characters who are not involved in a situation. You should also avoid adding too many graphics or moving images to the animation. Busy screens may overwhelm the learners, distracting them from the main content.
Bonus Tip: If in Doubt, Fade-In-and-Out
The discussion about the use of animation in eLearning is incomplete if we don’t mention at least one type of animation that you should or shouldn’t use. Though tools like Articulate Storyline and PowerPoint include many entrance and exit animations, it isn’t always a good idea to use them. While it can be exciting to have an object enter with a spin and grow/shrink, make sure it is meaningful and makes sense. Fading in and out may be the best if you can’t decide if the entrance or exit animation helps you.
Use these tips for creating animated learning videos, characters, simulations, scenarios, and presentations which will wow your audience and create an engaging learning experience.