University of Worcester lecturer leads applied research in digital learning

Dr John Keenan in the Institute of Education received £9,000 from the Learning and Skills Improvement Service which he used to create animated ‘How To’ videos to demonstrate to trainee teachers how simple it is to use digital media as a teaching tool.

The use of animation for teaching has received positive feedback from pupils who have found it to be more engaging, and a good way of explaining difficult concepts and retaining information.

Dr Keenan, who came up with the concept with colleagues at the University of Worcester and Halesowen College, said: “The idea emerged from collaborative thinking. In working together we came up with the idea of using animation in the style of world-renowned education expert, Sir Ken Robinson’s Changing Educational Paradigms. Sir Ken’s video is hugely popular and has received over 9 million YouTube views.

“Our videos show how creating homemade animations using doodles is a great visual aid for teaching a lesson and can be easily and affordably done. There are all kinds of hang-ups about being able to draw, but we realised you don’t need to be an artist or technically minded to create one and they are hugely effective. Animation is a very useful tool for pupils to better understand a subject and it’s a great aid for those who find formal learning more challenging.

“As lecturers we get plenty of feedback on our modules, but I have never seen so many positive comments for one aspect of my teaching as the doodles. They always get plenty of laughs, which are great when you’re trying to engage a class.”

Dr John Keenan has been asked to present the video at Falmouth University’s Pedare Conference in September. The conference will look at leading research in e-learning and visual thinking. Dr Keenan’s invitation to present at this conference follows the presentation of his animation video at the Association for Learning Development in Higher Education Conference held in March.

For more details on this project visit the University of Worcester website: www.worcester.ac.uk