The Need for Interactivity in eLearning
Most Web Based Trainings are considered by learners to be boring because they are nothing more than powerpoint presentations put online with no real graphic design or meaningful interactivity.
Sometimes the only interactivity which exists is the action of clicking on the Next button to proceed from one dull page to another. Most learners perform this monotonous action while praying that the eLearning module, and with it their suffering, will soon come to an end.
This makes both Graphic Design and Interactivity Design essential components of any decent eLearning production process.
Graphic Design makes the learning content on a page attractive to look at and creates an eagerness in the learner to use it. Interactivity forces the user to think about the learning content, reflect upon it and take some action based on these reflections.
Therefore, the goal of an eLearning module must not be just to bombard the learner with information but to make the learner acquire knowledge through reflection and action.
And Interactivity is how you get a learner to take action.
Different types of Interactivity
Interactivity can be used to help learners explore and discover knowledge. The type of interaction used to accomplish this is typically called Click & Reveal. The learner clicks on an interactive object on the page and this action reveals something – usually information about the object.
Interactivity which forces the learner to think, use judgement and then re-arrange objects on the page or put them in their proper place is called Drag and Drop. This type of interactivity usually requires the learner to drag an object from one location on the page and drop it at another location.
Another type of interactivity requires the learner to make a decision and based on this decision the remainder of the eLearning module adjust itself. We call this Decision Point Interactivity. A typical example of eLearning making heavy use of Decision Point Interactivity is an Interactive Video.
Interactive Videos – Let the learner control the story!
An Interactive Video is a movie with actors, where the learner is able to control the actions of the actors. At various Decision Points in the movie, the learner is confronted with a set of choices. Based on the choice made, the story progresses in one direction or the other. This way the Learner Controls the Story and the movie can end with an unpredictable outcome. The interactivity in Interactive Videos forces the learner to think, make choices, accept the consequences of these choices and then adapt his or her strategy. In the process, the learner acquires knowledge, experience and skills.
In the future, Interactivity in all its forms will be the cornerstone of all high-quality eLearning and will change the knowledge acquisition process so that it is the learner who controls the narrative.