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In 2019 the online learning industry was valued at roughly $100 billion. The disruption of COVID-19 drove offline learners even further into the online space. Now, the online learning industry is projected to be worth more than $375 billion by 2026. Animated educational videos are a great vehicle for reaching this ever-expanding audience.

Animated videos are a versatile form of content, capable of adapting to virtually any audience, brand, or topic. But that only scratches the surface of animated content:

  • Animated educational videos are easy to update. Updating a live-action video entails costly reshoots, hiring actors (again), and possibly even travel expenses. You can easily update animation by adding a new voiceover and changing text or graphics to accommodate new information.
  • Abstract ideas are easier to convey with animation. Some concepts, like interstellar travel between stars, are difficult to convey with live-action video. Animation makes it possible to illustrate and convey even the most abstract, otherworldly ideas.
  • Animated educational videos are easier to replicate. Your company and audience will grow. When growth happens, you’ll need to rise to the occasion with more content. Animated videos are easy to create with templates, making it possible to replicate your success and scale with less effort.
  • Animated educational videos are easier to brand than live ones. You can easily add branded colors throughout your animation. If you’re using live-action stock footage, you’re stuck using whatever’s in front of you. Even a templated animation can be customized to match your branded colors with a few clicks.

Platforms like Vyond make animation possible for virtually anyone, so you can quickly create fun, powerful, educational videos that inform your audience. The following tips will help you stay on course when planning and creating your first animated educational video, and every video that follows.

Create a concept

Every animated educational video starts with a concept. But before you begin conceptualizing, you need to see what type of content already exists around this particular topic.

Perform Google searches on your topic, and take a look at what’s ranking on page one. Are any of the top results a video? Or are you faced with numerous in-depth guides spanning thousands and thousands of words?

If you notice every result is incredibly in-depth, a video alone may not cut it for this topic. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use video to supplement written or interactive courses.

Let’s say you want to give an overview of how to create modern digital content. This is a nuanced subject that goes well beyond the scope of a single animation, but you could create a multi-part course on content that features animated videos covering modern content design best practices.

With your preliminary research complete, you can then decide on the granular details: voice actor or no voice actor, types of characters required, additional videos required to cover the topic, supplemental course materials or articles, and so on.

Create a script

Every video needs a script, no matter how long it is or what topic it’s covering. A script ensures that your video has structure, that the message is clear, and that it gives you a chance to test the messaging before investing time and money in animation.

A script might sound daunting at first, but, fortunately, there are common elements in every great script: a call to action, memorable characters, and a coherent structure. Take your time drafting your script, keep your audience in mind the entire time, and try to avoid making these scriptwriting mistakes.

Develop a storyboard

The script gives your animation the language, but the storyboard gives it structure. Use the storyboard to outline each scene—what action will take place, what characters are necessary, what setting will be used, and so on.

Example of the layout of a storyboard for animated educational videos.

Ultimately, your storyboard will save you time during production. It’s easier to change a storyboard, as opposed to altering an entire animation after realizing there’s an issue.

Follow storyboarding best practices, keep the project’s scope in mind, and refer to your script when in doubt. You can also save substantial time by using a storyboard template.

Choose your animation platform

With your script and storyboard complete, you’re ready to animate. But you’ll need an animation platform or tool to make animation feasible. The right platform makes it possible for anyone to create animation in a cost-effective and timely manner.

Research animation platforms, and look for one with great customer reviews, an intuitive interface, in-depth support, and easy scalability. Animation platforms have different strengths that set them apart, with some prioritizing three-dimensional or lifelike visuals over usability.

Keep your audience and niche in mind when looking at platforms. Different niches latch on to different types of animation, and not every platform offers the same styles. For example, more realistic animation is likely to be a better fit for those teaching astrophysics, while two-dimensional cartoons are great for general use.

You’ll also want an animation platform that’s compatible with a number of learning management systems (LMS). An LMS allows you to host your eLearning content, track participant performance, and essentially determine whether or not your content is working as intended.

Vyond is a great example of this. Our animation platform is intuitive, is backed by solid customer support, and is easy to import to most major LMS platforms!

Create your animation

Your script, storyboard, and platform choice have all led to this moment; it’s time to create your animation. There are a few quick tips to get you started on the right foot when animating:

  • Make your characters early on, because they’ll likely appear in numerous scenes. Making them early saves you time down the road and lessens the likelihood that you’ll want to change something about them in the middle of production.
  • Review scenes and dialogue as you record and create them. There are few feelings worse than finalizing your animation and realizing the voiceover is poorly recorded or that certain animations don’t play as you’d imagined. Test every scene and dialogue snippet until you’re happy with them, and then move on.
  • Utilize any available templates when making your animation; doing so will save a substantial amount of time while ensuring that the final product looks professional. Keep in mind that templates can easily be converted to fit your subject. Our Juneteenth template is great for celebrating any historical day, while our HBCU video acts as a great template for any explainer video.
  • Learn best practices around digital educational videos and the creative process to lay a foundation for your animation.

The above tips will help you start strong with your animation and avoid some time-consuming mistakes. Most importantly, have fun while making your animation. We’re fortunate that animation tools are more accessible than ever, and that’s something to be excited about!

Test your animated educational videos with audiences

Your animation may seem ready, but there’s one more important step to take before attaching it to a course or loading it into your LMS: running your animation by a test audience and gather feedback. Gathering feedback early on allows you to make your video as pitch-perfect as possible before it’s seen by the masses (where it can do more damage to your brand).

If you have coworkers who haven’t seen the animation yet, run it by them. Then, branch out and consider selecting a random group of students and having them watch it.

