Pedagogical characters, animated actors and avatars are just some of the terms to describe characters which represent human beings in an online environment. Before the arrival of interactive character solutions and animation tools, such characters assumed the form of anthromorphized animals and 2D photo-realistic cartoons.
In the last few years, technological progress and learner expectations have made learning using animated characters easier to implement. It also has led to more sophisticated techniques of instructional design.
A 2d animation company in India or a 3D company can produce such animations for e-learning. It is good to review the proof of benefits of animated characters in e-learning.
As per one study in 2004, Byron Reeves came to the conclusion that the same social skills that enhance human to human interaction push for the success of interactions between media and humans.
According to Reeves, the following are the reasons why animated characters achieve substantial benefits in E-learning:
- Social intelligence is provided to e-learning through interactive, emotional animated characters.
- Memory and trust in information is enhanced by simulation of a social exchange and improving the scenario using an animated character.
- The degree of interactivity of characters leads to enhanced realism which improves quality of interaction and learning.
- In addition, characters have the quality of practicality. Other methods like video, audio and conversational text may be used to create a context of social intelligence. But animated characters are more easily replicated and cost-effective. Apart from these benefits, animated characters never grow tired and are readily available.
- Roles of animated characters
- As per a study (2004) by Jennifer De Vries, animated characters can assume the following roles:
- Expert instructor: this character is based on a human being who is knowledgeable: such as expert, teacher, doctor, financial adviser or teacher. For using this role effectively, there must be constant engagement between student and instructor through interaction, conversational tone and feedback on answers provided by student.
- Peer Instructor: A popular social role is using characters in form of peer instructors. The peer instructor may have a single role or as an instructor for other animated characters. For instance, for a training course in library sciences, two animated characters may be a peer coach and a younger student. Through discussions, students gain knowledge about library research.
- Co-operative Co-learner: This character differs from the peer coach in that the former provides motivation and support in completing the course.
These are some aspects about role of animation in e-learning. One can use e-learning content development companies to utilize animation in learning content.