Life by Design

Posts Tagged ‘animation in virtual learning


Animation in the classroom is becoming an increasingly popular trend in education with the advent of new software development that makes the process very easy for the educator and student alike.  Large software companies, like GoAnimate, through its educational division have provided 2.500 schools with its animation tools since December of 2010.  Xtranormal, claims that its registered users have jumped from 800,000 to 2.4 million in the last six months across disciplines and industries.  The average movie from this developer costs about $1 to make.

In addition to Twitter, blogs and YouTube videos, do-it yourself animation has emerged as the latest form of self-expression and can assist in conveying complex topics in the classroom.

Do Animations Assist Learning?

Educational research evidence about the effectiveness of classroom animation is mixed.  Different investigations have compared static and animated displays across a number of different content areas.  Generally speaking, it has been found that using animations in the classroom are not intrinsically more effective than static graphics.  What is relevant here, are the particular characteristics of individual animations and how they are used in a specific learning lesson.  For some students, the display of animation of a complex topic may be overwhelming exceeding the limit of one’s learning capacity.  Pausing the video and adding a written or f2f explanation can circumvent this issue.  Having the learner in control of how quickly they view a video can also help the learner gain maximum advantage of this technique.

For example, in the articleBiology in Film:  Using Animations to Study Cell Structure”, we have an excellent example of a website that provides an overview of a Cell Structure Lesson, complete with lesson plan, needed materials, a warm up exercise (showing the animated video “The Inner Life of the Cell”), and questions for discussion and reading comprehension.   It is clear that the use of the animated video, brings the subject to life for the student and fully engages the learner.

Would you like to try animation?

Sites such as, and let users build their own cartoons. The steps on all three sites are fairly similar:

•                Pick a character. GoAnimate lets users customize their characters with features like a potbelly, cat-eye glasses, a bouffant hairdo or gorilla hands.

•                Pick a background. Animasher’s options include a lecture hall, a swimming pool and an exploding atom bomb.

•                Add dialogue. On Xtranormal, users type in their own dialogue and select from a range of available voices. Animasher offers sound effects like fireworks and screams.

•                Direct. On Xtranormal, users can add pauses, motions and camera angles. GoAnimate’s editing features include cuts and zooms


Challenge yourself to add some animated features to your learning plans and post to this blog with your results.  Your discoveries and experience are important to our learning community.


Cutraro, J. and Ojalvo, H. (2010)  Biology in Film:  Using Animation to Study Cell Structure. The New York Times.  The Learning Network.  November 17, 2010, 3:06PM.  Extracted from: (February 14, 2011, 1:04PM)

“Educational Animation” (2010)  Wikipedia.  Extracted from:  (Feb. 14, 2011. 1:07 PM).

Gamerman, E. (2011)  Animation Nation.  Wall Street Journal. February 11, 2011.  Extracted from:

(February 14, 2011, 12:57PM).