Animation is a powerful tool used in just about every industry on the planet. What is this crazy, powerful thing called animation you ask? Generally, animation is defined as a sequence of drawings or graphics that when presented in succession create the illusion of motion. It’s an entertaining, informative and educational method to convey information which, when done well, keeps your audience engaged.
In the learning and development world, animation needs to deliver information as efficiently and effectively as possible to ensure the audience retains the content. But as with most things there are some pitfalls to avoid and some best practices to keep in mind – here are a few we suggest following when considering animation for your next project.
1. Do you need animation?
There are some key questions you should ask before deciding to move forward with the animation process:
- Do you have a concept or theme that the animation will follow, such as an analogy or a specific look that you want to use to tell the story? Is this theme relatable to the audience? You need to have a clear concept so the information conveyed will be remembered by the audience.
- Are you finding you need a lot of words in order to clearly explain the concept? Animation is about the visual experience you provide – if you’re finding you need a lot of words in order to drive the concept home, animation may not be the best solution.
- Do you have the resources available for animation? Animation can be a costly venture when proper planning has not been applied. Know your budget and the original goal for the training and this will support you in determining if animation is the right idea.
2. Be Concise; Don't Confuse
A good rule of thumb for animation—especially in eLearning—would be to keep your animation between 30 seconds and 2 minutes long. This will give you enough time to be memorable but also convey the information efficiently and keep the program moving along.
3. Tell a Story; Don't Be Boring
Your animation should be entertaining – it should tell a story. And with any story, you’re going to need a script.
You should approach your animation as if you were writing a television show. Think in terms of beginning, middle, and end; or the first act, second act, and third act. Remember to make characters and give them names. And it doesn't hurt to be funny too. Throw in a joke or two.
4. Stay on Target; Don't Ramble
Remember to stay focused on your concept and be concise. Don't ramble on about semi-related concepts or subjects that you think your audience might want to know about but aren't really necessary.
Giving them one concept to hang on to is enough. Giving them two concepts may only confuse them.
5. Be Open Minded; Don't Get Stuck
Animation, just like any other creative pursuit, is a collaborative process. Part of that process is listening to the ideas that are brought to the table.
Get in front of your animators, production designers, etc. and listen to other opinions – they have a lot of experience you can leverage. Sometimes a great idea can be even better with some slight tweaking, so reach out to your team to help see all the possibilities.
When used correctly, animation is a powerful tool to help your learning and development audience retain content. Use these steps as a roadmap to determine if animation is right for your project. If so, it will help you change the engagement of your audience in a memorable way.
Ready to start using animation to wow your learners? Do you still have some questions about where to start? Our Media Services team is happy to support you whether you need a script, supporting graphics, or animation services... Or just someone to brainstorm with!