Many people struggle to create an eLearning script for their corporate video animation. While many see animation as pure “children’s entertainment,” the medium can be an effective teaching tool in corporate settings. Animation makes learning science and math fun for kids; it can certainly make understanding dense company policies and safety procedures more exciting and dynamic as well.
Needless to say, more and more corporate entities and big companies are deciding to use the medium to acclimate their employees with new processes and procedures. Between the accessibility, convenience and cost-effective approach, animation has become the clear choice as it offers a simplistic alternative to traditional training methods.
But before you can create amazing eLearning animated videos, you need a blueprint to ensure that the final product is as informative, entertaining, and clear as you had envisioned it. First, though, it may help you understand why cartoon eLearning videos can be effective for teaching professional adults:
Too many people associate cartoons exclusively with children’s entertainment. However, cartoons are so much more than that. They signal to the brain that something fun is about to occur.
Professionals have likely already heard the same business buzzwords over and over again. They’ve likely seen plenty of graphs and stats and figures. What makes animation so special is that it allows viewers to escape from the stressors of everyday life and connect instead with the learning material.
It essentially allows the learner’s mind to focus on the task at hand – retaining and understanding information. That is much easier to do when you are faced with a colorful background and a lively character over one person standing in front of a dull background and lecturing without emotion for a whole hour.
What this means for your script: As you draft up a script, do not worry about what is and isn’t “possible” in the real world. As long as you present the information in an engaging way, your viewers will be willing to believe it. Instead, focus on what you can make possible in this new animated world that you are creating–where the principles of making a sale still apply but the laws of gravity and realistic trees may not.
Compared to live-action productions, animated productions typically require smaller teams to produce. While live-action videos require sets, locations, cast and crew, the animation only needs a few animators with access to modern technology.
Plus, live-action tends to run over-budget when it comes to the hours needed on set.
What this means for your script: While animation can be much cheaper than live-action videos, you do have to consider what you want your final product to look like, as this will play a major role in determining the total cost.
Some factors to consider include: the number of characters you want to include, the length of the video, the detail level of the animation, and the type of animation (2D vs. 3D). If you want to crunch the numbers yourself, there are many animation cost calculators available online, like this one.
Unlike live-action productions, animation allows you to be a bit more creative when it comes to implementing a corporation’s exact imagery or branding into a video. That is because most animation is not governed by realism.
What’s more, in live action, words and actions can easily get lost in translation from script to screen, especially when you must work with limited resources. This can cause the learning material to lose its dynamism, especially when it comes to working with human actors.
Not to mention, human actors (no matter how talented) lack the vibrancy and flexibility that an animated character possesses. This makes it more difficult to ensure that what happens on screen fully reflects your company’s tone, style, and approach to your work and policies.
What this means for your script: Think seriously not only about the information you want to convey in your video but also how you want to convey it–and how you can convey it in a way that feels unique to your company. For example, if your company is more laid back and casual, creating an animated video that appears overly formal without much color and with very stilted dialogue may clash with your overall message.
Before writing the script for your animated eLearning video, you must decide what type of instruction design will be used for the animated footage. There are two models eLearning script writers can use for an animated educational video – SAM and ADDIE.
SAM (or Successive Approximation Method) allows for quick evaluation for trainers and teachers through a cycle of evaluation, iteration, design and revision. On the other hand, ADDIE acts as more of a conveyor belt system where one step builds upon the other to create the video
It may help to look at animated videos from other creators. You can even reach out to colleagues and others with similar backgrounds for their thoughts on producing an animated eLearning video. Any input helps.
Once the instructional design is decided, the next step is to decide on the learning objectives for prospective eLearning students. This is where the SMART initiative comes into play:
- Specific – be precise about what the learner’s objective.
- Measurable – how will the objective be observed or counted.
- Action-oriented – using active verbs during instruction.
- Reasonable – giving an appropriate time and scope for an objective
- Time-bound – achieving an objective within a certain timeframe
Having obtainable learning objectives is the key to informing the video and its script. For eLearning in the corporate setting, this model can help you ensure that learners understand the course or video’s goal.
