Attention-grabbing learning is essential in today’s world. With so many distractions around your learners, you need your content to stand out. Using Vyond, the online animation software, with Articulate 360, the world’s favourite eLearning authoring tool, you can create courses that really grab attention.
So, this blog will walk you through our beginners guide to creating attention-grabbing learning with Vyond and Articulate 360.
What is a GIF?
GIF (noun): Multimedia files that act like short videos that loop endlessly.
The very nature of a GIF is to create a natural focal point in any form of multimedia. Therefore, they are a great way to grab attention in eLearning. They draw in your learners and entice them to pay attention. But, any form of animation in learning must be used very deliberately, and with purpose.
Where would you use a GIF in an eLearning course?
GIFs are great to provide context, add humour, or depict processes or concepts that are difficult to put into words or static images. Here are some of my favourite instructional uses of GIFS, to give you a flavour:
- The ‘American’s Guide to Driving in France’ from Articulate’s Allison LaMotte.
- A fantastic beer-inspired Rise 360 example from Articulate’s Tom Kuhlmann.
- This very current, and attention-grabbing GIF from The Spinoff about the impact of social distancing.
How do I create a GIF?
If you’re an existing user of Vyond, you’ll know how easy it is to generate a GIF from your videos. If you’re not a use of Vyond, the easiest answer to this question is “with Vyond”. There are many other ways to create GIFs, but today, we will focus on Vyond.
You can export any of you Vyond videos as GIFs. It really is as easy navigating to the download button in the top right hand side of your screen, and clicking ‘Generate Animated GIF’. You’ll notice you have a few sizing options. The mathematicians out there will quickly spot these are all of the same ratio, so oftentimes, it’s a good idea to export in the largest format, 854 x 480px.
Using predesigned props
Vyond comes with thousands of ready made props, many of which are animated, such as these examples below:
If you wish to use these props in your eLearning courses, you will need to follow the below steps:
- Find the appropriate prop by navigating to the top left hand side of your screen and clicking the icon that looks like an armchair.
- Search for the prop you’d like to use and import it into your scene.
- Extend your scene for an appropriate amount of time so that the gif can play in full before relooping.
- Consider where you want to place your GIF in your course; if you want to place your GIF on a coloured background, change the background of your Vyond scene to the same colour. So that your GIF will seamlessly blend with your Storyline 360 slide.
- Follow the export steps above to export as a GIF.
- Import your GIF into Storyline 360 by navigating to the ‘insert’ tab of the Storyline ribbon, and clicking the ‘picture’ button (yes, GIFs are considered pictures, not videos!)
- Position your GIF among your content and there you have it – an attention-grabbing GIF is in your Storyline 360 course.
Designing your own GIFS
Although using a premade GIF and generating it is that easy, there are a few things you should consider when designing your own GIF. You want your GIF to run as one seamless video. Therefore you need to make sure your closing slide runs flawlessly back into your opening scene.
In Vyond, this may mean making sure your scenes do not have unnecessary scene transitions. The easiest way to see if your scene has a transition is to check the top righthand corner:
The scene transition button is the one with the arrow. If this icon is highlighted in orange, this means a scene transition exists. To remove the transition, click on the icon and click the remove text:
Start and end positions
The easiest way to explain the importance of start and end positions when designing GIFs is to demonstrate it.
In this example, we have a bird flying across the screen. The start position of the bird is onscreen, about a third of the way into the screen. Therefore, when the bird flies off the screen at the end of the GIF’s first loop, it reappears in its start position, a third of the way through the screen, which causes an unnatural glitch after each loop:
However, in the below example, the same bird starts off screen. This means when it flies off the right hand side of the screen, it’ll reappear from the left, a more natural visual experience.
It’s important that your GIFs are designed to run seamlessly in this way, especially in eLearning. If your GIF has unnatural glitches in between loops, they’ll distract learners, rather than aid learning.
Adding ambient movement
Ambient movement is a great way to capture your learners attention and add atmosphere, without distracting them from the all important content. For anybody who’s a frequent user of Vyond, you would have already seen ambient movement in action, even if you haven’t realised it.
Vyond default slides:
This is ambient movement at its best: you can see the hands typing, the mouse moving, and the steam coming off the coffee. This adds movement and a cinematic style to your course, without distracting from your content.
The same goes for this Business Friendly style, you can see the characters in the background typing and moving, without it detracting from the all important content.
To create your own GIFs with ambient movement in Vyond,
- Click on Props and you will be able to see that some of them have a magnifying glass and some have a preview button. To create your GIF, you need to add props that have a preview button as this means there is an animation associated with it.
Check out this GIF below that we have created , the subtle movement in the coffee cup is enough to capture learners attention but doesn’t deter their attention away from the actual content of the course.
You can add as many props as you would like to set your scene. If you want, you can really let your imagination run wild by adding characters and animated backgrounds. To add an animated background,
- Click on Background in the menu tab, you will be able to see which backgrounds are animated and which are static.
- Click on an animated background to add it to your scene.
You can then personalise your background by changing the colour and adding text to it.
Export and insert your GIF Into Articulate Storyline using the same steps that we used above.
Using animation in your Storyline courses is a simple process that can create serious attention-grabbing learning courses. With its unique styles and use of movement, animation makes courses more engaging and informative. If you would rather watch all of this in action, you can watch our co-hosted webinar with Vyond that goes through all the steps above. You can also read our blog which is a part of the series on how to create branched scenarios in Vyond and Storyline 360.