Go animate your eLearning, part #2

I am an enthusiastic singer. I practically never miss the weekly practice with my vocal group. We do everything: Eurovision, pop, rock, you name it. Here is a video project I created for fun to advertise our upcoming auditions. The topic? How addictive singing really is.


Although this was a project made purely for fun, the elements and the design process were mostly the same as when designing an instructional video. Adding to my previous post on video animation I wanted to add a few points to ensure the core message of your video comes out crystal clear.

  1. What’s your goal?

What do you want the audience to do after viewing your video? Since I focus on learning outcomes, I focus on the fact that after the video, the audience should have the skills and be willing and committed to do whatever the learning goal is (highlighting the words willing and committed). Defining the goal like this helps you fight off any extra frill and bling-bling that you (or other stakeholders) might be tempted to add to the video.

2. Show a gun on screen only if there is an intention of using it on the video.

Chekhov famously said: One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it. This is an important guideline even though we aren’t creating drama. Why? Because once you do this, you are better off expressing exactly the message you want to express and the users will focus on that. Another extremely good way to simplifying your message only needs to come through one channel: audio or visual. If you need to express that it is midnight, you don’t need to say it. Just show it. And: Include only the visual/audio elements you absolutely need to pull your message through. Don’t show the fact that it’s nighttime with both the moon in the sky AND a clock on the wall showing “3 am”, one of these is enough. After all, it was Chekhov who also said: “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”


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3. Create structure.

No matter how short your video is, it needs to have a basic structure. In longer videos (>1 min) you can use e.g. numbering or subheadings to help you structure the content.

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4. Humour is allowed 

But: be kind in your humour. The point of humour in instruction is again to make your content more memorable and engaging – be aware of stingy irony and profanity.

5. Add contradiction.

Adding contradiction is a basic means for creating complex characters in drama. But we are talking about 1-minute instructional videos – why would you want to care about contradiction? Because creating an contradiction is key to making your content interesting, which again is the essence of making something engaging and memorable. In other words, it helps you in your key goal: making people learn. Although we who create learning are not in marketing, we can continuously learn from there. Easy ways to create contradiction? Try having a voiceover that contradicts just a little bit with what the character does or says.



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