I think anyone who has had some kind of training class, or really a class of any kind, has sat for hours, or maybe days, as an instructor clicked through slides on screen and read the information to you like you were a child. We’ve all felt the pain…and it is mega painful.
But do you remember a time, probably when you were in elementary school, when your teacher set up a table with different objects and you could come up and touch them and see how they worked? Kids love to interact and touch objects they are learning about. Well guess what? So do adults. Are you surprised?
Now as far as I know no one has invented an eLearning course you can touch. (well maybe they have, how do I know for sure?) But that would be so cool. But interactivity in eLearning is common and it baffles me why it isn’t included more often. It’s effective AND learners like it. Pretty much the hallmark for effective course creation, right?
So what exactly is Interactivity?
Well there a few “experts” out there that decided there were levels of interactivity…basically ranging from simple to complex. Some say there are three, others four, or five, blah blah blah. You can research that and sort it out on your own if you geek out over research.
For our purpose, let’s look at the simplest interactions, which, if we were using the idea of “levels,” would probably be the second level. These are the easy ones like drag and drops, matching items, drop-down lists or any kind of simple task where the learner is interacting with the content. Luckily, most of the design software out there (Storyline, Captivate, etc.) help you to easily set these up. So why not take some time on the design side of things and add one or more of these into your next course?
You might find this level is too simple for your audience. That’s great! Kick it up a notch or two. You can use that to your advantage and develop richer, more complex interactions and tell a story or use branching scenarios to really give your learner a chance to think through a problem.
The key is to know your audience when you are designing the course in the first place.
So next time you develop an eLearning course add some interactivity. Get your learners interacting.
Want to see a really cool example of all this in action?