France’s legendary general and ruler Napoleon said that “imagination rules the world”, and although he probably didn’t have moving pictures in mind, his words apply nonetheless to this medium of presentation. The roots of visual storytelling through movements dates back to the 17th century, when people used shadows and lights as their tools. Hundreds of years later, we use our imagination to draw out stories on computers. The fact that this form of transmitting information persisted throughout history really shows that we see and appreciate the power of animation.
Why is this the case? Animation embodies what Napoleon said — that creativity and imagination will always prevail. Discover the power of animation by looking at these 15 facts, ranging from what animation can be used for, to how it can make us feel!
1. A visualization tool
Some things that you learn and hear about are just abstract. Take something as simple as mathematics, for instance. All the numbers and symbols used are actually abstract — the symbol “1” only means one because we decided so! While this is something that adults take for granted, all you have to do is think about how children are taught math to see how visualization plays a role in making abstract ideas understandable.
In children’s math books, there are a lot of illustrations to show what symbols mean. They teach children through images of oranges or candies — tangible things. Similarly, animation videos can do the same things. Animation’s probably even better, since it also shows the processes, such as in the example below.
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>> Applications of animation in primary education
2. Ensures accuracy
While this depends a lot on the animating process, it is true that animation can be very accurate when it comes to portrayal of natural phenomenon. It’s often mistakenly thought that animation is only for imaginary things (like fairies and futuristic robots). But if you look at science animations such as this one on sediments, you’ll see that the possibility of showing details make this medium very useful in realistically demonstrating processes.
3. Good for summarizing
Usually videos are around 2 to 5 minutes long, because people are not inclined to stay and watch a video for a long time. This means that most video contents are supposed to be condensed. This alone makes videos a good way to sum up information.
But videos can be animated or made up of real footage. What makes the former even better for summarizing is the fact that you can easily switch from images to texts, from examples to conclusions about them using animation.
4. The power to impress
Another thing that’s unique to animation is its ability to impress through the use of amazing visuals. Different from real-life footage, animators can create amazing designs that are more unique and memorable. For instance, the vibrant colors and fun-looking bacterias in this video are entertaining to watch and leaves a strong impression in watchers’ minds. Note that despite this creativity, the video is still informative and the knowledge that it shares is still accurate.
5. Combining different kinds of information
A book can only give you verbal information, along with limited visual demonstrations. An audio recording can only give you spoken words and maybe some music. An animation video can combine all these elements — moving visuals, simplified texts, and sound effects to create a well-rounded and attractive learning experience.
More than just being captivating, an animation video is helpful because of its ability to cater to all kinds of learners. Most people are visual learners — roughly half of the population learn through images and not reading words — but there are also many who learn through hearing things, or reading things. To not exclude anyone, it’s probably best to use a video, and better yet an animated one.
6. Animation is dynamic
Some may argue that if you want to illustrate something, using images should provide enough visualization and accuracy. Along with texts, textbooks should be able to deliver to you what you need. But this argument ignores the fact that the movements of a video can do a lot. Movements can explain things without using words. Moreover, motions suggest a high level of energy, and this can transmit onto the watchers, encourage them to actively take in the information they’re seeing.
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7. Realizing the impossible
Perhaps most obviously, the power of animation lies in its ability to let us see something we would not be able to see otherwise. How can you observe how a volcano works? How can you show the way molecules move? Even if you have a microscope, you cannot go to the scale where you can see profile and neutrons.
Luckily, animation gives you a way to do see all this — all the things you can never see with the naked eye.
8. Cheaper and faster production
Another benefit of animation is that it’s far cheaper than a lot of other methods, especially when it comes to presenting scientific information. If you were to try and record some microscopic observation, first, you’d have to have the microscope. Then you’ll need a specific device that can record such footage. This will all be very costly, since these tools are highly professional — you probably will not have access to them.
On the other hand, if you consider animation, creating a 2D science animation is much simpler, cheaper, and more effective than the method discussed above. A 3D animation could work too, although the process will be more complicated and costly. Medical animation is the field proving it most clearly, get more insights through guide:
9. Evergreen content
Potentially, if the animation is well-made, it will be a resource that you can use again and again in later presentations or lessons. It saves you time from having to go over and explain basic concepts over and over. Moreover, this means that your students don’t have to rely on you for at least some of the basic concepts in the subject; they can just give these videos, which you can make available to all, a quick watch. In essence, this is the beauty of the digital age. You can build on to the massive store of knowledge that we have in a fun way!
10. Animation doesn’t have to be childish
Many think that this medium is only useful for attracting young learners, and if you’re one them, you should think again. The fact that there is an increasing number of adult cartoon TV shows nowadays proves that this genre of video has no age limit.
And while the show business saturates our thinking of animation with simply entertaining products, this fact about not being childish applies to more serious topic areas. Academic issues can be presented engagely through the use of animation. Educational and branding animation would be a prime example of this!
Check out how Spotify applied this!
11. The power to connect
Do you want to bring seemingly separate topics together in one presentation? Sometimes that’s what is required in a discipline such as science. For instance, the problem of permaculture, which is shown below, involves both physics (regarding temperatures and physical conditions) and chemistry (as the components of the materials breakdown and transform). What animation does is it brings these two topics together and shows how they relate to one another. In other words, it helps us make connections between our knowledge, which is not always obvious or easy.
12. It humanizes information
What we learn are often words and numbers — they are faceless and, some people may say, “senseless”. Thinking this way is not helpful on two levels — firstly, a lot of the things we learn are about very related things. Biology is largely about us as humans, while history is about people just like us, only in a different time. Still, the way that this knowledge is presented to us makes it seem rather irrelevant to ourselves.
Animation can remedy by figuratively adding human touches to these issues. We are rather emotional creatures and will respond with empathy to most things that we see. Providing humanized objects help targeting that sensitive part in us, and so is a good way to improve and inspire learning.
13. Flexible use
As you’ve perhaps noticed before, animation is not limited to any specific use. It’s usually known as a form of entertainment, but can also be used to do presentations, or to teach a range of subjects. Whether you want to teach science or math or even literature, you can find advantages to using this tool.
Take this TedEd video about a learning condition, dyslexia. Using animation, the educators use the visualization techniques for more scientific parts, and then use the storytelling technique to show the experience of dyslexic people. The combination of these uses in one video show that animation is not limited to any discipline in particular.
14. Animation can be interactive
Many online learning courses, such as Duolingo, use animation as they’re main method of delivery. While these are not long videos but small clips of characters moving or saying something, it helps bringing the learners into the program’s experience. More than just presenting information, animations can be designed to wait for responses from the viewer! This helps increase retention since it makes learning more proactive and fun!
15. It’s a powerful visual aid
Animation does have a lot of benefits, and can sometimes be used on its own. But if you still believe in the necessity of more traditional ways of explaining things — through texts and lectures — you’d still find some benefits to using animation and addition to these methods.
Adding a little clip every now and then helps make things clearer, change up the atmosphere a little, and help students revive their interest. Some may worry that animations will distract the student. If you keep it concise, well-written, and well-designed, then the students will only be more intrigued, not distracted. Even the younger and more active one will sit still for a moment to watch your visual aid!
There are so many benefits to animation that you can reap. Whenever you are in a position to choose what kind of presentation you want to give to an audience, especially one made up of learners, be sure to consider this medium. Let the power of animation aid you on your mission!
Are you curious about educational animation, how it’s made, and how much it costs? Have a look at the articles below to find the answers to these queries.