Critiques on use of mobile apps and animations for learning

Some of the research on the use of mobile apps and animations for learning shows no difference in performance, some show increased learning and some are not so sure that learning might be declining. This is nice review of various studies which also wishes to pinpoint the differences and compare not only the studies but the applications. “The ultimate goal is to provide guidelines that will help educators better identify those apps, animations, or other instructional technologies that will be most beneficial in terms of encouraging deep student understanding of course material.”

Holden, Mark and Twyman, Alexandra () “Apps and Animations: Choosing Web-based Demonstrations to Support Student
Learning,” Teaching Innovation Projects: Vol. 7 : Iss. 1 , Article 4.
Available at:


Animation as an Instructional Designer’s Tool

Abstract of new chapter by Richard Mayer (2017) in the edited book:   Learning from Dynamic Visualization  Eds. Richard Lowe (1)  Rolf Ploetzner (2)     pp379-386

New Instructional Design Strategies:

  1. Visual signaling,
  2. orientation references for 3D objects,
  3. active learning strategies,
  4. organization
Date: 19 May 2017

“Animation can be a useful addition to the instructional designer’s toolbox, but techniques are needed to help guide learners’ cognitive processing during learning with animations. One technique is to add instructional design features intended to guide learners’ cognitive processing, such as adding visual signaling to guide how the learner selects and organizes material from animations depicting how a dynamic system works (e.g., De Koning & Jarodzka, 2017, this volume) or adding orientation references intended to guide how the learner selects what to attend to in animations of three-dimensional objects (e.g., Berney & Betrancourt, 2017, this volume). Another technique is to prompt the learner to use active learning strategies intended to guide how the learner selects and organizes material from the animation, such as asking the learner to produce drawings based on an animated lesson (e.g., Lowe & Mason, 2017, this volume; Stieff, 2017, this volume) or answer questions (e.g., Ploetzner & Breyer, 2017, this volume). Overall, the chapters in Parts III and IV of this volume examine how to help learners process instructional animations in ways that lead to useful learning outcomes.”

Other chapters in the book look equally helpful for instructional designers.

DynViz“The volume has recruited international leaders in the field to provide diverse perspectives on the dynamic visualizations and learning. It is the first comprehensive book on the topic that brings together contributions from both renowned researchers and expert practitioners. Rather than aiming to present a broad general overview of the field, it focuses on innovative work that is at the cutting edge.”   About this book,

Fun for students, encourages research

This article explains how to use some free apps and pictures of scientists, authors, historical figures, etc., and have students script information about them.   The free apps allow the recording of the scripts using their own voice or the voice of their choosing and then animating a still photograph so that it appears to be speaking the words.   Students would pick up numerous skills and facts in this assignment and probably have quite a bit of fun.  Engaging way to research and report.

J Microbiol Biol Educ. 2017 Apr; 18(1): 18.1.90.
Published online 2017 Apr 21. doi:  10.1128/jmbe.v18i1.1228
Photo Animation Brings Scientists Back to Life in the Classroom

Animation in Stem courses

This research report is available in full online.
The researchers used a quasi-expermental design with three groups.   They tested for various demographic variables within the groups and there were no differences.  The two experimental groups had significantly higher scores in the subject matter tested.  Nice links to 24 free animations from the North Dakota State University.   The virtual cell animation collection Available to download to mobile devices.  Also downloads with captions are available on the website.
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“The instructional animation used in this study was entitled “ATP Synthase (Gradients)” and is a part of the Virtual Cell Animation Collection (NSF awards: 0086142, 0618766, and 0918955). This set of multimedia resources was developed using the research-based principles of multimedia design (4950), and they are free to use for both instructors and students.  The Virtual Cell Animation Collection currently consists of 24 animations available for either streaming or downloading in multiple formats from the project’s website (
J Microbiol Biol Educ. 2017 Apr; 18(1): 18.1.50.
Published online 2017 Apr 21. doi:  10.1128/jmbe.v18i1.1223
Learning about Chemiosmosis and ATP Synthesis with Animations Outside of the Classroom

Theoretical Framework of Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning

  • And some important findings for instructional design

Michelle Rudolph of Independence University reviews the theoretical frameworks  provides reminders of the research of Richard Mayer, Rita Moreno and others, highlighting cognitive load, dual channels and capacity for information processing.  Mayer’s model of the processing of words and pictures simultaneously and application of cognitive load theory described.  Rudolph further explains the twelve principles of multimedia design (Sorden, 2012).  The discussion then includes the components for designing effective instructional multimedia lessons, as has been researched along with a bibliography.

  • Components
  1. Redundancy
  2. Signaling
  3. Segmentation
  4. Animation v. static image
  5. Control
  6. Interactivity
  7. Engagement and feedback
  8. Screencasts

Sorden, S. (2012). The cognitive theory of multimedia learning. Handbook of educational theories. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing. Retrieved from portfolio/sorden_draft_multimedia2012.pdf

Journal of Online Higher Education vol. 1, no. 2/2017 1, Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning, Michelle Rudolph

Learning the solar system with animation

A simple way for instructional designers to begin to learn and use animation is with a lesson like the solar system.   We are familiar with the parts, the learning objectives, and the simple and complex needs of the lesson.   For that reason I have included the following article to encourage getting started.  Also I have included a simple animation at the end.

Design of learning media for the solar system lesson using animation and virtual reality, Daniel Raditya Donny Eryanto1, Jasson Prestiliano1 1Satya Wacana Christian University, Salatiga, Indonesia, Open Science Journal, January 2017

“ Based on the testing result, it can be concluded that the teaching media using Virtual Reality and animation is successful in attracting students attention to understand deeper the lesson about the solar system.” p. 12


More engaging, motivating, attractive instructional materials

The Development of Monograph with 3-Dimensional
Illustrations Titled “Augmented Chemistry: Hydrocarbon” as Learning Enrichment Materials
D Ernawati and J Ikhsan Department of Mathematics Education, Universitas Negeri Yogyakarta, Jl. Colombo
No. 1, Caturtunggal, Yogyakarta 55281, Indonesia

Authors used the ADDIE model and the interactive features of Adobe InDesign publishing tool to design the interactive monograph and exercises. Evaluation included summative and formative components and utilized experts. Great use of tested model and new publishing technology. Adobe InDesign has a medium steep learning curve but is within the capability of most teachers and professors. Should be part of the teacher education and instructional design curriculum.

Also See:
Interaction Design and Implementation of Hydrocarbon Augmented Reality
Hotman Silitonga, Sekolah Teknik Elektro dan Informatika –Institut Teknologi Bandung