Have you ever wondered what whiteboard videos are and why they’re popular?
They also go by RSA animate, animated doodling, or scribe videos, but whatever you’d like to call them, you’ll distinguish them easily from other types of animation videos when you see the artist’s hand drawing.
The whiteboard style of animation was first popularized by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), a British non-profit organization. In 2009 they started producing a series of videos where an artist illustrated the speaker’s words. These videos went viral and became immensely popular on YouTube. One of the videos, a talk by Dan Pink, received more than 7 million views.
The term whiteboard animation comes from the fact that the animation is made by recording an artist while they’re drawing on a whiteboard. This recording is then sped up so that it matches the audio, creating the ever awe-inspiring whiteboard video.
Nowadays, whiteboard videos are created using software. An artist creates the content digitally, places a hand holding a marker over the content and by using software creates the illusion that this hand is drawing the images appearing before our eyes. The advantage of this method is that it’s much easier for the artist to make changes to the animation if the client requests so.
In 2012, psychologist Richard Wiseman wanted to test the effectiveness of whiteboard videos, so he made two videos. In the first one you could only see his head and hear him talking. In the second one, you could hear the exact same audio while watching an artist draw on a whiteboard. Overall, there was a 15% rise in recall across the memory questions for those who had watched the whiteboard video. On one of the questions in Dr. Wiseman’s research, 92% recalled the answer correctly – 22% more than those who had watched the ordinary video.
There are a few reasons why whiteboard videos hold attention and increase retention.
People learn better when they’re having fun. Fun works! And it works because it doesn’t feel like work! Let’s be honest, absolutely everything is easier when we’re in a good mood. Since learning while having fun doesn’t seem like an obligation, but provides a good time, even those who have some sort of inhibition towards learning, tend to lower their defense walls and absorb information presented.
Another factor worth mentioning is anticipation. As we watch the artist’s hand start creating a shape, we anticipate the final form. As the final form reveals itself, dopamine is released and this whole process is what increases retention.
Whiteboard animation is highly engaging and sparks curiosity in viewers. It communicates information in a clear and effective way. This structured and very to-the-point style works better with audiences who are 25 years old and older.
If you’d like to learn more about explainer videos, go ahead and download our ebook!