Pros and Cons of Animated Educational Videos in eLearning
So are you considering adding animated educational videos in your courses?
Animations, if done right, could bring great advantages to your online training. They excel in presenting complex or abstract concepts of the subjects. Their visual powers also help educators enhance the motivation of students and arouse attention to additional details in the learning materials. There is a wide range of subjects’ area that animated educational videos could be applied to. Science, medication, and corporate training are some of the best application of animations in the eLearning world. Although this type of materials still has disadvantages regarding technical and budget issues, they are effective learning resources if you know how to work with them.
What are educational animations?
Something needs clarifying here. Animations mentioned in this post is nothing like twirling bullets or fancy transitions in your instructional slides. They are animated videos that play as visual supporting tools for your courses. They visualize the textual materials and help learners understand complicated or abstract concepts better.
For example of the educational animation application, check out this article:
The pros of animated educational videos
1. Visualize subjects for better understanding
Animations easily visualize and simplify anything no matter how complex it is. One minute of online video equates to about 1.8 million written words, according to Forrester Research. And 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visual are processed 60,000 times faster than text in the brain.
Visualization is the best feature of animated learning videos for instructional designers and lecturers. If your course is about science or any difficult subjects that may need more than a plain explanation to help students understand some matters, then you need educational animations. They convert the complex information to illustrations, then animate those images to describe a process.
This is an example from Aviassist’ Drone Training Course. The animation explains the sophisticated mechanical system of a drone, or put it simply, describes how it flies. So if we replace the animated educational videos with documents, presentation slides, or illustrations, the lessons still convey the same amount of information. But students would have a harder time understanding the process.
2. Make learning faster
Animations are time-consuming to produce but the results worth it. The students would have a hard time understanding a concept when the topic involves too much of mathematics or imagination. Then the animated learning videos save time by giving the images right away. Hence learners would understand the lessons faster, and there is a high likeliness they will recall the information better.
Take a look at this simple example:
Image source: Uberflip Blog
3. Improve engagement
Education is not only about teaching but also about inspiring people. Unless e-learners have the personal interest in the topics before, it is challenging for educators to motivate students with only talk and full of text presentations only. When it comes to complicated subjects like math or sciences, the matter becomes worse.
We all know how an animation lives up the room. Animations with high visual and audio create such an entertaining atmosphere that learners feel more motivated. Animations relieve their stress and keep them concentrated throughout the class.
4. Motivate students to learn more
When a student watches entertaining animated videos, there is a high chance that he may replay it. By watching an educational video over and over again, what he gains is not only the academic knowledge but also the discipline and skills of self-learning.
Then is self-learning that important?
Yes, it is. It’s not the matter of WHAT they learn but HOW they learn. Self-learning lets students explore different aspects of a problem and figure out by themselves how to solve it. During such process, students gain a set of skills in critical thinking and problem-solving.
The cons of animated educational animations
1. Distract students from learning
Animations or any types of “fun” learning materials could distract students from every learning. The main source of distraction may come from the lack of purposes in the videos. So beautiful design is not enough for effective educational animations. You need to be well aware of what learning objectives the videos are serving. Any elements of the videos must contribute some values to the course.
For example, you create a leadership course for corporate training. The tone of the video should be professional and funny, but not that kind of fun a 4-year-old prefers. The characters should resemble the corporate employees to create a sense of familiarity. And the plot should take real-life scenarios for references other than a “funny” story about how to travel around the Earth!
Yes, the ugly truth. Customized animations are not something you could download for free on the Internet. Tailor-made products are created to follow closely not only your learning objectives but also your branding guideline. The price ranges may differ for different studios from different countries, but a simple 5 minutes animation is hardly lower than $1000. Not to mention that educational animations often come as a series, which means the total length could be up to several hours. As a result, the prices multiply.
However, there are much affordable animation options. Software like Vyond (GoAnimate) or VideoScribe offers educators easy access to animations with just about $40 subscription fee a month. These applications already set up a massive library of animation assets including characters, backgrounds, and objects so anyone can animate! Their only disadvantage is the lack of specialized details. For example, you build a medical course about the symptoms of cancers. What above software can do is to animate a conversation between a doctor and a patient. However, if you want to go into the details of how the symptoms look like, then you should use tailor-made products. Everything comes with a price!
3. Take up a lot of bandwidth
The sad side of animations is that they are slow to load. They could take up lots of bandwidth due to the large file size. Video streaming platforms may help with the loading speed problem, but students still need to be equipped with a decent Internet connection. Believe it or not, a loading screen is more distracting than a poor quality animation. It is a common problem of video; the higher definition also means the slower loading.
4. Not that beginner-friendly
There are beginner-friendly ways to produce animated educational videos. The most obvious way is to use mentioned above software that just needs simple drag-and-drop actions to create a decent video. They work. The problem is they provide little branding benefits, and they are applicable only to general topics. So unless you have proper training in animating, you would find it hard to create an animation yourself. You can work on the early production process including scripting and storyboarding, but illustrating and animating is challenging work even for professionals.
Animated educational videos and everything else of the course need a lot of thoughtful consideration to produce the most values to students. They engage, motivate, and help students with better learning outcomes. They have drawbacks, but with thoughtful instructional design, you could improve animations to better fit your students.
Contact us for free consultation on how to create effective animations for education
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