Independent Learning of Digital Animation

Independent Learning of Digital Animation

May-Chan Yuen (Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, Kajang, Malaysia), Ah-Choo Koo (Multimedia University, Cyberjaya, Malaysia) and Peter C. Woods (Multimedia University, Cyberjaya, Malaysia)
DOI: 10.4018/IJICTE.2018100108

Abstract

Digital animation (DA) is a field of art and design which requires certain level of design and computer skills with creativity and storytelling. Learners are required to spend a considerable amount of time on their own for practicing the skills after their formal classes. Guided by connectivism and Meyer's factors of independent learning, this article aims at defining independent learning from digital learners' perspective and, identifying factors influencing their moves of independent learning. Twenty digital animation students enrolled at three higher education institutions in Malaysia participated in focus group discussions (FGD). Overall thematic analysis revealed that the students' perspective of independent learning corroborated with most student-centred learning concepts. The digital learners were highly dependent on the Internet for their learning; the students however struggled in their pursuit of becoming an independent learner due to fear of failure (or kiasuism), and self-criticism.
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Introduction

Digital Animation (DA) is a field of art and design which requires a certain level of design and computer skills with creativity and storytelling. Students are required to spend a considerable amount of time on their own, for practising digital animation skills after their formal classes. Connectivism is the theoretical underpinning for this study. “Learning (defined as actionable knowledge) can reside outside of ourselves (within an organisation or a database), and is focused on connecting specialized information sets, the connections… are more important than our current state of knowing…” (Siemens, 2005, p. 4).

Online videos, in the form of screen-captured tutorials, the ‘making-ofs’ and behind-the-scenes, provide insights to DA learners about the production process. Video channels, special interest groups, and web portals provide the best animation works that students could be inspired by. The social media sites allow students to participate and connect with others outside the classroom. “New information is continually being acquired… The ability to draw distinctions between important and unimportant information is vital” (Siemens, 2005, p. 4). The learners are empowered for their learning choice and decision making. Instructors used to be the sole experts that students could turn to for learning in academia, but now the students have the choice to refer to anyone in the connected world, engaging in rich knowledge content packaged in the form of multimedia. There is even an observation that DA students are dependent on video for their self-learning, and learning from industry experts (Lynda.com, n.d.). In creating higher impact for learning, rich media such as online videos should be given adequate attention on its design such as length, interactivity, and interface (Lagerstrom, Johanes, & Ponsukcharoen, 2015; Geri, Winer & Zaks, 2017). An addition of the “interactivity” feature in online video has “significantly improved completion percentage as well as average viewing time for both long and short video lectures by more than 20%” (Geri, at al., p. 108). Lagerstrom et al. (2015), on the other hand, were curious about online video viewing behaviour in relation to learners’ learning advantages.

The purpose of the study is to examine how DA students define their independent learning, and to identify factors influencing their moves for independent learning in the digital era. DA students frequently go through study challenges, struggles, and ‘eureka’ moments. These aspects of observation have become a motivation for the researchers to conduct the study through qualitative approach.

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