Hello, all. One day, a few months back, I was watching an episode of Brain Games on NatGeo. For those who are unaware of the show, in a nutshell, it’s a ‘sciencey’ show that focuses on how the human brain works. This episode, called Motion Commotion (click HERE to watch the episode), had a piece devoted to motion-based optical illusions where a static image appeared to be shifting, rotating, oscillating, etc. due entirely to how the brain interpreted the visual information it was given.
Another example from the show focused on what the makers of Brain Games refer to as Swimmers (essentially, the illusion of fish-like shapes swimming through water). In this illusion, only the background was moving…the fish-like objects were 100% stationary…yet, it appeared as though the fish were the objects not just moving (right to left), but SWIMMING! That is, right to left, with a bit of bobbing up and down.
After watching the episode, I really started thinking how this ‘tricking of the brain’ could be applied to my eLearning content development process. So, I decided to develop two identical slides in Captivate 9, modeling the Swimmers illusion. Here’s what I found:
In the first,
-I randomly placed nearly 2-dozen fish-like objects on the stage.
-I then added swimming animations to each of them separately (motion path right to left and custom path up and down) – I realize I could have duplicated 1 fish and 1 animation to save time, but the goal of this resides elsewhere.
-I filled them with a solid green fill
-I filled the slide background a bluish, (watery) color.
-The whole process took me just under 2 hours.
In the second, starting from scratch,
-I randomly placed the same number of fish-like objects
-But this time, I filled them with a vertical gradient (green and brown)
-And this time I added a large rectangle to act as the background. I filled it, too, with a gradient, but a horizontal one instead (6 gradients spanning two blue colors…light, dark, light, dark, light, dark with equal spacing)
-I gave the blue background shape a simple left to right motion path, and voila! Swimming fish!
-This one took me just over 40 minutes to complete. Reducing my time by roughly two-thirds!
The key here, is the use of contrasting gradients that led to the illusion of motion (just as the episode said!).
While the graphics themselves are rather basic, the goal of this blog is to opening your mind to the consideration of strategically leveraging the power of a learner's brain during the development process in order to aid in the learning process. Check out the end result by clicking on my demo, floaters_demo.mp4 (To add to the illusion, one could even incorporate sound, as I have in my full version, or a background with an underwater scene).
I hope this has been helpful, and I hope you, like me, will continue to think in terms of saving time while developing content by using the power of the brain to fill in the blanks!
Until next time, shoot for the stars and BE the YOND!
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