The Role of Animation In Teaching and Learning Of Secondary School Students In Nigeria
Dynamic concepts are difficult to explain in traditional media such as still slides. Animations seem to have the advantage of delivering better representations of these concepts. A wide range of subject areas such as chemistry and computer sciences are currently using animation to demonstrate their course contents (e.g. Kehoe, Stasko and Taylor, 2001; Payne, Chesworth and Hill, 1992; Dyck, 1995; Harrison, 1995; Tversky and Morrison, 2001). Similarly, Kesner and Linzey (2005) remarked that animation can be applied in the study of physiology, such as presenting modules covering the muscular, respiratory, urinary, cardiovascular and nervous systems. There are claims about the advantage of using animation over traditional paper-based explanation. Lowe (2004) suggested that animations have the potential to serve both affective function and cognitive function. Affective function refers to portraying things in a humorous, spectacular, or bizarre way so that learners will be attracted to pay additional attention on the learning materials and motivated to learn. Cognitive function refers to the clear presentation of dynamic matters (which might be abstract and difficult) that can allow learners to understand in an easier way. Compared with static images and text, animations can present procedural information (e.g. biochemical reaction steps, physiological mechanisms) more explicitly as they show the steps in an orderly manner. Hegarty (2005) mentioned that animation is used for representing the mechanical motions directly while static images could just show the motions indirectly through arrows and phase diagrams. She carried on suggesting that animations bring “more realistic representations, that is more isomorphic to the reality they represent”
(Hegarty, 2005: 451). Moreover, we think animations allow representations of objects that are either too microscopic (e.g. viruses, nuclei) or even invisible (e.g. electricity current, magnetic force) for the naked eyes. Details can be viewed from angles not feasible in real life. A number of empirical studies showed promising results animations have on learning. Trevisan, Oki and Senger (2009) compared two groups of students who used a video of traditional lecture and animation as the learning material respectively. The learning topic was about follicular dynamics, a topic in physiology. The students invited for the study were from an undergraduate reproductive physiology course in six universities in USA. An immediate one-off test was used as the evaluation instrument. The results in general showed that those used animation as the learning material got significantly higher marks.