Creating Interactions With Your Authoring Tool

Creating Interactions With Your Authoring Tool
Anna Ivanilova /
Summary: Interactions are a very important part of any eLearning program. But what exactly can your authoring tool offer?

What Type Of Interactions Do You Need To Build?

Great eLearning courses incorporate unique and creative ways to engage learners and assess learner knowledge retention. It's important that your authoring tool can spark and match your creativity in building interactions and assessments. You can find many pre-built quizzes and knowledge check templates, but depending on your learning objectives, you may want to customize those or create different styles of interactions.

How To Select The Right eLearning Authoring Tool For You
In this eBook from eLearning Brothers, critical questions, checklists, and product comparisons will help you land the course authoring tool that fits you best.

As you attend how-to webinars and start to ask questions on user forums, you will learn new tricks and ways to push your eLearning development. At that point, you may find yourself outgrowing the more basic, linear templates. If your authoring app is not flexible enough to let you develop higher-level cognitive exercises, your results won't be as amazing as they could.

Look for the following features in the authoring tools you are considering:

  • Strong interactivity
  • Quizzing and assessments
  • Gamification
  • Tracking and analysis

These functions will give the tool the longest duration possible as you strengthen your Instructional Design and development skills.

Strong Interactivity

One of the most exciting things about developing eLearning is dreaming up new ways to add interactivity to a course. Sure, you could just put a PowerPoint presentation online and call it eLearning, but with a good eLearning authoring tool, you can truly create a learning experience.

Some of the most commonly used interactions are scenarios, click and reveals, drag and drops, and hotspots.

Scenarios allow you to incorporate higher-level cognitive reasoning into a course by challenging the learner to think deeply about what choice to make. Branching scenarios in particular allow you to realistically show the learner how both positive and negative choices might play out.

Click-and-reveal interactions provide an excellent way to share a large amount of information in small chunks. You can organize information into categories and get the learner to interact with your content instead of just skimming text and clicking “Next.”

You can turn almost anything into a drag and drop. Suppose you’re trying to educate employees on what items are recyclable versus compostable versus just plain trash. You could create a drag-and-drop challenge where the learner has to drop the waste item into the appropriate receptacle.

Drag-and-drop interactions are also great for testing personal protective equipment (PPE) knowledge. Present the learner with a scenario and have them drag the appropriate PPE onto a cutout character or silhouette.

Hotspots are another versatile function. You can use a hotspot to create an invisible button that only does something when hovered over or clicked on. For example, you could add hotspots to a detailed graphic of an engine, and ask the learner to click on different parts to learn more about each one. The hotspot would then trigger a popup with more information.

As you get more comfortable with eLearning development, you’ll see how you can use actions, variables, and triggers in your authoring tool to create more complex interactions. If you want to be able to create really out-of-the-box, unexpected interactions, you need an authoring tool that gives you that flexibility.

Quizzing And Assessments

When it comes to online training, quizzing and assessment types can directly impact your learner engagement and knowledge retention metrics. If your learners are not retaining knowledge, you may need to explore more sophisticated options. Most authoring products offer multiple-choice, matching, and other typical assessment types, whereas a robust authoring tool will give you more choices, such as game-based, randomized testing, and adaptive questions. Furthermore, a modern authoring tool should equip you to personalize quizzes using variables and branching.



Lectora question types include:

  • True/false
  • Multiple choice
  • Multiple response
  • Fill-in-the-blank
  • Number entry
  • Matching
  • Rank and sequence
  • Drag-and-drop
  • Hot spot
  • Short answer
  • Essay
  • Likert

You can also create surveys and import games from tools like The Training Arcade®.

Lectora also makes adaptive learning easy to execute as it directly integrates with BranchTrack. Dynamically modifying questions based on your learners’ needs will make your results significantly better. While you may not be ready to personalize your course right away, you will eventually want this option.

Storyline 360/Rise

Articulate® Storyline 360 question types include form-based graded and survey questions and freeform questions. The form-based questions are:

  • True/false
  • Likert scale
  • Multiple choice
  • Multiple response
  • Fill-in-the-blank
  • Which word
  • Word bank
  • Short answer
  • Essay
  • Drag-and-drop
  • Drop-down
  • How many
  • Numeric
  • Hotspot

Rise, Articulate’s cloud-based authoring tool, is designed for rapid authoring and limits you to matching and multiple-choice types of quizzes.


Adobe® Captivate question types include:

  • True/false
  • Multiple choice
  • Fill-in-the-blank
  • Short answer
  • Matching
  • Hot spot
  • Sequence
  • Rating scale (Likert)
  • Random question

Question types are just a starting point, however. It’s how you incorporate them into your course and how creatively you frame them that makes all the difference in engagement. So don’t make your choice solely on the sheer number of question types a tool might have.

Consider how easily you can incorporate those questions into a branching scenario, or pair questions with other elements of gamification. As you master the built-in question types, you’ll think of new ways to use them and you'll want an authoring tool flexible enough to support your creativity.


Adding game elements to your learning can boost learner engagement and retention. It also makes for a more enjoyable knowledge assessment. You can build anything from a simple game board path with questions on various squares to a more complex gamified course with points, challenges, multiple lives, and a leaderboard tracking learner progress.

Recreating television quiz shows is one popular way to add interactivity while also testing your learner’s knowledge. You can build these from scratch with actions and variables, or look for a game template. Another option is to purchase editable games from a source like The Training Arcade®, which has several multiple-themed options or pre-built quiz templates. One of the most popular games in The Training Arcade is the official Jeopardy!® for Training game, created in partnership with Jeopardy Productions, Inc.

The eLearning Brothers Template Library also offers game templates for multiple authoring tools. Games are a great way to reinforce educational material, assess knowledge retention, measure overall teaching effectiveness, and improve learning outcomes. A flexible authoring tool will allow you to experiment creatively with other game elements, like taking your learner on an epic quest with different challenges along the way or incorporating badging and leaderboards. These are just a few ways you can create an interactive, gamified course.

Tracking And Analyzing Results

Creating flashy interactions and assessments is just one facet of eLearning development. You also want to make sure that your interactions are driving knowledge retention, they are not just looking cool. The newest standard for tracking learner activity is the Experience API (or xAPI). This specification makes it possible to collect data about the wide range of experiences a learner has.

How does it work?

Any activity in your course—a button click, a video view, the amount of time spent considering a multiple choice question before selecting an answer—can be recorded with an xAPI statement. This gives you far more insight into the areas your learners are struggling with and the content they’re fully understanding than what previous learning specifications offered.

If your authoring tool supports xAPI, you’ll be able to select from built-in xAPI statements or create your own. When an activity needs to be recorded, the application sends secure statements in the form of “Noun, verb, object” or “I did this” to a Learning Record Store (LRS).

Learning Record Stores record all of the statements made. An LRS can share these statements with other LRSs. An LRS can exist on its own or inside an LMS.

Most major authoring tools support xAPI now. Lectora® was an early adopter of the xAPI standard and provides many xAPI statements to choose from. In addition, the Lectora Course Starter templates from the eLearning Brothers AssetLibrary™ include built-in xAPI statements, so all the tracking is already set up for you. You can always add your own xAPI statements if needed.

Being able to build engaging interactions and track the results are key parts of successful eLearning development, so consider these features carefully when choosing your authoring tool.

In Conclusion

Creating interactions is just one of the many objectives of a good authoring tool. Download the eBook How To Select The Right eLearning Authoring Tool For You by eLearning Brothers and enjoy their rich, insightful analysis and professional advice. The eBook comes packed with amazing visuals and assessments of various authoring tools that are currently on the market.