When it comes to the type of learning video, most eLearning animated videos combine visuals with audio to help the learner understand the subject matter better. Educational animation videos fall into one of three categories:
Explainer – uses visual support as an analogy or metaphor to introduce a concept or solution with an occasional narrative used to communicate a message.
Simulation – sees animated characters acting in a scenario where the learner can interact with the video.
How-to – uses visual support to breakdown a process or system step-by-step
The most common format is the explainer as evident by the vast amount of whiteboard animations produced over the years.
In conjunction with research, you will likely need to do some pre-writing as you craft the video’s content. This can take on the form of bulleted lists, bookmarked web pages, diagrams or sticky notes. Organizing those ideas will be beneficial in writing your script.
Once the research and pre-writing are done, you can now get into crafting eLearning scripts for video. The animation is generally having a different approach to writing as directional action is more important than actual dialogue. But in the case of eLearning videos, the actions and words are equal.
This approach allows for learners to grasp a concept, lesson or message more effectively especially in a corporate setting. Animated eLearning videos tap into kinesthetic (or hands-on) learning with one difference from other videos: movement. Learners are usually able to interact with the animation in a way that allows new information to commit itself to long-term memory.
The first draft of the animated video script is more trial and error as you combine your research, pre-writing and learning objectives to create the script. During the writing process, being concise is the main objective. Action should be the focus as the visuals will do most of the heavy lifting for learners.
Short yet straightforward actions will grab the learner’s attention. The same goes for dialogue. The narration or spoken lines from a character must be believable to drive home the point of the video
After the first draft, revision is the next step as you seek to get more eyes on your words. You can ask either your colleagues, family or friends to set up a read through. Gather some people together in person or set up a video chat to have as a table read, which is traditionally used in theater, television, and movies. This allows for the writer to hear actual voices reading the parts as the script is written.
As the reading commences, this is your chance to take notes on the script. This way you can figure out what works and what doesn’t as well as what scenes or dialogue needs to be revisited.
Sometimes, these problems are due to the vagueness of concept or over-explaining certain aspects. You may need more than one reading to figure out any awkwardness if the volunteers are up to it. Take the reading a step further this time by having readers act out the scenes.
After the readings, you can start revising the script. You may have to go back to the first draft and produce another draft based on the notes you took. As a writer, you will continue to revise and draft new versions for the script until you believe the script is exactly everything you envisioned.
If you do not have anyone to look over your eLearning script, the next best thing is to copy and paste the content into Google Docs or Microsoft Word. Another grammar tool is Grammarly.
Each tool gives you suggestions to help correct your writing based on each program’s set of grammar rules. Due to the different sets of rules, you’ll find varying opinions on certain language situations within each program.
You should also make sure that your dialogue sounds realistic and grammatically correct. Even if you do want to take a more casual approach to your training video, you must remember that this is still a professional video. Therefore, glaring errors will come off as unprofessional. Remember dialogue can be both authentic and grammatically correct.
Once you feel the script is good to go in terms of content, it is time to begin the editing process. At this point, you would need to get an objective editor to look over your entire script with a fine-tooth comb.
You want them to find errors such as grammar, syntax, punctuation, and clarity that might hinder the video script. Ask them to keep track of their changes either leaving comments in a Word document or PDF or using the “Suggesting” feature in Google Docs
After you’re done editing your script, it is time to lock down the final script and start distributing it amongst the appropriate people. Remember to retain multiple back-up copies for yourself just in case some technical or delivery issues were to come up.
After the decision-makers have given you the green light, you can start sharing your finished work with everyone involved in the video. Send the script to the animation team tasked with overseeing and completing the production and the voice cast.
THE BOTTOM LINE
In the end, creating a Script for eLearning Animation can make an incredible experience when it comes to corporate training. For help creating the perfect animated eLearning video. Reach out for a free consultation.