Educational Videos: Animation or Live action?

Jul 19, 2017 | animation types, Blog, e-learning, educational animations | 0 comments

The development of MOOCs results in the rising number of educational videos. Animation and live-action, either have great advantages in bringing new entertaining experiences to learners and providing them the so-called freely revision ability. Both are good but the question is how to choose?


Animation is sure the attention grabber. 

Who loves the sweet combination of high visual and catchy audio? I tell you, everyone.

Kids love animation: the color, the movement, the soundtrack and the story behind also. Animation does much better job in presenting the kids themselves than live-action. This allows them to learn things from their own perspectives, encourages their creativity and critical thinking also.

But… what?

Adults adore animation too! Animation can present well the grown-up perspectives. No matter what you do and what your project’s purpose is, there is always a suitable style in animations for you. You will be surprised at animation diversity. We have animated corporate videos for employee training or explainer videos – a fine tool for marketing, then animated learning videos – videos specializing for education. With various styles like hand-drawn, white-board and vector-based, these kind of educational videos are more academic but still remain the fun element.

What’s about live-action?

Yes, after a long talk and full-of-text presentation, you could live up the atmosphere and show your students a live-action video. The potential of educational videos is unlimited, you can show them whatever concerned in your subject. Just like animation, students would love to watch videos to take a break from a stressful lesson but still learn fun and useful knowledge for academic purpose.

Learning should be fun.

It should be academic and fun. The addition of educational videos, in both animation and live-action forms, to your lesson plans, would keep students entertained and relaxed, then boosts their engagement and concentration.


According to Forrester Research, one-minute video equates to 1.8 written words. However, each kind of videos, animation or live-action, has their own advantages in different areas of education.

Animation is way better in presenting abstract and complicated ideas.

The story-telling ability of animation is beyond live-action. Something like “How the brain cells regenerate” or “how the tornado forms” would be impossible for live-action but easily explained by animations. Moreover, animation is simple and stylized, it visualizes and simplifies any subjects no matter how complicated it could be. Lots of educators reach to animation as a helpful tool to transfer their knowledge to students.

However, live-action brings a more realistic aspect to your lesson.

Live-action expresses expressions more naturally than animation, that’s why personal story is often in this type of video. Live-action shows real people in real world, so it’s more suitable to subjects that require more real life details. Let’s take safety training video in an earthquake for example. Animation could explain well what to do in such scenario, however, to help people have a more detailed vision of what they might be facing, live-action is used.


The cost may vary depending on the quality of both animation and live-action. Many think that producing animation is time and cost consuming, however, it’s not that expensive. Animation is, in fact, affordable since it’s easily edited. Editing live-action video is trickier since you have to hire the location, the actors, and the equipment again. That’s just the editing, depending on the video quality, producing live-action could be much cost consuming.

However, live-action video could be cheap also.

Self-recorded video is rising in number nowadays. Educators just have to stand in front of a camera and do what always do: teach. However, this type of educational videos, which often appears in online course, could be boring! Students will quickly get bored of a teacher talking for hours on the screen. That’s when we need an addition of animation. The combination of self-recorded videos and animation could result in great learning outcomes and students’ engagement.

Wait… Animation could be affordable too!

Cartoon network style is, of course, more expensive but we could have something simpler but still appearing like this. Check out the price here.


It depends on what you need. When it comes to time and cost, no method is better than the other. There are many factors affecting your decision. Before jumping to any conclusions, let’s ask yourself:

  • What type of subject are you teaching?
  • How complex could it be?
  • What message do you want to give your students?
  • How do you want to approach them?

Or, you could have both.

> Tips to combine animated and self-recorded videos in online courses

Contact us for free consultation on how to create effective animations for education

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