Friday, July 5

LN 03 - IMU's 5 Core Values - TRUST (VideoScribe & GoAnimate)


"Trainers and educators have long known that the use of video increases levels of engagement and retentionThe relative scarcity of video in eLearning was never due to lack of interest; it was pragmatism. It was a function of limited budgets, the unpredictability of the video production process, and the risk of getting back a deliverable that didn't quite fit the bill—after the budget and timeline were blown." 

However, those times are gone. Today, we are fortunate to have an increasing number of rapid e-learning tools to do things we only dreamed about in that past. That is what the Learning Nuggets Project is really about. Identifying those rapid e-learning tools to develop animated and interactive videos, mastering the authoring skills, and mapping them to various types of content that educators need to develop, especially in higher education.

In this learning nugget challenge, I wanted to creatively animate IMU's 5 core values (rapidly), encapsulated in the acronym TRUST:
  1. Trustworthiness – we are trustworthy and stand for integrity, reliability and commitment
  2. Responsiveness – to change, and to the needs of individuals and communities
  3. Unity – of vision and in working towards the achievement of common goals
  4. Service – a commitment to providing outstanding service
  5. Tenacity – in the pursuit of excellence
For this challenge, I explored GoAnimate and VideoScribe. Here are the results:

VideoScribe version:

GoAnimate version:

IMU's Core Values - TRUST by ZaidLearn on GoAnimate

Which one did you like more? Which tool is most appropriate for this kind of content? What do you think? 

Direct link to the poll

However, please keep in mind that this is my first published artifacts (videos) using these two tools, and that I used the free version of GoAnimate (limited templates, characters, cannot upload images, etc.) and VideoScribe (7-day trial version). Also, both were created within a few hours, which included time to master the basics of both tools.  So, I am not exactly putting in the effort to win an Oscar for 2014 for this. 

Also, I'm probably not doing true justice for the real animation possibilities these two rapid authoring tools can empower, in terms of creating exciting and engaging animated learning nuggets. Having said that, let's explore these two tools briefly one-for-one.


"Videoscribe is a unique way to create engaging animated videos quickly and easily. You are empowered to bring impact to your message without technical or design knowledge. You can create amazing marketing videos, instructional talks, add a visual to your talk or story, bring illustrations to life, show text, logos or photos and keep any audience captivated. Often called Whiteboard animation or Fast Drawing, VideoScribe replicates a stop-motion capture style of drawing that's so popular on commercials... at a fraction of the cost and time." - Source

The sad thing about VideoScribe (at the moment) is that there is NO free version, except a 7-day free trial option. Though, the trial version does provide you with most relevant features, so that you at least can get a feel of its potential, before eventually investing in it.

Another cheaper alternative is to invest in the VideoScribe iPad (US$4.99) or Android (US$3.74) authoring options. However, after playing around a bit with the both the iPad and Notebook (PC) options, I preferred the PC option more to get the job done efficiently. 

If you are planning to explore VideoScribe, I strongly recommend that you watch these 3 tutorials below to get you started:
Also, visit the VideoScribe YouTube Channel for more insights.

Here is another animated video created using VideoScribe (about IMU's e-Learning Services):

  1. The great thing about VideoScribe is that you can learn the basics within minutes, and master it within hours
  2. Great library of animated items (even in the trial version).
  3. You can upload images, which are also drawn out in animations (just need to configure a bit). 
  4. Great for animating and spicing up ideas, talks, lectures, concepts, processes, products, services, visions, missions, etc. 
  5. Inbuilt audio recorder, and you can easily add music (library) to your videos, too. 
  6. Can easily publish directly to YouTube.
In short, you will be amazed how powerful and easy VideoScribe is to use.

However, if used badly it can create that Prezi (headache) factor, and also if everyone starts using VideoScribe,  it will loose a bit of its WOW-factor. But until that happens, VideoScribe is still a WOW kind of animation authoring tool, which could certainly be used rapidly to create various types of learning content. And until we creatively explore the possibilities, we really don't know its true potential. 


"GoAnimate is a cloud-based platform for creating and distributing animated videos. GoAnimate’s platform allows individuals to develop both narrative videos, in which characters speak with lip-sync and move around, and video presentations, in which a voiceover narrator speaks over images and props, which may also move around. All video styles can be supported with background music and effects. GoAnimate offers its services on a freemium basis to consumers, and has multiple subscription levels available for businesses." - Source

Screenshot: GoAnimate Authoring Environment

With a bit of imagination you can use GoAnimate to create animated cartoons (videos) without having any programming or graphic design skills, and that is pretty amazing. I have known about this tool for a few years now, but only recently realized its' potential for creating learning content in Higher Education.     

