How to speak without words: secrets of non-verbal communication


Language appeared when the person felt the need to lie. These words emphasize the fact we would rather trust the body language, but not the content of a particular statement.

Strike an attitude!

Our bodies cannot remain silent constantly: they have to communicate. Even when we do not make a sound, we still communicate with others. It is a scientific fact that only 7% of information are perceived through a verbal communication. Postures, gestures and facial expressions make up 55% of the total number of communication methods. Lectures and public speakers have been using this powerful communication model to solve didactic problems for a long time, but whether it would be useful for e learning as well? Well, why not? Taking into account that we use characters to personalize the process of learning, to grab users’ attention and to increase their motivation to learn, it is a quite reasonable idea to “teach” characters to use their body language.

1. Open body language

If you need to express positive emotions, to show your sincere interest in others, you’d better opt for smiling character showing their palms, as it is the most effective gesture of openness. You may also unbutton their jacket or put their hands to the chest.


2. Thoughtfulness

If you want to demonstrate the state of deep thoughtfulness and concentration when making a decision, make your character hold one hand on their chin.

3. Confidence

The confidence can be shown by putting character’s hands behind their head. You may also make them stand with arms behind the back or with fingers connected together. If you character keeps their thumbs out from the pockets or holds hands on waist that will not only show person’s confidence, but will also demonstrate their superiority


4. Closed postures

Character’s fists and hands on hips are the demonstration of anger and aggression, as hands across the chest are the evidence of mistrust and the way to protect themselves. Please, remember: such gestures are appropriate only in particular situations. For example, when you try to cause negative users’ emotions.

5. Frustration

Well, this guy definitely has some problems. He's upset, depressed and trying to find a way out of this situation. That’s why he’s leaning forward putting head in his hand.


The face is the mirror of the mind

Face is the main source of non-verbal information as eyes, smile, elbows and even minor wrinkles can say more than millions of words. The Chinese invented physiognomy thousands of years ago. They even predicted fate, taking into account the distinctive features of person’s face. It would be interesting to know the further development of the course characters presenting with stone faces, protruding eyes and lips moving out of place. To make things worse, imagine the cheerful character that welcomes you at the beginning of the course, accompanies throughout its duration, congratulates at the end and says that you have just failed the test with an optimistic smile on the face. If there’s no congruence that can be described as a conformity of words and body language, users would rather believe character’s emotions. You can be happy as you do not upset course users, but inappropriate character’s smile prevents the solution of educational problems. This is not just annoying, but also misleading as distorts the meaning of the information. That is why we recommend use characters with a wide range of emotions and facial expressions. It is rather simple, because there are only a few basic emotions that are easily to detect and transmit.

1. Happiness


If someone is happy, they usually have small wrinkles around the eyes. Their cheeks and lips are slightly lifted.

2. Surprise


If person is surprised, their eyes are wide open.

3. Anger


If person is angry, they frown and squint.

4. Contempt


Contempt reveals when person raises their eyebrows and curves their lips.

5. Sadness


If person is sad, they have pensive look on theirs face.

6. Anxiety


If someone is anxious, their facial expressions are very dramatic.

So, what can I do?

So, what can you do to make your course characters emotional with a wide range of facial expressions?

  • Plan a photo shoot. This approach allows you to get desirable angles, postures, emotions and facial expressions, but you should have an appropriate equipment, rent the studio, find professional photo models and hire good photographer. So, plan your budget beforehand.
  • Use authoring tools, such as Articulate Storyline, Lectora Publisher, etc. You can even find already designed course characters with some basic emotions in some of them.
  • Download stock course characters. You will get a variety of different cutout people photos and vector images that are commonly used during e-course development.

Well, have fun! We hope our advice will bring you good luck and help create memorable e-course.

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