Motion graphics – How to use them in training materials
How to use motion graphics in training materials so your team really pays attention. Adding motion graphics to your training materials isn’t just about wooing an audience with a bit of good old-fashioned eye candy. Nope, when you need all eyes on the ball, they’ll snap your weary learners out of a stupor, engage, motivate and educate. And here’s why.
Why they work
Motion graphics (or animations) appeal to us humans for one very simple reason; they’re the closest we can get to replicating how our brains effortlessly perceive the world through sound and visual movement every single day. It’s just how we’re wired! The problem with training methods that rely heavily on text or speech is that our brains work so much harder to interpret this one-dimensional communication and apply it to a real-life practical scenario. Sure, that’s what visual imagination is for, but this can cause misinterpretation and, frankly, it’s also tiring and boring! A natural step up from motionless images, motion graphics pull together all the creative elements of narrative, music, words, sound-effects, graphics and images for one lively and highly-stimulating audio-visual learning experience. And the result? Our brains do a lot less work to understand and process the same story. So, with the theory in the bag, here are some tips to ensure your motion graphics are in top form.
By their very nature, motion graphics are a multi-layered form of content – an amalgamation of movements, transitions, words, music and narration. And that’s exactly what makes them so engaging! But when there’s so much going on, it’s important to ensure your learners are constantly guided and kept firmly on track. Using visual cues or emphasising certain words or phrases will ensure your audience enjoys the show without missing key points or the main objectives of the lesson.
Keep it real
Great, you’ve got a full creative licence to produce some motion graphics to supplement your training session – but don’t get carried away. Although it might be tempting to recreate your favourite childhood super heros or furry friends to deliver your learning objectives (because it sounds like fun!), ask yourself whether they’re really right for the audience or environment. When considering characters, music, tone and humour, think about what will feel most authentic and persuasive to your audience and their attitude. Not only will authenticity be key to effective learning, but you’ll avoid a few eye-rolls too!
Don’t defeat the object
Remember the aim of the game here is to tell an educational story through motion graphics. So, if you find yourself leaning on too much on-screen text, you’re either doing something wrong or failing to notice that it’s completely unnecessary. While it can be helpful to use words or text for emphasis, heavy use of text will divide your audience’s attention and distract them from the main point. In fact, voiceovers can be a great substitute for text in most cases. Think about it this way; if you watch a movie with subtitles, do you ever appreciate the cinematography in the same way as a movie without?
The great thing about motion graphics (unlike other forms of training content) is that animations can be slowed down, rewound, stopped and fast-forwarded depending on the needs of the viewer. Zoom functions could even be helpful for more complex depictions. Not only do these controls encourage learning at a pace that’s right for the individual, but they make those necessary recaps much easier and a whole lot less laborious. So, make sure clear and intuitive controls are in place so the learner can take the reins right from the get go.
Time to sit back and relax? Not on our watch
Motion graphics stimulate the human senses in variety of ways which means they’re great for building real connections and evoking emotions – everything you need to make your training engaging, fun and memorable. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean you want your viewers to sit back and enjoy the ride (not entirely). To avoid the risk that your motion graphic video will be too passive, encourage your viewers to become more immersed in the story by integrating some interactive elements. These could include clicking on objects to reveal information, pausing a video and linking through to other content at appropriate intervals, or even asking some thought-provoking questions along the way. So, now you know what it takes to create a great motion graphics video for your studious audience, which means there’ll be top marks all-round!
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