eLearning Interactivity: The Ultimate Guide For eLearning Professionals

eLearning Interactivity: The Ultimate Guide For eLearning Professionals
Summary: Interactivity has been proven to have a significant impact on the effectiveness of the eLearning process. In this article you will find everything you need to know about eLearning interactivity, as well as the most essential ways in which eLearning interactive methods and techniques affect the learning process.

What Is eLearning Interactivity? 

eLearning interactivity is defined as the “dialogue” between learners and eLearning tools through which learners become engaged and involved in the eLearning process. It is a key element of the actual eLearning course design process, and it has proven to be a practice that adds outstanding value to your eLearning course. It involves forms of action or reaction on learners’ behalf, in order for them to achieve results or reach a conclusion. eLearning interactions may include multiple choice quizzes, tests, eLearning scenarios, simulations, animation videos etc, that help learners to deepen their understanding of the subject matter through experimentation, dealing with unpredicted circumstances, or even learning from their mistakes.

The eLearning Interactivity Levels

The eLearning interactivity levels are defined based on the extent of interactivity in the eLearning process. With this in mind, there are four main eLearning interactivity levels:

  1. Passive eLearning interactivity level: No interaction
    Learners are not required to interact with eLearning resources and the eLearning process is strictly linear. This level may include: simple images and graphics, simple video and audio, test questions, ect.
  2. Limited eLearning interactivity level: Limited participation 
    Learners may have some control over their eLearning experience, as they are required to make simple interactions with the eLearning material. This level may include: animations, clickable menus, drag and drop interactions, and multimedia
  3. Moderate eLearning interactivity level: Moderate interaction
    Learners gain more control over the eLearning experience, which is more customized and complex. This level may include: animated video, customized audio, complex drag and drop interactions, simulations, stories and branching scenarios and multimedia.
  4. Full eLearning interactivity level: Full immersion
    Learners have great control over their eLearning experience, as they are required to fully interact with the eLearning content and give feedback. This level may include: interactive games, simulated job performance exercises, customized audio or videos, avatars, stories and scenarios, as well as multimedia.

The eLearning Interactivity Benefits

As eLearning professionals, our goal is to engage and inspire learners, in order to result in enhanced learning outcomes. We also know better than anyone that developing and designing a high quality eLearning course is not enough, unless we succeed in engaging and motivating our audience to learn. eLearning interactivity has been proven to activate long-term memory and to improve attention, which are both essential parts of all learning mechanisms. But there are certainly some more key benefits to keep in mind.

  1. It causes reaction.
    eLearning interactivity can replicate real world through the usage of eLearning course scenario questions and simulations that provide learners with the opportunity to make decisions without taking real risks. When learners are forced to think about applying what they know from the eLearning experience to an actual situation, they are encouraged to explore what will happen in case they succeed or fail. This is particularly true in online training courses; when employees are able to create their own action plan in a risk-free and non-judgmental environment, they can experiment with unpredictable paths with no stress involved, so when it’s time to face the actual problem or the actual customer in the real world, they will be able to handle complex tasks with a high rate of success.
  2. It encourages reflection.
    When learners are required to respond to what they are learning, for instance when a question or activity makes them stop to think in order to consider the answer or choose a path in the eLearning process, they are able to integrate the eLearning content into their own way of thinking. This way, the eLearning experience encourages their involvement, as depending on their response, correct or incorrect, they receive feedback, which is a key element in any interactive mechanism.
  3. It boosts engagement.
    Every experience causes reactions; powerful stories and provocative questions create cognitive notes and allow us to immerse these notes deeply in our minds. Interactive activities engage learners in the learning process by directing their attention to the eLearning content, resulting in better learning outcomes. Furthermore, when learners have the ability to control their eLearning process, for instance in learner-centered online training, which is a perfect framework for eLearning interactivity, they can be more motivated and engaged.
  4. It enhances knowledge retention.
    Interactive activities create curiosity, and curiosity leads to better knowledge retention. Multimedia elements, scenario-based cases, even achievement awards, have the power to transform the dullest eLearning course into an engaging, emotionally driven, and, most importantly, memorable eLearning experience. Encourage your learners to put their learning to use while thinking, exploring and evaluating the outcomes based on their decisions and you will be able to offer them an effective, compelling experience that has greater potential to be retained.
  5. It promotes motivation.
    “Fun” elements like multimedia, interactive scenarios and games motivate learners to participate more willingly in the eLearning process. The more interesting is a story or an eLearning game, the more intensive will be your learners’ motivation. An opportunity for reflection, such as a provocative question that makes learners stop and think, motivates them much more than simply clicking on a “next” button. Furthermore, when eLearning interactivity is used in mobile learning, which enables your audience to participate in your eLearning course anytime, anywhere, learners are more likely to be motivated to fit the eLearning course experience into their busy schedules.
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Now that you have learned how interactivity affects eLearning, you may want to know more about how you can create a winning interactive eLearning strategy. Read the article 7 Tips To Develop A Successful Interactive eLearning Strategy for tips that will help you integrate one of the most essential elements of eLearning design and development in your next eLearning deliverable.