Explain with Powtoon animated videos

Animated videos have become in one of the most useful techniques to explain concepts, principles and processes a very easy way.

If done well, they can add interest to the content, reducing the reading load for learners and making the information easier to digest and remember.

Some time ago, producing this type of videos would have required specific tools and expertise, but now we can easily create them with PowToon, an online software that offers a free and a paid version. I use the free version which allows you to create the video and share it on your YouTube channel.

The process is very simple; just insert text, images, characters and audio to a slide. You can upload you own images or you can choose objects in the libraries of shapes, characters and hand-drawn animations. There’s a time limitation of 20 seconds per slide, and in the timeline, you can manage objects entry, exit and duration.

You can create professional-looking animated videos for your courses with Powtoon.


Using Characters in e-Learning: illustrate and engage

After publishing the post about the Types of Characters used in e-learning, I found this topic so interesting, that I decided to go deeper, writing a second part about the roles of the characters used in an online course.

I searched the web and after reading some posts about this topic, I came to the conclusion Characters are commonly used in 6 ways that can be grouped in two categories:

To illustrate the content: Characters are integrated in the content, representing real and abstract concepts, and being part of scenarios and stories.

As social actors: Characters interact directly with the learners, providing guidance and support.

Find more details in this video, which I created with Powtoon.

No matter whether Characters are cartoons, photos , or even live actors, integrating them in a course can add value to the learning experience.


ATD Blog. Avatars in e-Learning by Vanessa Bailey

Learning Solutions Magazine. Animated Characters in e-Learning: the benefits of social roles by Audrey Dalton

E-learningArt Blog: Use conversations to deliver eLearning content by B. Jones

eLearning Industry Articles: 6 tips to create Characters in eLearning by Henson Gawliu

De Vries, J. (2004) Character-Based simulations: What Works. Bersin & Associates

Images used in this video:

Software tutorials with Wink online

Wink is a freeware screen capture and tutorial-creation program. A couple of years ago I tested the downloadable version, which output file was a flash tutorial. Now, playing around to build a software screencast sample, I came across with the online version (still in Beta) that I decided to test. The output video is published to the web as Html5.

  • This application is a good option for quick tutorials, but it isn’t recommended it for long screencasts. (up to 1000 frames according to this forum thread).
  • Changes are not saved automatically, so I’d suggest you save every amendment after adding callouts and shapes.
  • I found it difficult to deal with fonts size and the cursor icon options, in some frames changes were not saved.
  • Tutorials are not openly published; users get a link to share. In my opinion, adding a page with some public samples would help promoting this application.
  • An update of the callouts would be much appreciated; they have same colours and shapes than the original version launched in 2009.