Experiences / Pilots

Animations in education


Luc Boerboom is assistant professor in Spatial decision support systems & infrastructure at the faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation (ITC). He has 10 years experience with the development and delivering distance courses about spatial decision support systems. Every year he serves about 10 participants from all over the world, who followed this course next to their regular jobs, and also were able to implement and relate the content of the course in their daily work. The small scale of this courses made it possible to have a lot of personal contact, often more than in face-to-face education.


The scale became very different, when UN Habitat, the UN organization for urban development, wanted a distance course regarding a methodology about the development of urbanization planning, which they had developed together with Boerboom. The course was meant for 150 planners in Rwanda, and possibly other countries as well. Those planners needed to be reached and instructed within 2 years, everybody at his or her own pace.

To interest these potential students in parts of the methodology, and to give them the chance to judge quickly if a part was of their needs, Boerboom developed (together with Aero Animations and supported by the Centre of Expertise in Learning and Teaching) two animations. The first animation is a shorter version, and shows the "why" of the specific course part:

The second animation shows the "how" question:

The animations were specifically important to show quickly the essence of the complex spatial analyses.


Participants or their superiors are now able to see within a few minutes the benefits of the course, once they will invest time on it. This is motivating. Based on the small scall tests, the UN Habitat decided to develop two more animations on another part of the course. On top of that, an animation will be developed to visualize the whole methodology of the course.

The course was delivered at the end of 2015, and run as a "Targetted Open Online Course", where participants can go through independently, according their needs.