I bought GoAnimate inspired by two webinars: The first one was a wonderfully laid-back, hands-on presentation given by Melissa DeJesus from Lavastorm who gave a few great tips for using GoAnimate in a software training. Another spark of inspiration for my purchase was a demo given at the Learning Solutions Demofest by Rance Greene who has received multiple awards for his innovative eLearning projects.
GoAnimate is a cloud-based animated video creation platform. It has several different styles to choose from: 2D animation, whiteboard animation, infographics and – my absolute favourite, Common craft, i.e. this style:
You can download your video files as e.g. MP4s and export them directly to e.g. YouTube, Vimeo and Wistia. The basic functions of the tool are fairly easy to understand so you will learn by doing – as long as you let go of your pride first. You only need to spend a few moments in YouTube looking for inspiration from other GoAnimate users to discover that there are hundreds of teenagers who seem to have been born with video animation skills.
But: I don’t want to write detailed instructions here on how you use the tool. What I do want to express is: Be the Master, not the servant. The tool is so intuitive that it is extremely tempting to just start crafting videos straight away by testing all the available character libraries and functionalities. Well, why not? Because, like the famous travel photographer Peter Adams said: “A camera didn’t make a great picture anymore than a typewriter wrote a great novel.” Being able to use GoAnimate will not make you a good video designer. Instead, you need to take all the necessary steps of video creation even if your purpose is to create a 30-second clip to start off an eLearning exercise.
What do I mean by the necessary steps? At the minimum, the following:
- Define your audience.
- Define the core message of your video, i.e. one sentence that sums up the key idea of your video. Talk about this core message with your stakeholders. Rewrite the message based on your discussions.
- Write the script / storyboard (what I mean of course is: Write, cut, edit, rewrite, cut, edit, and so forth.)
- Measure the duration of your script. Cut, cut, cut even more if possible.
Step No. 5 may then be: Start creating the video with GoAnimate!
Good luck, and remember – you’re the Master!