Dos And Don’ts For An Instructional Designer When Creating Interactive Learning

Interactive eLearning Course - Dos And Don’ts For An Instructional Designer When Creating Interactive Learning
Summary: It is a known fact that interactivity makes it easier for learners to engage well with a course. While there are various elements you could incorporate to make your learning interactive, you also need to be aware of some essential dos and don’ts when building interactive learning.

Tips For An ID To Create An Interactive eLearning Course

"Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn."

When Benjamin Franklin quoted these remarkable words, he might not have visualized them in the context of eLearning, but I personally feel no other quote emphasizes the importance of interactivity in eLearning better. Interactive learning makes it easier for learners to connect with the course content at various touch points, reflect on what is being taught and understand it well, and eventually, retain and apply the knowledge better.

Interactive Learning Design: Using An Interactive Learning Software To Increase Engagement In eLearning Courses
Discover the key elements of interactivity and how they can be included in your eLearning modules swiftly using an interactive learning software!

There are various elements you could incorporate to make your learning interactive. We have talked about some of them in an earlier article. Today, let us focus on some dos and don’ts that need to be taken care of while building an interactive learning module. Let’s start with the dos:

1. Do Use A Good Mix Of Interactive Formats

When building an interactive course, go diverse in your usage of formats. Interactive learning could involve a whole lot of creative formats including presentations, scenarios, quizzes, games, and more. If you just use one format throughout your module, it would not add the desired level of interactivity and could make your course monotonous. It is always advisable to use a good mix so that learners don’t get bored.

2. Do Fix On Your Interactivity Building Approach, Beforehand

There are two approaches to interactivity building: the traditional skill-based approach or the rapid interactivity building approach. Each method has its own pros and cons, and what you choose depends largely on the type of learning you are developing, and how important interactivity is in your course. Needless to say, the essence of learning objectives and content must stay at the core, despite the approach you use.

3. Do Ask For Feedback

Ensure you ask your learners for feedback on the content and module. This is a great opportunity for interaction since it makes learners feel valued. How you respond to this feedback can have a huge impact on their motivation levels and performance. This can also help make your eLearning modules more relevant to the learners.

4. Do Use The Right Level(s) Of Interactivity

There are typically four levels of interactivity in the context of eLearning [1]. These levels simply describe the degree of interchange between the eLearning course and the learner, through which engagement and active learning takes place. The degree of interchange increases from Level 1 (being the least interactive and simplest) to Level 4 (being the most interactive and complex). The interactivity level should be chosen based on the type of content and learning objectives. Generally, higher levels of learning need higher levels of interactivity. That said, high levels of interactivity might still not have a great impact if you have not used them effectively. Choosing the right level, combination, and amount of interactions is the ultimate key for engagement.

And here goes the list of don’ts that you need to be cautious of:

1. Don’t Overdo It

Interactivity is critical, but it should not be overdone. A good benchmark to follow would be to use an interaction after every 3-5 minutes. This way, you don’t overwhelm your learners and can still expect them to be engaged throughout the module duration. And as mentioned earlier, use a varied mix of interactions throughout the module.

2. Don’t Make Tests Too Difficult

In an effort to pose an effective assessment to learners so as to gauge their knowledge levels, do not make the test(s) so hard that the learners are put off right at the onset. Apart from testing their knowledge, a good test should motivate a learner. It should be a reflection of what the learner is supposed to know and not just targeted at capturing everything that the learner might not remember. The questions should cover a difficulty level ranging from 'easy' to 'difficult'.

3. Don’t Rely On Non-Reusable Interactions

Refrain from using non-reusable interactions. A good interaction template is one that can be easily reused by making minimal changes to its elements and structure, and hence can be used at multiple places, by making minor tweaks. If you build interactions using an authoring tool, you might have to put in more efforts to make any changes to it, like changing the variable names, changing the triggers, etc. However, if you use a non-programmable rapid interactivity template, you would just need to change the content and graphics, and you would be good to go.

4. Don’t Defocus From Content

Be cautious of losing the focus from content while you build an interactive learning module. As a course creator, it is quite natural for you to be carried away with other activities like storyboarding, visual design, interaction design, etc. But remember; content is the most significant element of an eLearning module. An interactive course with average content is worse than a non-interactive module with good content. To help you with maintaining the content focus, either have the right team in place to focus on the right roles, or use the right tool. This goes back to choosing the more suitable interactivity building approach for your requirements.

These are some of the most essential dos and don’ts to take care of when you are building an interactive module. There could be some more that you follow I would be keen to hear about them. Share your thoughts through comments below.


  1. Adult Learning And Levels Of Interactivity In eLearning