The world of animations has never failed to amaze us. The beautiful animations that are seen and experienced on your desktop, smartphones etc can definitely bring a smile on our face. In fact, animations are now not only being used for entertainment but have made significant headways into learning- the world of e-learning animations. The engagement delivered through animations, have made them a favorite corporate learning strategy and the e-learning animations are now an integral part of every corporate training strategy.
But how to create e-learning animations, that resonate with learners and achieve the learning objectives? Let’s understand the step by step process of developing or creating e-learning animations. I feel the process of developing e-learning animations is similar to the e-learning courses and can be mapped on to the ADDIE model.
This stage includes-need analysis, audience analysis, and content analysis.
1.1 Conduct a need analysis
I am intentionally skipping this stage as I presume that the need analysis is already completed and it’s decided to implement e-learning animations as the learning strategy.
1.2 Understand/ Analyse the audience
E-learning animations are developed according to the requirements and objectives as laid out by the client alone (which is usually comprised of people from L&D etc.)
But are these requirements matching the ones of the learners?
Has the organization conducted an analysis to identify the learner preference, requirements and the learning gap?
There can be many such questions which if remains to be unanswered can lead to failure in achieving the objectives. Hence I recommend conducting a detailed analysis to study the target audience and ask specific questions like
•Who is your primary audience?
•What are the audience demographics?
•What is the average age of the learners?
•What is their existing Knowledge & Experience about the topic?
•What motivates the learners?
•Evaluate the existing technology and check the feasibility
•What are the options for technical support
What are the benefits and advantages derived from implementing the training initiative ? (consider both quantifiable and qualitative benefits). This is a handpicked list of questions that can be asked to the client before proceeding to the next stage.
1.3 Analysing the learning content
After the completion of the above process, the learning content must be analyzed. for e-learning animations, it becomes very important to ensure that the content is not long. Hence, the designer should implement chunking down of the learning content so it becomes easily digestible for the learners. The process of analyzing the content becomes little difficult when the organization wants to animate a complex learning topic as he/she needs to ensure that no relevant topics are missed.
After understanding the target audience and identifying the learning objectives, we are good to start the stage of designing the e-learning animations. The design phase of e-learning animations include both instructional design and visual design
2.1 The instructional design phase includes
Analysing the content and storyboarding of the animated e-learning
What is storyboarding in e-learning animations?
Storyboarding is the pre-visualisation sketch of the actions that require to appear on the animated e-learning. It shows the building blocks of the animation and how it should appear on the screen. There are different formats for developing a storyboard. For example, the organization can draw the actions inside the frames translating the script into a combination of text, graphics, and relevant information
After the completion of the storyboard process, make sure to get it approved by the client. Once the approval is received, the Graphics team has the work in hand to develop and deliver the graphics elements(characters, typography, background etc) to be integrated into the animated e-learning (It should be done according to the approved storyboard). This process is called an illustration.
2.2 Visual design comprises of the following :
Choosing the right multimedia according to the storyboard and relevance of the learning topic.
Choosing the appropriate animation style.
Finally, we have arrived at the stage to bring the graphics assets to life. Before starting the development process, ensure that the chosen development tool has the required features and capability to bring the desired output.
While developing the animated e-learning, the animator carefully follows the instructions in the storyboard to create an amazing animated e-learning.
The animator sometimes chooses to include music and sound effects to enhance some animations and to reinforce the learning. Ensure that the chosen sound effects don’t distract the learner.
The animations are exported based on your technical requirements or formats. Before delivering the final file, I recommend taking the time to test the animated e-learning. Ensure that it’s playable across the different digital devices and platforms like PC, Laptops, smartphones etc. Once you successfully complete testing of the final output file, I recommend to share it with the client.
Once the animated e-learning is shared and implemented, it becomes very important to evaluate it in terms of the effectiveness in achieving the learning objectives. Hence I recommend to take the proper feedback from the learners and identify the shortcoming if any. The organization can use popular online survey tools like Survey Monkey, Google Docs etc. These applications allow you to easily create a survey and share it with the target learners to know their feedback.
Here are some questions that you can ask your learners to evaluate the effectiveness of the e-learning animations
1. Did you like the training or animated e-learning (ask to rate on a scale)
2. Were the learning objectives met?
3. What topics should be added or omitted?
4. Rate your level of confidence with the new skills acquired
5. Identify a specific work situation where you will apply what you’ve learned
At times we have experienced that the learners just considering this as a simple exercise and puts a tick mark and complete the process. After completing the course, the learners start to feel that they have done what is required. This can result in obtaining only false or not so genuine information or feedback. In such cases, the organization can take the feedback anonymously.
If you are looking for a structured evaluation, I recommend considering the evaluation strategy developed by Kirkpatrick (1983). He highlighted the need to consider the evaluation at four different levels as follows.
(a)Level 1- Reactions: what are the feelings and reactions of the learner to the course or program? To what extent is the learner satisfied
(b)Level 2- Learning: to what extent did skill and information transfer occur during the course? Are there signs of attitude change, where this is relevant to the learning?
(c)Level 3- Behaviour: is the learner demonstrating changed behavior in the skill areas covered by the course, and is there evidence at a later date of transfer to the workplace of these?
(d) Level 4- Outcomes: to what degree has the organisation been positively affected by the learners’ application of the training knowledge and Skills
These are the 5 effective steps or process to follow while creating animations for e-learning. I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Feel free to use the comment box or write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org