Educational, motivating and inspiring, using limited resources

The finalists in this year’s MEDEA Awards were announced in May, you can read about them here, the winner will be announced in October. Each month we are featuring one or more of this year’s finalists. In this article it is the turn of Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Norway who submitted «Knowledge-based habilitation».

We believe that our entry, «Knowledge-based habilitation» (Kunnskapsbasert habilitering) is innovative in multiple ways. One of the most important is that it tackles difficult, serious and sometimes controversial topics through the use of light-hearted animation, In this way, the project has adapted the medium to fit the challenge at hand. Our creators used storytelling in an educational capacity, identifying the learning goals which were all related to affecting attitudes and integrating them in the story that we tell making the most out of the animation tool that was chosen.

What was also innovative for us was that rather than buying the film from an animation studio which was not economically feasible for us, we, invested time into having two of our colleagues teach themselves animation using Adobe After Effects with the Duik Bassel plugin. The speed with which tour co-workers learned this new tool reflects recent technological improvements in animation software, and would have been significantly more difficult up until very recently. This new competence has since been used for other in-house educational animation films.

About the creation of Kunnskapsbasert habilitering

The course for which these animations serve as an introduction, is about assisting and empowering people with disabilities («habilitation»), and for each module we needed an intro explaining basic concepts and learning goals to prepare the students for the coursework. However, we did not want this information to be simply comprehensible, we wanted to infuse it with energy and emotion, to make it feel important.

We taught ourselves to animate characters using the Duik Bassel plug-in and wrote scripts with visual metaphors for the course material. The result is an experiment in using narrative to inspire motivation for an academic subject, a light-hearted way to deal with a serious matter and hopefully a way to inspire empathy with a vulnerable group through educational media.

The open online course is intended for people already working in habilitation who need updated knowledge, with study levels mostly ranging from a Bachelor’s to a Master’s. This also implies a wide age range amongst our target audience, from mid-twenties to sixties, meaning that the films have to have a wide appeal. The course can be studied on its own, leading to a certificate, or it can be followed up with a Master’s level course at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) for study credits.


Jonas Langset Hustad is Senior Executive Officer at NTNU

Jonas makes educational media at NTNU Drive, a project that helps NTNU with digitizing their education in innovative ways. In his spare time he does handstands and plays the piano, though not at the same time.

Morten Nyutstumo, Higher Executive Officer, NTNU

Morten is Head of Production at the Multimedia Center of NTNU, helping educators translate their subject to the language of video. In his spare time he photographs metal bands and dreams about a galaxy far, far away.