I have to admit that if you really want to use this tool strategically for authoring learning content for your University, you probably have to upgrade to a commercial license. They also have School and Business package solutions.

With the free version, you have limited templates, characters and features. Most annoyingly (with the free version), is that you can't download what you have created, or publish directly to YouTube your animated artwork. And GoAnimate content can't currently run on iPhone or iPad from their website, due to being Flash-based (unless you use tools like Puffin).  A potentially smart alternative is to use a screen-recording tool (e.g. Screenr) to record your screen (while playing your animated video) and then eventually publishing it on YouTube or wherever you want. 

If you are planning to explore GoAnimate as an authoring tool, click here to get some inspiration. Also, check out Gary Lipkowitz tips on using GoAnimate for e-Learning.

  1. It takes minutes to create animated videos using the template option (limited flexibility), but you will need a few hours initially to create a video from scratch.
  2. Its' text-to-speech (TTS) quality and collection of voices (male and female) are really impressive (at least compared to other tools explored).
  3. No programming or graphic design skills required, but you still need to have story telling and dialogue scripting skills if you want to make it juicy for learning.
  4. The options to manipulate the characters with face expressions and body movement are really stunning. You can even connect items to the characters and customize them to basically what you want (e.g. hat/helmet to head).
  5. The authoring environment for creating animated videos from scratch is really flexible, easy-to-use and quite intuitive, but you will probably require a few hours to get to know it well.
We can go on here, but let's explore how we can actually use these two authoring tools discussed above for learning in Higher Education.


Instead of comparing VideoScribe and  GoAnimate side-by-side, let's explore how we can maximize each for learning.

As for visualizing and animating IMU's core values (TRUST) as shown above, I suppose VideoScribe would be more appropriate, as it will give it a more corporate or grown up look (if that is what you want). However, sometimes creating a cartoon video out of something so serious as core values, is actually not a bad idea. 

Here are some ways we could use VideoScribe creatively to enhance or inspire learning:
  • Lecture/Presentation Slides/Notes
    Animate boring text-based slides with animated visualizations that connect the dots. Perhaps you will get more AHA and memory sticking moments.
  • Library/e-Learning/Department/Faculties Services
    Visualize and animate the services provided, including databases, tools, learning models, designs, processes, activities, features, etc.
  • Marketing/BrandingWithout doubt a great tool to visualize and bring to life ideas, brands, products, services, strategies, challenges, etc.
  • Learning Videos
    Short videos teaching a process or a sequence of steps in a creative and engaging way. 

What about GoAnimate? Here are some ways we could use this tool:

  • Scenario/Problem-based Learning
    Animated learning triggers for problem or scenario-based learning. Here you can for example create small learning nuggets for various decision/problem solving phases in a learning activity.
  • Language Skills
    This tool is fantastic for students that need to learn how to write (scripts), communicate, visualize and storyboard various scenes, situations and scenarios. Empower them with the tool during classes or for assignments. 
  • Creative Writing and Communication Skills
    Need I say anymore!
  • Ice-Breakers
    To lighten up or connect the students to the context. 
  • Fun
    Who said learning can't be fun, too?

However, please keep in mind that not all content needs to be animated, and sometimes recording live video is certainly more appropriate (and faster), especially if you want to show exactly how things are done or teaching specific skill sets. Here is a nice table by Gary Lipkowitz to help you make that right decision:

Source: Gary Lipkowitz
Finally, if you need 3D or 4D illustrations (Better to think reuse/remix things out there if possible), neither of these two tools above are going to rock the boat. However, as the Learning Nuggets Project evolves, we might even discover free or cost-effective tools to empower anyone to customize medical 4D illustrations to their needs and contexts. 


If we stretch our imagination and ideas, I am sure both VideoScribe and GoAnimate can be used creatively to spice up our e-learning content, simplify points, engage/inspire learners, and trigger a bit more fun into the learning environments as they learn. 

If you ask me again, I would empower the students to use such tools to enrich their creative minds to another level. What are we waiting for? Investing a bit to spice up the learning environment is perhaps not a bad idea :)

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