The advantages and disadvantages of the animation technology in education and training


By: Adel M. Agina, TAET master student at TO of Twente University. 2002/2003, Enschede-The Netherlands, Monday.24.June.2003.


People are always looking for new ways to educate their children. If they are having fun, they learn better. Computer animation can be used to make very exciting and fun animations into which education and training can easily be incorporated.

It is much more interesting to learn math for example when the letters are nice and colorful and flying around your TV screen instead of solving problems on plain black and white paper. Other subjects such as science, English, foreign language, music, and art can also be thought by using computer animation.

Instructors can also use computer animation to demonstrate things visually exactly how they want to since they have control of every aspect of the animation. It can be used to show how things come together and work together. In science for example, the computer animation might be used to show how our solar system works, and in math, a computer animation might show a student how one can algebraically manipulate specific equation. Computer animation is a very useful tool in education and training. A lot of things like chemistry, physics, … etc are too small to see, handle, doing experiments on, or even trying to imagine them like atoms and molecules for example. Computer animation is the perfect tool for those things because instructors can create realistic models of those things like atoms and molecules from the data they have and look at the way these molecules will interact with each other. They can get a real animation of their experiments and look at it from different angles. Therefore, they can make an animation experiment exactly like the realistic in the lab with regard to materials and results. Therefore, computer animation also allows instructors to do things that would be extremely hard to do in real life. For example, the chemist is able to construct models of molecules out of little spheres with sticks connecting them and then explore them. Animation is used in visualization to show the time dependent behavior of complex systems.

Generally, the common benefits and advantages of the animation in education and training can be cited in the following items:

1. Skill and ability Improvement

The interactive animation takes less time to learn student complex things and makes them enjoy more to learn difficult things. Education and training are higher when information presented via computer animation systems than traditional classroom lectures. Using an interactive animation will solve the problem of the imagination-skill in education and training. Therefore, the ability to practice new concepts in a risk-free environment improves learners' skills and abilities. Its important to mention that computer animation is also improves the skills and ability of instructors because they will be able to improve and change their way of teaching to be better.

2. Interactivity

Interactivity is a mutual action between the learner, learning system, and learning material. Learners will be faster to learn, and have better attitudes toward learning when using interactive animation especially if the other techniques like audio and video are used.

3. Engagement

Interactive learning with live-action animation, simulation, video, audio, graphics, feedback, expert advice, and questions and answers keep learners interested and reinforces skills. Because it is exciting, challenging, and fun to use, it encourages learners to return to the program again and again and again over! Through continual practice, learning is absorbed and integrated into daily performance.

4. Flexibility and safety

A lot of things are dangerous to be carried out in the real-life learning such as experiments in physics and chemistry. Computer animation can offer the following issues:

  • Many experiments cannot be carried out in the classroom because they are dangerous, and yet learners will need these skills in the workplace. 
  • Animation programs can represent these dangerous events without the hazards.
  • If the learner were to make a mistake, the experiment can be repeated without injury.
  • Real-life experiences are not readily available, but an animated trip in the past brings the learner some feeling of what it must have been like.
  • The main flexible issue of the animation is to show the non-possible matters in the real-life learning.
  • Learners have more interaction with the content and are thus more likely to assimilate the knowledge, skills and concepts involved (Discovery Learning).

    5. Motivation

    Since the animation is inspired and interactive way for flexible education and training, learners will be more motivated to learn more and more. Learners will get more skills, which is the main reason to make them more motivated.

    6. Eliminates frustration

    Computer animation is a high-level way to measure the learners’ decision making. It can adapt to user’s choices and react in different way to explore what would happen if that case will apply. Computer animation allows learners to measure their abilities to perform a specific task or job without any risk. This will definitely help them to avoid frustration. Besides, the measurement of learner ability could be done for a huge number of learners with highly speed and cheap. This matter could be a critical point for ROI of education and training. Therefore, Learners will not encounter experiments that do not work as a result of faulty apparatus or techniques.

    7. Practicality

    Computer animation is capable of presenting true-to-life situations that learners face every day. Adults are very practical learners—they learn better when faced with real problems that have real consequences. Computer animation allows learners to learn-by-viewing, learn-by-doing or learn-by-coaching. All are effective methods for developing practical skill and increasing information retention.

    8. Consistent

    All learners learn the same principles and skills. Computer-Based Animation typically forces instructional designers to better organise and structure learning materials, and this alone can result in learning advantages.

    9. Immediate Feedback

    Learners will get an immediate feedback from the animation system that will enhance their skills and abilities. During the process of the animation, instructors can open free-discussion among learners, which will effect positively over the entire classroom. Its important to note that the learners’ feedback could be useful to improve the animation system itself!

    10. Attracting and holding attention

    Animation is useful when quickly getting and holding an audience's attention is important. For example, when the computer animating used to show invisible phenomena such as chemistry or physics interaction.

    11. Showing prototype designs Animation is a dynamic tool for designing objects that do not yet exist in reality. It offers perfect support for: - Architects designing buildings - Engineers envisioning structural designs - Equipment manufacturers building prototypes - Automobile manufacturers creating next year's model.

    12. Creating models of data Since animation can be so easily manipulated, it is a good tool for creating three-dimensional models using scientific data. For example, a researcher can create a model of: - A molecule - Ozone thickness based on atmospheric readings - The ocean floor based on sonar readings

    13. Showing processes or relationships not usually visible Since animation can show imagined objects in motion, it is ideal for demonstrating processes and relationships that are impossible to observe in reality. For example, geological events like earthquakes or erosion patterns

    14. Isolating specific actions in a complex sequence Animation can show motion for part of a complex operation, thus clarifying functions that would otherwise be impossible to isolate and view independently. For example, blood circulating through the body

    The disadvantages of the animation technology

    Generally, computer animation is similar to computer simulation with regard to some limitations in some education and training cases. The following are some possible limitations of using animation in education and training:

  • Some information of real-life learning will be lost in the animation program.
  • Computer animation programs may function well from a technical point of view, but they are difficult to fit into a curriculum.
  • Not be adapted to take into different student levels into account and consideration within a group or class. To implement this computer animation programs teachers must have certain programming technology and experiences. So it is not easy for every subject teachers.
  • During the experience of interaction with a computer animation or simulation program, the student is frequently asked to solve problems in which creativity is often the decisive factor to success. The fact that is, this creativity is more present in some pupils than in others is not taken into account by the animation or simulation programs. The mutual collaboration and discussion among students while using the software could be a solution for this.

    Some technical disadvantages of using animation technology in education:

  • Requires extensive memory and storage space: Since the animation consists of a series of graphic objects and mathematical calculations, it uses more system processing and storage resources than graphics and text.
  • Requires special equipment for a quality presentation: While some good animation can be created using a basic graphics package, producing quality animation requires specialized software and programming and educational knowledge.
  • Cannot depict actuality like video:

    Since animation is an artist's re-creation, it does not depict actual events or reality as and video does. Therefore, it cannot show specific people, places, or things. Animation is ideal for support in marketing, training, and research. It is best used to attract attention or to show processes and events that either do not exist in reality or are not apparent.


    Computer animation has many advantages than the traditional way of education and training. The motivation and skill improvement are the main benefits. The main goal of computer animation is to reduce learners’ time and useless effort of learning, and to make it more practical and task-oriented. Nevertheless, it also has some limitations that created some of disadvantages.



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