The Power of Storytelling and Animation in Creating Engaging Content
Storytelling is as old as humankind. From cave paintings to ancient myths and fables, stories are woven into the fabric of society. It is through stories that we make sense of the world. And there’s no reason why we shouldn’t harness the power of stories when it comes to creating e-learning content.
Make a connection
Getting your audience to care about content is one of the most effective ways to convey information in e-learning, and people care about stories. It’s hardwired into us. Our brains process stories in a unique way: when we receive information in the form of a story, we often recall it more vividly than if we had read it in a textbook.
Creating relatable content through storytelling establishes an emotional connection, increasing engagement and comprehension among learners. By focusing on familiar characters, situations and challenges, the stories in e-learning modules become applicable to the day-to-day life of the student. This makes it easier for content to form genuine bonds with learners, making them value the content more and thus helping them retain the new knowledge being taught.
And it’s not just young learners who absorb information better when storytelling is involved – stories can provide a welcome break for corporate learners who have grown accustomed to charts and graphs as their main sources of information. Adult learners seek a connection to the content that assures them they will be better able to resolve workplace challenges or advance their careers.
Learners are drawn deeper into the well of knowledge when engaged by a compelling story. A story with a strong lure will keep an audience hooked and wanting to find out what happens next. This is a powerful teaching tool: not only are learners engaged, but they are eager to learn more! This is active learning, rather than rote learning.
Stories are easier to remember than lists of facts or boring presentations. We can probably recall the plot of a favourite movie we watched as children, but rarely do we remember what we learnt in school that same year. Research shows that 63% of people are more likely to remember facts that are delivered through storytelling, compared to just 5% who can recall information delivered through traditional learning.
Make it visual
Stories can be told in a variety of ways, the very least of which is through text only. Too much text can be overbearing for a learner. Visual storytelling provides the perfect way for learners to engage with the content. Visuals can reinforce critical concepts and help make even deeper emotional connections. Adding illustrations, videos or animation to the course can back up learning objectives.
Perhaps the most versatile of these tools is animation. It’s a flexible medium that is capable of making storytelling more interactive and accessible. A study by the Social Science Research Network shows that 65% of people are visual learners, making animation one of the most effective methods of delivering information.
The right animation can effectively set a suitable tone and provide important context for an e-learning course. Animation as a visual and audio medium is able to embody different feelings to entice learners. It can be used to connect with learners emotionally, driving them to put more effort into the course.
For example, cartoonish animations are more likely to appeal to younger learners while more realistic visuals will align with corporate sensibilities. Animation can be used to create a tailored atmosphere that is unique for each e-learning audience, for instance by hammering home the seriousness of a health and safety scenario (such as how to safely conduct first aid or operate specific machinery). This means learners will be primed to engage with the course material on the intended emotional level, whether serious or light-hearted.
Visual elements integrated into the e-learning course helps in simplifying the complex data presented to learners. A short one-minute animation can include sound, speech, text, static images, moving images and infographics, meaning animation can capture and convey information that is challenging to summarise through text or audio alone.
For example, an animation showing the inner workings of a complex machine or the human body can visually explain in seconds what could otherwise take lengthy periods for learners to grasp through other media. In this way, large chunks of information can be taught quickly, succinctly, and cost-effectively. Animation that takes a learner through a concept step-by-step will reduce the cognitive load and allow the learner to take their time to retain and understand each new idea as it is introduced.
The marriage of storytelling and animation can be a powerful tool in delivering highly-engaging content for learners of all ages.
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Get in touch or find out more and start the ball rolling in creating rich video content for your learners!