Benefits of Animation teaching in Biology

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Technology had a long history that started with the discovery of cutting stones and the art of making tools from it till the invention of smart technologies. Over this long period technology had evolved from stones and metal tools to digital and electronic tools.
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Effect of Animation in Teaching-Learning of Biology
Dr. Sarita Kumari
Assistant Professor
Department of Educational studies, Jamia Millia Islamia
New Delhi
Mr. Istyak Ali
Research Scholar
Department of Educational studies, Jamia Millia Islamia
New Delhi
Technology had a long history that started with the discovery of cutting stones and the art of
making tools from it till the invention of smart technologies. Over this long period technology had
evolved from stones and metal tools to digital and electronic tools. Along with its evolution, it had
transformed the manner in which people work and think. Today we apply digitalized and electronic
form of technologies in almost everything we do like for communication, transportation, gaining
information, writing, working at home or at office and in many more tasks that we perform. It had
also evaded the boundaries of school and influenced the mode of teaching; the pen and paper are
replaced by iPod and stylus, printed books are being digitalized into eBooks and conventional
classroom replaced by Animation to make pace with the digitalized world. The rationale behind this
paper is to unfold the historical evolution of Educational Technology as to trace the development of
Animation to understand its concept, to cull out its possible uses in a biology classroom and review
its effects on teaching-learning of biology.
This paper highlighted the great output of teachers and students in biology with the use of
animation in teaching-learning of biology. Basically this paper focused on that researches which
describe the role of the animation in the biological concepts. Animation supports teaching by
enabling multimedia use of technology, versatility in expressing content promote flexibility, aid in
instructional preparation and enhance learner’s interaction and participation in biology classroom,
all these factors makes teaching effective. The improved efficiency of teaching of biology will boost
learning among students by enhancing attention and increase retention, enhancing motivation,
developing ICTs skills, improving conceptual understanding of biological concept.
Key Words: Technology, Animation, Biology, Effect of Animation, Suggestion.
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Technology has altered the look and functionally of the society. World is becoming digitalized day
by day. This digitalization and electronic mode of communication had evaded the boundaries of
school and influenced the mode of teaching. Today, the pen and paper are replaced by iPod and
stylus, printed books are being digitalized into e-Books and conventional classroom placed by the
use of technological tools to make pace with the digitized world. The following paper traced the
evolution of Animation, its scope and effect of the biology teaching and learning.
Concept of Animation
Animations are the most known kind of pictorial forms. Animation is the rapid display of a
sequence of pictures on computer screen the word ‘animation’ is derived from the Latin word
‘anima’, meaning "life" or "soul." Thus, animation is the act of bringing something to life
(Balakenship). According to Baek and Layne animation is “the process of generating a series of
frames containing an object or objects so that each frame appears as an alteration of the previous
frame in order to show motion”.
In a general sense, the term ‘animation’ can refer to any display element that changes its attributes
over time. Taken this broadly, examples such as words that fly across the screen or objects that
vibrate, blink or change their colour would be regarded as ‘animation’. But animation in a stricter
sense can be interpreted as “a pictorial display that changes its structure or other properties over
time and which triggers the perception of continuous change” (Schotz & Lowe).
Gonzales proposed a broader definition of animation as “a series of varying images presented
dynamically according to user action in the ways that help the user to perceive a continuous change
over time and develop a more appropriate mental model of the task”.
Betrancourt and Tversky define “Animation refers to any application, which generates series of
frames so that each frame appears as an alternative for the previous one and where the sequence of
frames is determined either by the designer or the user”.
Science is a broad field that includes Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science, Biology
and Home Science. The two Greek words 'Bio' meaning life and 'logos' standing for study, when
joined give the word biology. It is therefore a systematic study of living objects. It covers all aspects
of living creatures their occurrence, nutrition, health, reproduction and inheritance. (Das, J.C, 1985)
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Animation in Biology
Certain process in biology like cell biology, RNA-polymerase, transcription, translation, molecular
biology, protein synthesis, osmosis, diffusion, anatomy of the body, dissection, circulatory system,
other may be has certain problem with the teaching-learning by traditional method and create many
confusions about the above concept of the biology. For the promotion of the better teaching-
learning of the biology much innovative method used by the teachers ‘time to time. The traditional
methods of the biological teaching have own important but some time these are less effective in the
promotion of the biological knowledge. Present scenario of the education is the era of technology to
promote the learning. Computer assisted programme is the new innovative approach to the scientific
knowledge and encounter with the many problems related to the scientific subject like chemistry,
physics and biology. Biology is basically the study of the living things and life process of the living
animals. By the nature biology also is a science which has some specific quality and characteristic
rather than other subject. In biology many time teachers feel failure in the understand of the
biological concept to the students and realise the need of some effective teaching learning material
for the improvement of the biological knowledge. Animated concept facilitated better condition to
the teaching and the learning of the biology. (Black, 2005; Whang,Tversky & Morrison, 2007). In
order to enable students to learn better, their advanced mental process skills have to be developed.
