Doane University needed a way to quickly and simply explain their new online learning program to potential students. Online classes get a bad rep: the course load can either feel too easy, or it can feel impossible to keep up. Some courses are so impersonal, they might as well be run by robots. Students can feel totally alone in the learning process and unsupported by the institution.
Our solution was a series of short and upbeat animated videos to show how the Open Learning Academy is just as personal and fulfilling as classes on campus. These videos filled in the gaps for skeptical students considering Doane’s online courses, informing the viewer of the personal support they’ll receive with every class, the quality of the course, and how it will fit into their educational journey. Our approach was simple, straight-forward, and engaging.
While Doane University was still in the process of building out the website for the Open Learning Academy, we needed to create three short “explainer” videos to get people excited about the possibility of completing an online course.
We began with writing the script, aiming for a helpful, nurturing, and lighthearted tone. Although it needed to come across as legitimate and show the viewer that the Open Learning Academy was on par with Doane’s in-person classes, we didn’t want it to sound pretentious. Doane knew they wanted a very specific voiceover, so we took extra care in selecting an actress that fit the brief.
Visually, we began with a series of icons Doane planned to use on the Open Learning Academy website. Playing off of this style, we began mapping out the script and sketching storyboards. While we worked closely with the Doane team, we were able to implement these icons into the animation, but had the opportunity to take them in our own direction. An important asset was the character we’d use: Doane needed a person that was ambiguous—not distinctly male or female, and not younger or older. Since the Open Learning Academy is unique and adaptable to each student, we made sure to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. We were careful to make the program the main focus of the animation, using the icons and a desktop computer as focal points.
Post animation, we added background music and finishing touches. Based on conversations with Doane, we had a great idea of the kind of music they wanted. After we compiled a library of potential songs, Doane selected the perfect one.
We loved this opportunity to work with a major educational institution for the first time. It was exciting to dive into Doane’s brand and potentially inspire future students to pursue their passion. We acted as an extension of their internal team, bridging the production gap with our animation and illustration capabilities. The result was an engaging, informational product that can function across multiple platforms.