Animation is a powerful teaching material for online courses. However, using a random animated video doesn’t work. Poorly integrated sounds and animations could bring as a huge negative effect as the positive one created by videos with well-integrated features. Instructional designers and animation producers take various elements into consideration when creating an educational animated video. One among those key elements is the types of animation.
What are the best types of animation for your online courses?
There are various types of animation for educators to choose. The types that have been widely adopted for educational purposes are:
- 2D Cartoon Animation
- 3D Animation
- Motion graphics
- Infographic animation
- Typographic animation
- Stop-motion animation
In fact, each type has its own advantages and there is no particular one that is better than others. However, if you are lost in the animation diversity, this guide may help you.
Who are you teaching?
Let’s start with your audience’s insights. You should design your course based on the behaviors and needs of online learners. Who are they? Are they K-12 students? Are they corporate employee? Each type of learners has their own tastes in animated videos. By understanding their needs, you could create videos that not only attract their interest but also result in positive impression and learning outcomes.
Animations for children and adolescence, you must think of those on Cartoon Network. The idea is obviously fascinating considering how fun and beautiful it could be done. However, it might require a lot of time and effort as well as a stable fund to create such high quality. This is not impossible but it is unnecessary when you can produce motion graphics with same quality but less trouble. However, there are two lessons in relation to styles we could learn from 2D Cartoon:
- Vibrant color: Vibrant colors are more appealing and inspirational to school children. They release a happy vibe, making the lessons more fun and lively.
- Humorous character design: Just like Cartoon Network, we can feel the fun at first glance. The emotions or the body shapes alone attract their interest immediately without a single word.
So, what vital here is fun. Learning should be fun, and learning for children should be way more fun. The fun concept lies in not only the content, the script but also the style. The more you make it more lively and colorful, the more young students feel curious about the subject.
Suggestion: Motion graphics with eye-catching visuals and sounds.
Take a look at Bar Model:
Higher Education or Corporate Employees:
Courses for higher education or corporate training tend to be more academic. It is important to pick and highlight just the crucial points in the animated lessons. Despite this step, the lessons still convey a large number of knowledge in the form of charts and figures. Then the right type of videos for those courses should be fun to impress learners and informative enough to guarantee the course quality.
- More formal design: Contrary to the vibrant color of K-12 design, higher education and corporate training instructional designers often choose a more neutral scheme. Pastel and Pantone palettes are good examples. Those colors create a more formal and serious vibe.
- More text: Information could be conveyed by voice-over. Voice-over is highly recommended for educators to enhance the human connection and reduce the self-paced learning isolation of online learners. However, this doesn’t mean text should not be included. In fact, words make the lessons more easy-to-follow and help students identify the main points.
Suggestion: Motion graphics, Infographic Animation, and Typographic Animations.
Both infographic and typographic animations optimize the movements and arrangements of words and graphics to attract the audience. These two types of animation are best at presenting complicated information like charts or numbers. Motion graphics also could take care of this function beautifully with an addition of storytelling ability.
What are you teaching?
Subjects with facts, charts, and numbers
Animations play a crucial role in enhancing student’s learning experiences. Subjects like science require a great number of facts, charts, and figures. Consuming all information could be overwhelming to learners, leading to a loss in their interest and motivation. Educators need teaching materials like animations to explain the topics in a new fun and informative way.
Suggestion: Motion graphics, infographic animation, typographic animation and whiteboard animation.
All of above types do best in presenting complicated ideas with a variety of elements. However, white-board animation is an affordable choice. White-board animated video records an artist drawing on a whiteboard to present a topic or an idea. Moreover, it has both the power of storytelling and information conveying. However, to produce a proper white-board animated video, it requires more designing skill that you may want to seek for professionals.
Fine arts and music
Regarding subjects like fine arts or music, you want something with a more artistic vibe. All mentioned above types could indeed present the ideas well. You could teach music with white-board animation. However, traditional animation is best at inspiring learners.
Suggestion: Traditional animation.
Traditional animators illustrate the movement by a series of images drawn frame-by-frame. This type of videos requires the artists to master both skills in animating and drawing, which obviously requires lots of time and effort. However, it results in such a beautiful and inspirational animated video.
IT is a complicated field with high demand for concise details. Therefore, the best way to teach IT seems to be screen-cast animation, in which learners could observe and follow how things work exactly. However, it is not just as simple as recording the computer screen. There are various free tools to get such work done. To produce a motivated and inspirational for IT students, you may need to contact professionals. Animators could add graphics to the animated videos, making them more engaging and completed.
Suggestion: screen-cast animation
There is no particular rule identifying you should use what types of animation in online learning. Above suggestions give you an overall look on the advantages of video styles and how to apply those benefits to your course. Moreover, you could combine several styles at the same time to have the best of each.