In other words, the skills needed in order to create solution for problems and learn by
comprehension instead of memorizing have to be given to students. Various authors have been
involved in major projects aimed at developing top quality animations for the teaching-learning of
biological events and process. In spite of an increasing availability of animations, particularly as
part of textbook packages, there has been little research into the value of animations versus static
illustrations in science teaching. The animation programs that have been used vary in their difficulty
to learn as well as in the time and cost of producing animations, but each has its own value.
McClean et al. (2005) are part of a consortium (The World Wide Web Instructional Committee at
North Dakota State University) that was formed to develop "high-quality animations" for the
teaching of cell and molecular biology. Animation as a distinctive technological tool can be used to
enhance the overall process of communication in pedagogy. Its effectiveness is mainly determined
by how the issues related to the basic elements of communication are addressed while preparing and
presenting animation instructional material. According to the ‘bottom-up’ model of animation
comprehension, the comprehension is primarily a process of encoding the information in the
external display, so that improving the display necessarily improves the understanding
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Effect of Animation on Teaching-Learning of Biology
Substantiating the use of Animation as a tool of instructional preparation, instruction delivery and
as a learning tool, it is evident that Animation certainly have an edge over other educational
technologies existed. Teaching activity in education and training process have an important role in
presenting permanent information to students. In order to enables students to learn better, their
advanced mental process skills have to be developed. In other words, the skills needed in order to
create solution for problems and learn by comprehension instead of memorizing have to be given to
students. Therefore, an effective science education has to be provided in school. Accordingly, in
science education teaching the skills for reaching information is much more important to providing
the available information is much more important to providing the available information to students
(Black, 2005; Tversky, & Morrison, 2007; Aksoy, 2012).
 Delivery of Content
Chief feature of Animation is the ‘interactivity with the content’. As illustrated in the earlier
section, the various animated software come loaded with many interactive tools that aid in
manipulation of content of the biology in numerous ways. Animations as moving illustrated
materials are used more often at schools to depict dynamic changes over time and location, and
illustrate phenomena or concepts that might be difficult to visualise (Mayer & Moreno, 2002; Ruiz,
Cook, & Levinson, 2009).The delivery of content promotes conceptual clarity among learners
Edward (2000) found that in mathematics, real time movements such as rotation and highlighting
supported the teaching of fraction and shapes (Smith, 2005). In traditional teaching settings it is a
difficult to describe the movement of electrons in an electric system, or chemical reactions between
substances. Computer animation is highly effective in demonstration of processes that cannot be
viewed naturally or that are difficult to demonstrate in the classroom or even in the laboratory
(Fleming, Hart, & Savage, 2000). On the basis of above studies we can say that animation promotes
delivery of content in the teaching-learning of biology.
 Promotes Flexibility
One of the most promising is the animation based learning environment. Animation is a dynamic
representation that can be used to make change and complex processes explicit to the learner
(Schnotz, & Lowe, 2003). Series studies have shown that learning in computer-based animations
environments enhanced the understanding of complex concepts and systems compared with
traditional learning environments that concentrate on verbal explanations (Park, 1994; Rieber, 1991;
Tversky, Bauer-Morrison, & Betrancourt, 2002).
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 Support Transfer of Knowledge
Transfer of knowledge is one of the key components of higher order thinking skills. More general
components of higher order thinking skills include raising questions, making comparisons,
resolving non-algorithmic and complex problems, coping with disagreement, identification of
hidden assumptions and planning scientific experiments (Zohar &Dori, 2003, Zohar,
2004).Animations may be relatively more effective for those with low prior knowledge, because it
shows the motion in a mechanical system explicitly, and do not rely on the learner’s ability to infer
motion from static diagrams. Earlier study findings showed that integrating animated concept
(Brain POP) in to learning process significantly increased the ability to transfer scientific and
technological knowledge of elementary school’s students (Rosen, Y. 2009).
