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Ready to create animated microlearning videos?
Microlearning has powerful applications in today’s fast-paced workforce, providing employees with a flexible and accessible way to learn new information at their own pace. (Read more about microlearning’s benefits for employees)
Videos are particularly effective channels for microlearning. Video engages a viewer on multiple levels and in doing so can increase knowledge retention.
If you’re ready to take the plunge and create microlearning videos for your company, start by crafting a plan. Check out our articles on getting started, scripting, and creating a storyboard for your video. There are a few best practices that apply to every animated video, whether you’re hiring an outside studio or using a tool like GoAnimate.
One of the best parts about animation is all the bells and whistles you can add in, at little to no additional cost. In GoAnimate, you can introduce new characters, props, and settings with a click of the mouse. You can add audio narration or background music or visual on-screen text.
But remember that learners can only process a certain amount of information at a given time. Richard Mayer’s Coherence Principle holds that “people learn better when extraneous words, pictures, and sounds are excluded rather than included.”
GoAnimate pro, Keith Anderson, who previously managed eLearning at Orchard Supply Hardware (check out some of the company’s animated microlearning videos here) and now works at Sears Home Services says, “the human brain filters out 90% of what you’re watching. Only put things on the screen that are relevant.” For example, Anderson makes sure that his videos have a consistent template (primarily whiteboard-based, with some colorful add-ins from GoAnimate’s Business Friendly animation style, and that his slides always move in the same direction to minimize distractions.
For more on effective visual instruction, watch this video by Michael Zielinskie, National Learning Specialist at Advanced Behavioral Health. And read more here.
Again, less is more! It can be tempting to try to emphasize your main points with on-screen text in addition to graphics and spoken narration. However, Mayer’s Redundancy Principle says that combining graphics, narration, and on-screen text is actually less effective than just including graphics and audio narration.
“The flow of language is important, too,” says Anderson. “Humans typically process up to 150 words per minute, so we try to limit our videos to that amount of narration.”
“Every video we make starts exactly the same way,” says Anderson. “Having the same introduction signals the viewer that it’s time to enter ‘learning mode.’ It’s like the opening sequence to a TV show.”
According to Mayer, signaling — i.e., providing viewers with cues as to how the information in your video is organized — can lead to a more meaningful learning experience. In addition to consistent intros, signals like headings, vocal emphasis on keywords, and nonverbal character actions can help encourage learners direct their attention to the most important parts of your video, and better follow the logic of the lesson.
High quality audio and clear vocals will make a big difference in your final product. If you’re on a tight budget or just getting started, GoAnimate provides free text-to-speech capabilities in 58 languages and counting. However, a friendly, human voice will more effectively engage viewers.
There are plenty of services that make it easy to hire a professional voice artist to record your voice-over. VoiceBunny, Voice Archive, and Voice123 are a few options. Or, if you have access to a USB mic with a pop filter, record someone from your team using a with an audio program like Audacity or GarageBand.
Read about finding the right voice-over talent for your video from voice-over artist, Laura Schreiber.
Whether you plan to hire a professional or record on your own, do so towards the end of your project to avoid having to re-record when you inevitably make changes to your script. We recommend using GoAnimate’s text-to-speech feature as a placeholder until you’re ready to record. Then make final timing adjustments to your video once the voice-over is in place.
Don’t forget about music and sound effects either. Just like in the movies, sound can add mood and atmosphere to your animated microlearning videos. GoAnimate offers royalty-free music and sound effect to accompany any narrative. You can also purchase and upload specialized music and effects into GoAnimate to create an even richer viewing experience.
One of the best parts about creating animated videos is the low barrier to entry. Sure, you’ll hone your style and perfect your execution as you gain more experience, but even a newbie can create effective animated microlearning videos in GoAnimate. Try it out with our 14 day free trial. For guidance once you’ve started, attend one of our weekly webinars. If you’re already using GoAnimate, and looking to take things to the next level, watch one of our more advanced on-demand webinars.
Once you have a plan in place, the next step is to actually create your video. Many organizations turn to animation to create multiple or one-off videos. Animation is a rich, engaging, and cost-effective medium that offers all the benefits of traditional video — with far fewer resource requirements.
Animated video isn’t just for kids either, says Karen Kostrinsky, eLearning Developer at mortgage lender Ellie Mae. “Some people think animated videos are childish. They can be, but they don’t have to be.” Kostrinsky, who uses GoAnimate to create her animated videos, does sometimes use “fun” themes — think superheroes, zombies, and country western — for internal meetings, but more often she tends to create realistic characters in office settings. “My people look like people… I like that they look current. It’s still fun, but professional.”
Watch an excerpt from one of Karen’s animated microlearning videos:
Don’t miss the previous articles in this series:
GoAnimate is a cloud-based animated video creation platform. With GoAnimate you can create animated videos for your business using thousands of props, assets, and characters, representing hundreds of industries. Create professional videos with simple drag-and-drop tools for a low subscription cost. Start a 14-day free trial.