The use of music and animation in eLearning

Published in Concepts
Friday, 22 February 2013 14:37
Do you think that introductory music and animation clips help, motivate and engage the participants of an e-learning course? Do genre, volume level and duration affect their concentration? Do music and animation clips constitute an attention grabber or an annoyance factor? Apparently, views are conflicting and experiences differ.

The use of music and animation in an e-learning course


Whether a piece of music or a video clip are tasteful or appropriate is completely subjective. However, a large majority of professionals involved in the e-Learning field believe that sound and animation are tone setters, refreshing, relaxing, mood shifting, alerting, entertaining and generally a quick and effective way to connect the participants’ emotions with the course.

According to various studies, the use of high quality, short, content-relevant, age-relevant and well-produced video, graphics and music clips can stimulate audience interest, without being annoying or distracting.

Don’t do

According to "E-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning" by Ruth Clark and Richard Mayer (Pfeiffer, 2011), the best practice is “don’t do it”, as videos and music clips rather interfere than enhance learning. According to the research of Clark and Mayer, static graphics are better than distracting animation, while other visuals and music clips are mostly decorative, thus with no apparent usefulness.

Truth is that music and animation clips require sound and open plan offices are hardly the right place to blast the speakers. Moreover, for some people it’s annoying to listen to the same introduction over and over again, while, last but not least, there is the issue of copyrights. Bottom line is that many professionals believe that a solid, relevant and motivating learning content is the only thing that matters. The rest is just noise.  

There is a right way and a wrong way
Duration, volume and genre, as well as the option to “mute” or “skip” greatly affect audience impact and should determine the music and video selection framework. Consequently, the introductory sound clips, videos or animated graphics that will be used for a course, should be:

  • Short
  • Recorded in a low volume
  • Audience and age relative
  • Content-related

Finally, the issue of copyrights should not be overlooked. It is complicated, yet not difficult to overcome. One solution is to use library or stock music and the other is to purchase a software that can create sound clips through an internal library of themes, such as Camtasia Studio, Digital Juice, SmartSound and Cinescore. There is also royalty-free music, which can be easily found in the following 34 Websites to Download Royalty Free and Creative Commons Music for Free

An informed and substantiated decision is usually based on diverse information. Below you can find links relevant to the use of music and animation in e-learning, as well as their importance.

Read 2096 times Last modified on Friday, 22 February 2013 14:55
Christopher Pappas

Christopher Pappas is founder of The eLearning Industry's NetworkCurrently, the eLearning Industry has a network of more than 75,000 professionals involved in the eLearning Industry and runs the following sites:

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He is also the Founder and Owner of the Instructional Design and eLearning Professionals’ Group (64K+) (, which is the largest online community of professionals involved in the eLearning Industry at LinkedIn.

Christopher holds an MBA, and an M.Ed. (Learning Design) from BGSU.

If I can be valuable to you do not hesitate to contact me!

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