This is the last post in the series on ‘3 Key Things to do for Creating Engaging eLearning’. In previous posts I talked about Purpose and Motivation (here are part 1 and part 2). In this post I would like to talk about Interactivity.
I think Interactivity is the most hyped element in eLearning. It is also the most misunderstood and misused term – often seen as a panacea for all that ails eLearning. In the eLearning business it is almost a standard to discuss costs of eLearning development as per ‘levels’ of output where higher levels typically denote higher interactivity.
Two main things we need to remember are:
Interactivity is not Engagement
The simplest way to get over this confusion is to consider a great work of fiction – something like the ‘The Da Vinci Code’.
It is thoroughly engaging even though it has no interactivity. In fact it has only text and yet is a real ‘page turner’.
Interactivity of the Mind
On second thoughts the above mentioned fiction work actually does have interactivity – but not of the kind that we are used to. The interactivity here is of the mind and not of the hand. And that is precisely what we need to achieve with all interactivities that we wish to include in our eLearning programs.
Creating meaningless interactivity is a waste of time and effort. In fact meaningless interactivities only tend to annoy the learners and deliver little or almost nothing. We should focus on only meaningful interactivities. Here are some ways to do it:
Give the learners tasks through a real life scenario/context, and provide them with an elaborate feedback. Feedback is when the learners are most receptive and ready to learn and hence, the most opportune time to give the relevant information. In below example we have a rather dull interactivity around DSE. But, apart from hot spots, there are a few additional items to think and chose. Also the timer and score add to the engagement.
It’s no secret, stories work with adults too. We are interested in stories and tend to remember more from stories as we add our own visualisations to the stories. In below example the story of invention and evolution of the wheel has been used to set the stage and build upon to teach about the evolution of company’s products.
We’ve earlier written about why videos are making a comeback to corporate eLearning (read here). Videos are an effective medium of telling stories and are a great medium when it comes to multi-device solutions – as they are naturally responsive if made well. Short videos can be used as performance support tools too. Interactive videos too hold great promises and are beginning to be explored increasingly in eLearning.
In the below example a short 1 min clip on how to use a particular cleaning agent can be launched by scanning the QR code printed on the cleaning agent bottle. True performance support!
A great example of interactive video is https://life-saver.org.uk/. It was a winner at eLearning Age awards in 2013. Do experience it for yourself.
By incorporating of the right kind of interactivities and creating a flow within eLearning courses using the right media and story-telling aspects etc., we can definitely enhance the overall learning experience.
So there you are – Purpose, Motivation, & Interactivity are the 3 Key things to focus on when creating engaging eLearning. I would love to hear your thoughts on these and any other ideas you have.