Currently all the courseware I have written for my client follows mainly theory based or system specific information, requiring medium to high cognitive skills for reading instructions and using step-by-step based approaches. It is known that my client’s field involves a lot of manual “hands-on” type procedures, and learning is achieved by mentoring and assisting in physical demonstrations. Recent discussions with the client and research have identified levels of dissatisfaction with the limited “real world application” of the current processes and how the system tasks fit in the client’s workflows. So I have decided and taken on an animation project, initially driven by the need to make our learning solutions for the clients more consistent with other offerings and also to take advantage of the new technologies to have a “best practise” solution covering both learning styles of the end users.
My solution will utilise the Adobe Flash based platform. The power of digital animation lies in the ability to precisely manipulate and mix audio with images, incorporate computer simulations (if required) and use virtually any other type of digital media. This allows difficult concepts to be explained and illustrated in a manner that has been challenging in the current courseware approaches. ‘A picture tells a thousand words’ is a well known phrase that appropriately describes our experience with the use of the multimedia animations. Animations are found to be particularly effective to explain complex concepts in a way that transcends the English language, such as processes involving interactions of a number of entities and those that are abstract in nature.
Prior to the use of multimedia animations, trainers would attempt to explain concepts using a black and white diagram from the printed notes. Although the diagram is generally supplemented by a page of textual information, some students often find it difficult to grasp process-oriented concepts. It is commonly accepted that the mind uses symbols to represent, store and manipulate information. We have the ability to scan images recalled from memory, zoom into them acquiring more detail and transform them in multiple ways. Visual models are a powerful tool used to present information as they stimulate recognition and transfer of information to people. And its shown that when visual models are added to text, people pick up and understand a story faster than if they are confronted with a text-only story. It is known that the use of animations can have profound effect on what is learned and how learning occurs. Animations can excite, explain clearly with stunning examples and allow learners to play, ponder and develop an understanding of complex concepts.