 Enhance Learner’s Interaction and Participation in Classroom
Interaction is the main part of the effective teaching-learning of any subjects. With the help of
interaction students express their problem to the teachers. Both researchers and educational
practitioners have believed that animation would facilitate learning. In traditional classroom setup,
instructor often uses ‘chalk and talk’ method for teaching. Usually, learner’s attention in the
traditional classroom is directed by the explanation of the instructor and the text or static diagram
written on the blackboard. When students see a static diagram in the classroom, they may have to
mentally animate it to understand how the system works. Whereas, if they view the same course
content in animated form they merely have to perceive it as it(Tversky, & Morrison 2007; Nielsen
1995, Hall, 2012; Mayer & Moreno, 2002).
 Enhance Attention
Attention is the most crucial to teaching-learning of biology at every level of education system in
our country. Animation aids in attracting the attention of the learners through its multimedia effects
as mentioned by (Tversky& Morrison, 2002). In an experimental study by Sanger, Brecheisen &
Hynek (2001) on can animation enhance student’s attention about diffusion and osmosis in biology,
it was found that students in the experimental group were more attentive, actively involved, asking
questions and making connections with what they have learned before, whereas students in the
control group were less attentive and cerates many confusions about the concept of the osmosis and
diffusion. Like other observation founded by Aksoy (2012) in their also experimental studydescribe
that students with the animation were captivated.
 Increase Retention
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Animations also enhance the retention of information by providing the new way of teaching-
learning. It gives the more senses involvement in the learning by which retention level increase and
learning become more effective. (K. Abdul Gafoor & C. Shemi2007). Study of the Gokhan Akshoy
(2012) related to the effectiveness of the animation in the science analyse the use of animation in
the scientific concept also increase the retention ability of the students (7th grade).
 Improving Conceptual Understanding
Conceptual understanding is the important part of the any type learning. In the learning of the
biological concept the understanding has own respect and play an important role for the promotion
of the biology learning. In animation with instructional learning delivered material of any concept
makes more beneficial for the students (M. Kannan, 2007). Instruction involving animations has
been shown to be most effective at facilitating an understanding of processes of biology (Ardac and
Akaygun 2005; Barak and Dori 2005; McClean et al. 2005). In another study, students who viewed
animations illustrating the molecular processes of diffusion and osmosis were less likely to exhibit
misconceptions and were less likely to have anthropomorphic views of matter (Sanger et al. 2001).
Similarly, in biology, students who viewed an animation cell death scored significantly higher on
the subsequent than those who did not view it (Stith 2004).
 Enhance Motivation
Use of animations has a significant effect in teaching-learning of the abstract topics of science and
technology courses. Use of animations together with teaching methods and techniques and having
the students actively participate to the process ensure the provision of an effective and efficient
education. Studies have pointed out that using animation in the lesson helps to increase learning
motivation. It makes difficulty understood problems easily understandable. Students explained the
necessity and feasibility of the animation “such teaching is more interesting and engaging,
animation helps to understand the topic easily and clearly (Soika, K., Reiska, P., &Mikser, R., 2010,
Moreno et al., 2001).
 Increase Curiosity
When we talk about the curiosity with respect to the education technology we consider the
arguments of the S. K. Mitra that the education technology is that which developed the curiosity in
students about learning.” on the analysis of this comment we conclude that animation also a
technology which is used in the many educational subjects like biology, chemistry, language
education and other also. Animation as learning tools increases the curiosity in the students in the
learning of the scientific concept including biological concept also (Barak, Ashkar, &Dori, 2011).
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 Academic Achievement
Animation technique enables higher academic achievement in comparison to traditional teaching
methods is in line with the results of the previously conducted studies (Frailich, Kesner, &Hofstein,
2009; Sanger, Brecheisen, &Hynek, 2001).
Pros and Cons of Animation Technology for Biology
Reflecting the use and effect of Animation, certain benefits of this technology can be concluded for
Biology teaching and learning. These are follows:
 It supports to the versatility in expressing biological content (Nakhleh, 1992).
 Helps the teacher to the delivery of content in the effective way.
 Helps in the gaining and sustaining student’s attention, retention and motivation that foster
positive attitudes towards their learning.
 Improve conceptual understanding among learners about typical topic of biology.
 Helps teachers in explaining the abstract and complex concepts of Biology through visual
interactivity. (Levin, Anglin & Carney, 1987; Weiss, 2002).
 Enable teachers to adopt ICTs Skills. (Nimavathi&Gnanadevan2001).
 It provides the better condition to the conventional classroom and gives the better outcome
of the teaching and learning. (Tversky, & Morrison 2007)
 Help the learners to visualize something which can’t be seen easily in the real world
(Ainsworth, 2008).
 It provides a valuable way to communicate dynamic, complex sequences of biological
events more effectively than text or a conventional method. (Stith, 2004; McCleanet al.,
2005; O’ Day, 2006).
