Animation is a very well-known term now, over the last twenty years technology gave birth to the PowerPoint presentation and we all went wild for flying bullet points, sound effects and word art. That being said, animation has somewhat evolved, it is an amazing tool that can be done to such a high standard now and eLearning opens its ever growing arms to animation and relishes in its successes.
However, animation can be easily debated as being distracting, and rightly so. Sometimes it’s just not needed that a sentence wobbles on the screen. The trick to using animation in eLearning is knowing that sometimes less is more. Animation is, as said before, an effective tool when used correctly. It can portray a concept that simply words just can’t, it can make a difficult idea relatable and can make a boring idea more interesting.
When using animation in eLearning it is crucial that the reason you are choosing to use animation is clear, if you are just adding it for the sake of wanting to get your money’s worth from the software or because you’re like a kid in a candy shop with the swivel tool, then it will most likely be annoying, distracting and seem immature for the learner. However if your using animation to shoot quick fire ideas at the learner, or to help break down a lot of text then you’re onto a good thing. Equally if you have a difficult idea that you need to portray, using scenario animation can be so effective to help the viewer understand the process you are trying to explain. Much like the math’s questions in school that use a scenario to help the student work out the answer by counting money in a shop for example, it makes the information relatable. And storytelling has been a mechanism used since the beginning of human life to communicate an idea, therefore done correctly it is a key element to a successful eLearning course.
As well as understanding what you want your animation to achieve, it is just as important to know your target audience. Is the animation going to be viewed by builders or school children, colleagues or clients? Knowing your target audience is pivotal when getting it right, you want the learner to take the scenario/ animation seriously. You want them to engage with what is happening on screen and what works for school children, perhaps won’t be the right choice for builders.
There is no question about the engagement improvement that animation can have on an eLearning course when used effectively, however it’s important to be mindful of when animation, whether it be bullet points flying around or a full animated scenario played out, is appropriate and necessary. Animation is fun and really can bring a course to life! Use it effectively and it will be your most powerful tool.