Naoko Takei - Animating Language Learning

February 27, 2024
By Naoko Takei - World Languages and Literatures

I hoped to create videos that not only captured students’ attention, but also promoted their active engagement with the videos (not just a passive viewing of them). I also wished to use an animation style, as many students in my course are familiar with Japanese animations. Even though the term “interactive video” was in my mind, I was struggling to figure out what an “interactive video” looked like.

With guidance from CEE’s Educational Media team, the animated Japanese conversation video project was born. In order to hire professional voice actors, I successfully applied for a Japan Foundation grant last year. The grant budget allowed me to create a website, where the videos are shared and publicly accessible. Fortunately, six other Japanese language instructors from different institutes showed a great interest in working and collaborating with me to create the videos and website.

The videos that we produced were used in two ways. Firstly, instead of delivering a lengthy grammar explanation, I could use the animation videos to provide a clear context where targeted grammar was used in dialogue. In this way, students can instantly learn how grammar point sentences should be used in a real conversation.

Secondly, using H5P, I have created interactive video quizzes, which can simultaneously test students’ listening ability as well as their grammar skills. Since students can try the quiz until they get the right answer, they listen to the same conversation multiple times, which trains their ears and provides good listening practice.

Although proper research to measure the effectiveness of the animated conversation videos has not yet been conducted, I held an informal feedback session with students who experienced the H5P interactive video quizzes, and I’m pleased to report that students’ reaction to the quizzes was overwhelmingly positive. Based on their feedback, it is safe to state that the animated conversation videos succeeded in keeping the students’ attention. I would also say that the collaboration work was key to this success. In the future, my goal is to conduct research to investigate and evaluate how the animated conversation videos helped students’ learning and retention of critical language learning concepts.

Video Links

Naoko Takei - World Languages and Literatures