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Effect of Animations in Learning Outcomes

Written By Navyatha Bodanapu

Effect of Animations in Learning Outcomes

Baek and Layne defined Animation as “The process of generating a series of frames, containing an object or objects, so that each frame appears as an alteration of the previous frame, in order to show motion”.

I have always wondered if animation can lead to better learning outcomes. I have come across a few people debating that animations are  merely misleading stuff that does not present the actual facts and hide the reality. They simply disregard animations and recommend limiting the use of them for learning purposes. They would definitely change their opinion, once they look at the following research results.

According to the research by”Journal of Visual Literacy”, the learning outcomes of static graphics v/s animations were analyzed on a group of 13,515 participants. The research results claim that:

  • 80% of the trainees trained using animations, exhibited more persistence compared to the learners trained using static graphics.
  • The group trained using animations also showed better outcomes, when compared to the group trained using the static graphics.
  • Of course, using animations for representing unreal things is likely to mislead a beginner. However, avoiding the use of animations in representing unreal things, especially for learning purposes, can solve the problem. Understanding and interpreting complex dynamic phenomenon, which cannot be caught by the eye can be made easy using animations.
  • Here are some of the effects that animations have on learning and therefore on learners:
  • Animations enable the learners to explore and develop new innovative ideas in a fun and easy-to-use environment.
  • Animations have a potential to enhance the understanding through visualization of long texts/content.
  • Animations engage the learners and make them stay tuned and focused on the learning course that they are taking.
  • Prototype images can be better illustrated through animations, when compared to static images.
  • Retains the learner’s interest even if the learning course is for a very long duration.

Thus, though animations have a few disadvantages, the number of advantages they have on learning outcomes outweigh the limitations, as clearly seen in this blog. These few limitations can be completely eliminated, especially for learning outcomes, once animations are used to represent only the reality.

Here is an animatioin showing the human respiration:

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