Once you’ve gathered feedback, take stock, and implement any commonly requested changes. Once your video is live, use your LMS to track the course’s performance. If you notice the course-completion rate isn’t where you want it, or that it’s steadily falling, further refine your animation and course materials.

10 examples of animated educational videos

Not sure where to start? Consider these 10 videos to see the vast capabilities and reach of animated educational videos and find ideas for your own.

University of Utah

The Behavior Response Support Team (BRST), a department at the University of Utah, is no stranger to helping people live better lives. In the wake of COVID-19, BRST decided to step slightly outside of their usual psychological studies and used animated educational videos to help parents adapt to the world of COVID-19 and home learning. These videos walked parents through elements of teaching at home but also offered information on tangential subjects, like stress management.

Takeaway: Educational videos are useful for far more than covering your core subject. The University of Utah saw an opportunity to help their core audience improve their lives by covering tangential subjects and amassed hundreds of views on each video as a result.

University of California

Paperwork is hard to avoid in many jobs, especially in the field of education. The University of California recognized this and used animated video to help their staff submit documents and navigate necessary processes.

The University of California could have accomplished their goal by screen-sharing countless times and training groups of employees, a task that likely would have eaten up hours and hours of collective time. Instead, they created a more efficient training resource that their staff can watch again and again.

Takeaway: Think about tasks that require repeated training, or one-off tasks that employees are likely to forget in between completion. Then, create quick animations to fill in those knowledge gaps and save your team the time and hassle of hosting live training.

Matt Moran

Matt Moran, a professional public speaker, uses animation to teach viewers about public speaking and numerous facets of business life.

Moran’s videos are especially helpful because public speaking is difficult to teach via written text, requiring the presence of audio and facial cues.

Takeaway: Some topics lend themselves to video. If you’re unsure about whether you need an animated video to teach a subject, think about how essential visuals are when learning the subject.

Mike Morrison

One university student and UX enthusiast reinvented medical posters and used animation to get his ideas across.

Mike Morrison had the colossal task of reinventing posters. A straightforward animation would have likely gotten some information across, but a mixed-media approach was needed. So Mike included examples of posters within the animation.

Takeaway: Don’t hesitate to include other types of content with your animation; doing so can lead to an engaging, dynamic viewing experience.

City of Calgary

The City of Calgary saw an opportunity to better serve the citizens of Calgary through video. For example, the city helped their citizens access their new digital portal by educating them with an animated video.

The City of Calgary could have sent out fliers on the new portal. But unless the city could post flyers in every area of the city, this method likely would have had minimal reach. By creating educational videos, the City of Calgary now had a way to quickly share information on social media, with their email list (including those paying utilities online), and from their city website.

Takeaway: Think about where your audience is. The City of Calgary branched out of their usual distribution methods to meet their audience online across numerous channels. Is your audience regularly posting in a particular forum? Do they frequent one social media platform more than another? These elements can help shape the type of video you make and where you share it.

North West Boroughs Healthcare

The North West Boroughs Healthcare system of Winwick, UK, used animation to help citizens beat loneliness during the cool and isolating winter months. The video received thousands of views, so it likely had a positive impact on many people’s lives.

Takeaway: Even when it’s not necessary, an animated video can offer a quick, engaging way to improve the lives of others and get some quality brand exposure out of it. The North West Boroughs Healthcare system could have addressed loneliness with a flyer or even a live-action video but instead used animation to bring readers a personal and warm bit of advice. Think about the problem you’re solving (like helping people beat loneliness) and how animation can best be applied.

Vodafone

Vodafone, the international telecommunications company, pulled off the unthinkable — creating training for a globally distributed staff of more than 100,000 employees on 100+ pages of information in only two months. This colossal task was made possible by using animation, along with a custom character that still educates Vodafone workers to this day.

 

Takeaway: Vodafone still uses HANA, a character they initially created for their training. If you create a character that turns out to be a hit, run with it. There’s no sense in stopping a good thing!

PDT Global

PDT Global, an international diversity and inclusion training consultancy, uses animation to train their clients. By switching to animation, PDT saved $20,000 per video when compared to their live-action costs.

Takeaway: If you’re concerned about the cost of embarking on animation, compare the budget to live educational video expenses. There’s a good chance you’ll come out ahead.

Wrike

This project management software company uses animation to create educational videos for their entire user base. They goes a step further and turns many of their animations into interactive story pieces and games, getting the audience even more involved.

A thumbnail from Wrike's interactive animated educational videos.

Contrary to popular belief, animation saves time, too. They released one of their most complex courses in record time while using Vyond to animate. Vyond’s platform made animation a breeze, allowing them to quickly bring their ideas to life. Previously they’d have been stuck writing courses and creating visuals manually (or using stock images).

Takeaway: Wrike’s in-depth courses took a substantial amount of time to make before they utilized animation. With their business growing rapidly, they realized the right animation platform allowed them to make better courses, and to do it faster. If you’re spending time manually creating images, consider replacing them with animation; you just might save time in the end.

Rued Riis

Rued Riis, a marketer turned eLearning professional, makes animated courses using Vyond. Rued’s courses help business owners more effectively market their companies, a venture that’s turned into a full-time career for Rued.

Takeaway: Even if you’re not an educator by trade, your knowledge can easily transform into money-making video content.

Quickly create animated educational videos with Vyond

From healthcare networks to local governments to marketers-turned-educators, educational animated videos are arguably one of the most versatile content formats available. And with Vyond, a leading animation platform, you can quickly make animated videos with professionally designed characters, sets, and props.

Any one of Vyond’s hundreds of templates is easy to customize, too, allowing you to quickly create high-quality educational content. See for yourself with our 14-day trial, and begin educating your audience today.

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