Limitation of Animation in Biology
Every education technology apart from aiding the teaching learning process will have some
drawback too. Critically reflecting at use and effect of the Animation, following short comings
have emerged, listed below:
 Replacing the conventional teaching method with the animation in some cases it can
even hold back rather than improve teaching. (Campbell et al., 2005).
 Use of any technology has importance and trace out some special training for it use so
it may even not promote learning depending on how they are used (Mayer &Moreno,
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 Availability of too much information can be confusing to the learner (Levy, 2002) and
is difficult to grasp.
 There should be special technological tools for the use of animation in the biology.
 If the teacher over emphasized the animation technology i.e., the focus is more on the
technology than on the lesson itself, it will distract the learners. (Smith, et al.2005).
 The animated concept is many time costly effective for the teaching and learning.
It would not be wrong to say that Animation has the potential to revolutionize the way teachers
teach as quoted by the
 The use of animation in biology is simple and does not require any traditional things.
Animations have three characteristics. These are the pictures, display of certain movements
and simulation (Weiss, Knowlton, & Morrison, 2002). So there is need of the basic
knowledge of the animation creation for any particular biological concept.
 Teacher must also pay attention to the amount of content they are choosing should be
according to the learner ability.
 The use animation in the biology also influenced by many other technical factors like
availability of electricity, technical staff and situation so there. So there should be good
arrangement of basic condition for technical use.
 Sometime Animation creates disturbance among student if the making of animation is not
according to student’s ability so teachers should be always keep in mind it.
 In the above discussion we concluded that animation mostly effective in the biology so
animation also used by the teachers in other subject likes language, social science.
 There should be additional management for the use of animation in education.
In the era of education technology, it’s a compelling need to provide the technological
teaching and learning in biology to the teachers and the students of this digitalized world. As
this not only leads to the development of ICT skills but also provides continuity with their
global environment. Animation has emerged as a promising instruction tool that could
impact on biology through digital convergence. The use of the Animation technique in
biology support to expression, flexibility engagement of content that could be controlled by
use has much positive effect on the biology (teaching & learning) as evident from the
researchers and reviews across the globe. Animation supports teaching of biology by
enabling versatility in expressing content, promote motivation, promote flexibility, transfer
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of knowledge and enhance learner’s interaction and participation in biology classrooms, all
these factors makes biology teaching effective. The improved efficiency of teaching will
boost biology learning among students by enhancing attention, increase retention, increase
curiosity, enhancing motivation, improve conceptual understanding of biology. The
Animation technology is relatively new to the Indian context which is basically a form of
pictorial presentation, has become the most prominent feature of technology-based learning
environments. Animation refers to simulated motion pictures showing movement of drawn
objects. Educational animation is one of the most elegant tools for presenting materials for
learners. Its significance in helping learners to understand and remember information has
greatly increased since the advent of powerful graphics-oriented computers. It may be very
useful for learning about some topics in the natural sciences, where educational modelling
and preparing materials convenient for learning can reduce the time required in class and
increase the efficiency of the educational process.
 Aksoy, G. (2012). “The Effects of Animation Technique on the 7th Grade Science and Technology
Course”. Creative Education, 3(3). pp., 304-308.
 A. Olalekan, A., &Oludipe, O. (2016). “Effects of Computer Simulation Instructional Strategy on
biology students’ academic Achievement in DNA replication and transcription”. Asian Journal of
Educational Research, 4(2), pp., 113-12.
 Balim, A. G., Inel, D., &Evrekli, E. (2012). “The effects the using of concept cartoons in science
education on students' academic achievements and enquiry learning skill perceptions”. Elementary
Education Online. 7(1).
 Barak, M., Ashkar, T., & J. Dori, Y. (2011). “Learning science via animated movies: Its effect on
students’ thinking and motivation”. Computers & Education, 56(3), pp., 839-846.
 Goodison, T. (2002). Learning with ICT at primary level, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning,
18, pp., 282-29.
 McClean, P., et al. (2005). “Molecular and cellular biology animations: Development and impact on
student learning”. Cell Biology Education, 28, pp., 359-372.
 O’ Day, D.H (2006). Animated cell biology: A quick & easy method for marketing effective high-
quality teaching animations. CBE Life Science Education, 5, pp., 155-163.
 Rosen, Y. (2009). “The Effect of Animation Based Online Learning Environment of Transfer of
Knowledge and Motivation for science and Technology learning”. Journal of Educational
Computing Research., pp., 450-467.
 Ruhela, S.P. (1999). History of educational technology. In essential of educational technology., pp.,
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 Stith, B. J (2004). Use of animation in teaching cell biology. Cell Biology Education.