Video is the ideal format for creating educational content.

For starters, the brain processes visual input 60,000 times faster than any other kind.

It also fits multiple styles of learning: visual, auditory, verbal, logical – you name it.

And you can use video to explain wildly complex things… simply!

Well, guess what: animated education videos are even more powerful than their live-action counterparts. That’s because their memorable, distinctive visuals hook into anyone’s brain faster and stronger than a cat tears into the newest, most expensive furniture in the house!

But even something as powerful as animated education video needs to be done right.

You can’t just slap any old thing together and hope that it hypnotizes your students into learning.

Here’s how you do it instead…

Use sequencing and scaffolding

If you need to make a powerful animated education video, you want to follow the two basic principles of instructional design:


  • Sequencing, or breaking down your ideas into smaller, easily digestible chunks of information.



  • And scaffolding, or using the simpler concepts as a foundation to build up to the more complex material.


Here’s how you might use it in practice…

Let’s say that you want to create an educational video about volcanoes. Now, you could just explain that volcanoes exist, describe what they do, and mention several famous examples.

Or you could use sequencing and scaffolding, and instead give information in a logical progression:

  • You would talk briefly about the different layers of planet Earth, and its molten core.
  • You’d give a quick overview of plate tectonics, and how we’re essentially floating in a lake of magma on top of some immense flat rocks.
  • Then, you would explain how these two pieces of information connect: geological activity makes volcanoes possible, and here’s how they work.
  • Finally, you can build on this basic understanding how you see fit: by talking about famous volcanic eruptions, or what a geologist can learn by studying volcanoes, or what to do in the event an active volcano erupts and your students find themselves in danger!

The principles of sequencing and scaffolding are universal. They will help you structure all kinds of learning content, not just animated education videos!

Meet your students where they are

Marketers need to consider their customers’ stages of awareness and levels of sophistication and calibrate their messaging accordingly. The same applies to you when making animated education videos.

You can explain the same concept at different levels of complexity, depending on who you’re talking to. For instance, physics majors who are taking an elective social psychology course will probably need a different approach than psychology students majoring in that same field!

One great example of intentional, adaptive messaging comes from children’s shows like Blue’s Clues, or Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood (even though the latter isn’t animated).

Mr. Rogers in particular had a veritable superpower: making young kids pay attention and internalize moral lessons about being good and behaving well. Show us the highest-paid copywriter or marketer on the planet, and we bet you dollars to donuts they couldn’t pull it off!

So, if you want your animated education videos to resonate with students, consider who they are and what they want to get out of your content, and craft it accordingly:

  • Talk about benefits and outcomes they care about.
  • Frame the importance of the lessons in a way that’s relevant to them.
  • Revise and edit your message carefully to disarm possible objections and minimize distractions.


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Engage them with questions and knowledge gaps

Everyone and their mother likes to say that video is “naturally engaging.”

Well, so is seeing stuff up close and personal with our own eyes – and yet we go through life with noses buried in screens!

Just having great visuals doesn’t cut it. You want your students to attempt to interact with the content. Intellectually, that is.

You can do it in a number of ways, but the two we love the most are:

  1. Ask interesting questions. Don’t just explain stuff and expect people to care. They can Google whatever you have to say in like two seconds, you ain’t impressing anybody! Instead, encourage your students to think, to guess, to theorize. Ask why they think something happened one way and not the other. Point out a discrepancy or an inconsistency and ask them what’s behind it. Ask them what would they do in a hypothetical scenario your video is describing. This will get their gears turning!
  2. Create knowledge gaps. Set up an unresolved mystery, an unanswered question, or an unexplained phenomenon… then tease the future answer, but leave them guessing. Later in the video, circle back and close the gap with new information! This is especially effective if you reveal the information your students need to figure it out for themselves, and then confirm their theory – making them feel like geniuses and cementing their learning!

For best results, consider using both techniques in your animated education videos. A deeply intriguing question followed by buildup and a dramatic reveal later on is far more memorable than just a question followed by an answer!

Give action items and homework

The best part of learning is, it doesn’t end with the lesson. On the contrary, that’s when the most crucial part of education begins…

learning more on one’s own!

Sure, it sounds like a fantasy indulged by an out-of-touch teacher. But you can get your students to learn more on their own, believe it or not!

To do that, just try to give your students something to go on at the end of each video. You could:

  • Link to more resources on the subject.
  • End with a thought-provoking question they can’t help but mull over.
  • Give them one or more action item to complete (the easier the better).
  • Invite them to comment and discuss the lesson with other students.
  • Explain how the lesson from the video is relevant to their everyday lives.

Bottom line is, you definitely want to do your utmost to engage viewers during your animated education video. But sending them off with food for thought or an actionable task to complete can do far more for their learning than even the most meticulously designed and engaging lesson!

Beyond animated education video: what else is it good for?

Using animation to help students learn is just one of the many things you could do. There are dozens, if not hundreds, more!

Animated video is a flexible tool that can help you tackle many, many challenges: from selling your products and services, to training employees, to onboarding new customers, and any other objective where persuasion, education, and entertainment are all equally important.

So how are you supposed to decide where to invest your time, energy, and money?

It’s our job to stay on the cutting edge of video marketing – so you don’t have to!

For example, would you like to find out 10 ways a simple whiteboard and cartoon animation video can help your company grow and prosper? Then download our free checklist to find out:

Get your copy of “Top 10 Ways to Use a Whiteboard Video”