4 Ways Of Increasing Interactivity In eLearning

The Ever-Changing Role Of Interactivity In eLearning

I saw a report that in 2015; close to 98% of organizations use eLearning as a part of their learning strategy. This market is now expecting to grow to $53 billion by 2018. This is no doubt good news for all with a stake in the game, but what is propelling eLearning ever forward like this? I, for one, firmly believe that eLearning has seen such widespread adoption because of its ability to incorporate change and develop new learning approaches that suit the winds of change. Along the way interactivity in eLearning has had a big role to play in changing the face of online education.

Games were among the first interactive elements used in eLearning. In the early 90s educational gaming software hit the market. Games like Mario Teaches Typing, Reader Rabbit, etc. become exceptionally popular and set the precedent for adoption in the eLearning scenario. Of course, the game-like experience has become a great deal more immersive when compared to the arcade-like experience of the 90s, and early 2000s and game graphics have become more sophisticated. The past few years have seen an increased adoption of games, gaming, and gamification as they allow instant feedback, increase competitiveness, and have the ability to provide instant gratification with rewards and badges. It is hardly a wonder that gamification in eLearning is expected to grow to $2.3 billion by 2017.

However, with changing times, just having the game experience is no longer enough. The winds of change are buffeting the traditional contours of interactivity and new trends look set to once again, improve the scope of learning. Given the increasing focus on personalization, eLearning providers have to explore new and varied ways of increasing interactivity in eLearning and help them access content from the device of their choice.

  1. Social media interactions.
    Social media interactions have permeated almost every aspect of our lives. Social media can be used to increase interactivity in eLearning too and increase learner engagement. With the help of social media tools, learning providers can increase collaboration between students and facilitate better communication with the help of activity streams. Enabling social media in eLearning also helps learners connect with more individuals to foster collaboration and can be a great space to curate and share content, assignments, aggregate updates and discover new resources to aid learning and promote knowledge sharing.
  2. Video learning.
    Just like blogs are now being taken over by vlogs, video is carving out an important space for itself in eLearning as a powerful interactive tool. In fact, it is estimated that over 98% of organizations will incorporate video as a part of their eLearning strategy. Video learning is taking the monotony out of static online content and can be used to present important aspects of the module for better retention. Earlier videos were predominantly one-sided where the trainer would be seen disseminating a lecture. Today, however, videos have become a great deal more engaging. Shorter videos can be used to make text more memorable, provide feedback or answer questions while the content is playing and can encourage the learners to think, analyze, act and interact with the video.
  3. Virtual reality.
    Virtual reality is another aspect which has played an important role to boost interactivity in eLearning. While it had been written off in the past owing to costs associated with the gear and the gadgets that were almost prohibitive in nature. Additionally, the virtual reality experience needed internet connectivity, something which was not so readily available in the classroom even 10 years back. Today, with initiatives such as Google’s cardboard and Expeditions and greater smartphone and tablet adoption and greater internet availability, virtual reality is making a comeback in the classroom and making learning experiences more immersive and engaging.
  4. Mobile learning.
    While many can contest mobile being an interactive element in eLearning, I believe it is a great facilitator of interactivity. Mobile technologies are enabling on-demand content and are encouraging learning providers to develop content that is customized, bite-sized and more specific to facilitate learning anytime, anywhere. Considering that the average global mobile connection speed is expected to reach nearly 4.0 Mbps by 2019, mobile devices have proved that they can be great enablers of interactivity. mLearning enables learners to set their own goals, learn at their own pace, collaborate across social channels, and facilitate continuous learning. Additionally, the data generated by the mobile devices can be leveraged to close the pain points and make learning more targeted, personalized and effective.

Bernard Bull said, “In order to create an engaging learning experience, the role of instructor is optional, but the role of learner is essential.” With time being at a premium, today’s eLearning landscape has more opportunities to help learners learn more and learn better and ultimately deliver more positive results.