Animation Learning: This Is Your Brain on a Whiteboard
— By Adri Wong | July 18, 2010
Here’s the funny thing about the illustrated Youtube lecture series “RSA Animate” (put together by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA)): Several of its best lectures address how understanding the cognitive nuances of the human brain can help us achieve gains in social progress. At the same time, the animated lectures are themselves delightfully successful at piquing the brain with movement, shape, text, and sound – and with the simplest of technologies: a marker, a whiteboard, an arm. Most impressively, the lectures manage to engage the viewer’s attention without compromising the sophistication of their content. Watching clip after clip, I feel like a caveman held rapt by the flickering light of the fire. A caveman learning about deliberative democracy.
The other stimulating aspect of these RSA Animate shorts is that they allow the viewer to observe the concurrent workings of two creative, innovative minds at the same time. The illustrations drawn to accompany the lecturer’s verbally delivered thoughts are infinitely better than any powerpoint slide because they are interpretive instead of reductive or summarizing. They are the result of words filtered through the real-time visual processes of a human being capable of keying into references, symbols, puns, and jokes. They represent a form of cognitive organization markedly different from the kind in which the lecturer is engaged. Double the brainpower goes into each second of these RSA lectures, making them feel twice as alive.Tweet