10 Amazing Ways Animations and 3D Animations Make Safety Training Better

Safety training can come in many forms or “delivery methods.” For example, there’s field-based training, classroom-style instructor-led training, written materials, video-based training, interactive eLearning courses, and more.

In general, each of these different training delivery methods can be effective for safety training. And that’s why ANSI Z490.1, the US national standard for Criteria for Accepted Practices in Safety, Health, and Environmental Training, suggests using a variety of them in a blended learning solution. And it’s not just Z490.1 that feels that way; most learning experts do. For example, you can read more about on the topic in the classic book Evidence-Based Training Methods by Dr. Ruth Colvin Clark or on our blog in our post on blended learning.

But within that blended learning safety training solution, different training delivery methods may have different benefits for different specific safety training needs. In this article, we’re going to look at a few benefits of safety training that includes animations and even 3D animations. These animated training materials would typically be delivered as videos or eLearning courses.

Benefits of Animation and 3D Animation in Safety Training

Before we go too far, let’s begin by making it clear what we mean by “animation” and “animation with 3D graphics.”

This video clip, made up on some highlights from Convergence Training eLearning courses, should help make it clear.

Now that you’ve got the general idea, let’s take a look at a few specific examples and benefits that the use of animation and 3D animation provides.

(The images in the safety training highlight video above and the samples from specific safety training courses below are all from our health and safety training library.)

Illustrating Things That Are Too Dangerous to Film or Demonstrate in Real Life

Animation allows you to create a video that shows something that would be too dangerous to film or watch in real life.

For example, watch the short sample of the Compressed Gas Cylinder Safety eLearning course below.

Obviously, you wouldn’t want to shoot a cylinder of compressed gas through a wall or ceiling like this animated video shows. But showing it IS an effective way to demonstrate the dangers of these cylinders.

Showing “Hidden” Views

Another thing you can do with animated videos that you can’t do with a normal video is show something that would ordinarily by hidden from view (and from a camera) in real life. As an example, check the Metal on Metal eLearning course sample below.

This hidden view makes it much easier to understand how to use the slide hammer and what it’s actually doing.

Making the Invisible Visible

By using animation, safety training can visually represent things that are normally invisible in order to increase your employee’s learning. For example, consider this sample from a Pneumatic Tools Safety eLearning course and notice how the sound waves created by the tool are represented.

This kind of illustration makes it easier for your workers to immediately understand what the safety training is talking about.

Presenting “Break-Away” Views

Another benefit of animated safety training is that you can show a “break-away” view that explains how the different pieces of something fit together and what each piece is. For example, consider this sample from a Steel Erection Safety eLearning course.

The point when the base plate and anchor bolts are identified is something you can’t match with ordinary video.

Presenting Extreme Close-Ups and Zoom-Ins

Animations also allow extreme close-ups and “zoom-in’s” that help explain concepts. Take the sample from this Mold Awareness eLearning course as an example.

You can’t zoom in that closely on mold with your phone camera, can you?

Illustrating Abstract Concepts That Are Difficult to Explain or Visualize

Animation can also be a very powerful tool for explaining abstract concepts that are otherwise hard to explain or understand.

For an example, check out the Forklift Safety sample below, and note how it visualizes the “stability triangle.”

The illustrated green triangle and the pendulum inside it that shifts as the center of balance shifts is a very effective way to illustrate the stability triangle and to demonstrate how the center of gravity on a loaded forklift changes.

Not Presenting Distracting Backgrounds

One effective way to help employees learn from safety training visuals is to “hide” or not present background details that may be distracting.

But that’s hard or impossible to do with photos and normal video.

But it’s easy to do with animated videos. Take the Crane and Hoist Rigging Safety sample below as an example.

By not presenting the background, the animated video makes it easier for employees to focus on what’s important.

Adding Highlights to Further Explain

It’s also very easy to add highlights to animated video in order to explain things. The highlights used to illustrate blind spots in this course on Heavy Equipment Visibility are a good example of that.

The highlights make it much easier for employees to immediately understand what blind spots are, where they are, why they exist, and (of course) how to avoid being in them.

Use of Icons for More Effective Communication

Icons can be a very effective way to communicate visually, and it’s easy to add icons to animated video. For example, consider the red Xs and green checkmarks in the Hydraulic Fluid Safety sample video below.

It’s not a BIG thing, but the Xs and checkmarks make it immediately obvious what’s safe and what’s not.

Adding Labels and Pointers

Another thing you can do very easily with animated videos is to add labels and pointers to make it clear what the audio is talking about. For example, watch this video on Welding Safety and see how the label and pointers help employees identify the filter plates.

This use of labels and pointers makes it easier for employees to immediately understand what’s being discussed and focus their attention appropriately.

Conclusion: Animations and 3D Animations Make Safety Training Better

That was a quick list of 10 ways animations and 3D animations can make safety training more effective. There are more ways, too, and we may return to this topic in the future.

Any ideas of your own?

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Jeffrey Dalto

Jeffrey Dalto

Jeffrey Dalto is an Instructional Designer and the Senior Learning & Development Specialist at Convergence Training. Jeff has worked in education/training for more than twenty years and in safety training for more than ten. You can follow Jeff at LinkedIn as well.

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