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Engaging the Mind rather than Fingers – Building Engaging eLearning

Written By Vandana Kaveti

Designing a course where the learner simply has to click on the “Next” button to go through pages and pages of information may not be the best way of learning. Learners may get frustrated or else they may feel that they are wasting time when the course is not intellectually stimulating. Creating thought-provoking interactive courses helps learners to stay awake and keep the mind active.

Using meaningful interactivities in an eLearning course helps learners to apply their knowledge and recollect what has been shared during the program. Adding simple assessments in the course evaluates the learner understanding regarding the concept. Interactivities are designed to engage learners’ minds rather than fingers, and are meant for stimulating their thought process.

How can you engage learners’ minds instead of just their fingers?

  • Scenarios: When the course content is to help learners “Perform” rather than “Inform”, Scenarios are the best interactivities that can be used. You can create scenarios that relate to the learners’ context and get them to answer what they would do in a given situation. This would stimulate their minds while demonstrating its relevance to their jobs.
  • Case Studies: Case studies can be used when scenarios are not suitable or possible for the situation or the content. Creating case studies may be time-consuming needing a lot of effort but they would make the courses engaging for learners.
  • Quizzes and Puzzles: The best way to capture the attention or concentration of learners is through integrating quizzes into the course. This helps you to test the extent to which the participant has understood the course content. Word puzzles or jigsaw puzzles could be another method adopted. For instance, when learners are expected to learn a process or a procedure, you can ask the learner to match the process stage with its description. This would be helpful to assess the learners’ understanding of the process at each stage.
  • Present ‘Before and Now’ Situations: In case a new process or technology is introduced, you need to first explain the process and justify why the process has been changed. Later, you need to stimulate their thinking by providing interactivities that tests their comprehension. For example, if an organization is adopting lean manufacturing and would like to make sure that all its employees understand it well and apply the same in their jobs, you can design interactivities which present the ‘before and now’ situations and highlight the dos and don’ts of lean principles.
  • Help them Read and Reflect: Present a video to watch and then allow the learners to respond to the queries and share their opinions about the scenarios or reflect on the different possible outcomes.

Clicking a mouse does not mean that learners are being engaged in the course and benefiting from it. A course would be effective when participants are allowed to become more involved in the course. To keep your learners involved with the material, add enough interactivities. Interactivities help the learners to get involved in the learning process and apply their knowledge that has been shared in the course to real life experiences. Use them only when they are beneficial to learners, do not include them if they don’t fit in the learning experience.

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  • If it’s possible to design some of the interactivities around participants interacting with one another in the elearning course, like a simulated team interaction it would greatly enhance the retention of principles learned.