Interactivity in eLearning can work wonders for your courses. When learners interact in an online course, active learning takes place. On the contrary, reading lines and lines of text is nothing but passive learning, which is often hard to recall and even harder to evaluate.
In an organization or higher education, when efficient performance depends on learning, the eLearning design becomes critical. eLearning interactivity is the actual “thought process interchange” between learners and eLearning tools through which engagement and active learning takes place.
Catering for the content is the key step in the interactive eLearning design process.
This step enables learning that is meaningful, recalled easily, as well as evaluated through interactive assessments. Interactive tools are also the only means to connect and collaborate with fellow learners and mentors. If eLearning interactions are used correctly, they can create a game-like learning environment, where learners invest emotionally as well as intellectually.
Interactivity in eLearning courses can range from multiple choice quizzes, tests, eLearning scenarios, simulations, animation videos etc. These help deepen the understanding of the content through a safe trial and error environment. An eLearning course has several levels of interactivity. These levels are defined by the extent of interactivity developed in the eLearning course.
There Are 4 Levels Of Interactivity In eLearning:
Passive eLearning interactivity level: No interaction
Linear, straightforward, text-based eLearning environment. Learners are provided with multiple text-based resources such as extensive research and popular blogs. This level may include links to videos, podcasts, simple images and graphics, and also test questions.
Limited eLearning interactivity level: Limited participation
In this level, learners may be required to interact with the learning environment through clickable “hot spots”, animations, drag and drop reinforcement exercises and multimedia. Such interactivity extends a degree of control to the learner.
Moderate eLearning interactivity level: Moderate interaction
Learners have slightly more control over their learning experience. These eLearning courses are more customized and sophisticated. This level may include: animated video, customized audio, complex drag and drop interactions, simulations, stories and branching scenarios and multimedia.
Full eLearning interactivity level: Full immersion
In this level of interactivity, learners have full control over their learning environment. They are required to interact with the screen at each step of the concept presentation. They are provided with timely feedback that aids them in decision making and guides them to the next step.
Interactive eLearning examples at this level include: interactive games, simulated job performance exercises, customized audio or videos, avatars, stories and scenarios, as well as multimedia.
Benefits Of Interactivity In eLearning
Interactivity has been proven to enhance the sense of achievement in learners. The degree of interactivity also defines the quality of an eLearning course. eLearning interactions engage and motivate the learner towards meaningful learning and critical thinking.
eLearning interactivity has induced the long-term memory activation and alertness, which are both essential parts of all learning mechanisms. The following points describe other benefits of leveraging all types of interactivity in eLearning:
1. Emotionally Arousing
eLearning interactivity can imitate real-world scenarios with actors the learners can relate to. Such real-life simulations encourage decision making without taking real risks.
For example, in the medical field, learners are subject to decision making scenarios in life and death situations. Learners not only practice their skills and knowledge without risking lives, but they also acquire the experience to deal with such situations in real life. Learners learn consequences of their actions in a safe environment.
A non-judgmental, risk-free learning environment allows for freedom of decision making and a deeper learning experience. Learners are better prepared for tasks in their work context.
2. Encourages Reflection
Reflection is the actual step in the learning process where learners combine their past knowledge and experience with new knowledge. Reflection is what causes the desired attitude change after completing a course. Interactivities in eLearning require learners to ponder and think back. It requires them to respond and take charge of their learning.
For example, if a scenario requires the learner to solve a problem, the learner will integrate the content into their own thinking process. They are able to weigh the pros and cons of a solution. Also, they are able to choose the most suitable path. The interactivity further adds to this learning process by providing timely feedback or hints that refine judgment and problem solving strategies. This is the key element of any interactive mechanism.
3. Boosts Engagement
Powerful vignettes or compelling storylines cause reactions. Provocative questions create immersive learning environments. Interactive activities engage learners in the learning process by directing their attention to the eLearning content, leading to better learning outcomes. In an advanced learner-centered learning environment, the learner is more engaged and absorbed.
4. Knowledge Retention
Interactive activities create curiosity. This leads to active knowledge acquisition. Elements like recognition awards, scenario-based case studies and multimedia creates an emotionally driven learning experience that is memorable for years to come. Reinforcement activities that promote scaffolding, drill and practice, and even collaborative projects, enhance learning retention and better application in the work context.
5. Promotes Motivation
Interactivity that has music and themes add to the “fun” elements that eradicate boredom and motivate learners to participate more willingly in the eLearning process. A layer of interest is created and a more intense motivation is observed. Compare this to a simple “click and proceed” eLearning environment that provides little opportunity for reflection.
Interactivity in mLearning
Interactivity is also a pleasurable experience in the mobile learning environment.
With mLearning gaining ground, leveraging the power of interactivity in mobile learning courses can turn out to have an extremely favorable impact on the experience of your users.
Motivation is even more effective when learners are encouraged to integrate their eLearning courses in their daily life and look forward to access their learning regardless of the place and time. Plus, for someone to actually bother to learn while on their mobile device, they actually need to find the course fun enough to do. And how else can you do it, if not by leveraging the power of interaction?
Promoting interactivity in eLearning courses can have a major impact both on the engagement of your learners and the levels of their knowledge retention. Try to incorporate such practices to create interactive eLearning courses and watch your trainees succeed!
Originally published on: 09 Jun 2015