Skip to content

11 Interactivities That Increase Learner Engagement in an E-learning Course

Interactivities help involve learners in an online course and compel them to participate actively in the learning process. They are particularly beneficial to kinesthetic learners, who learn better when they are involved in some form of activity where they get to do something. In e-learning, interactivities can be classified into two types, based on the purpose for which they are used.

  1. To teach
  2. To assess

In this article, we will look at 11 interactivities used to teach.

1. Click on Images

This interactivity is used to present information which does not have to be accessed in sequence.

  • Components are the clickable images, content area, and instructions to prompt the learner to click on the images. You can place the images horizontally or vertically, with each image having a descriptive title.
  • Do not use this interactivity for linear navigation; when you want the learner to access information in sequence.
  • It is recommended to use only up to seven images in this interactivity. The ideal number is four, because beyond four, the cognitive load on the learner increases.

Instructional purpose: To explain related points and when images are important to differentiate the various points. Shown below is an example click on images interactivity used to explain the various types of insurance.

2. Hotspots

This interactivity is used to present information which need not be accessed in sequence.

  • Components include the visuals, highlights (dots, outlines, buttons, or arrows) and the prompt or instructions.
  • This interaction can have variants such as, click, click and hold, rollover, and a combination of click and rollover.

When using this interactivity, information should be limited to one or two lines, don’t use it if you have too much content to be displayed in the hotspot and in the absence of audio.

Instructional purpose: To label or identify the various components or elements of a picture. A hostpot is the ideal interactivity to name the parts of a product or system such as the human body.

3. Rollover

This interactivity is used to present information which need not be accessed in sequence.

  • Components are visuals, highlights similar to hotsopts and a prompt or instruction. Don’t use it if there is too much content to be dispalyed.
  • In this interaction, the viewed state should be displayed clearly, else the learner may not remember what he has clicked and keep going to a rollover which he has already visited.

Instructional purpose: To name the elements of a picture. The screenshot given below shows a mounted camera with rollovers that display information when the learner moves the cursor over them.

4. Tabs

Tabs are one of the most popular and widely used interactivities to present information.

  • The components are tabs, instructions, text, and images.
  • You can have a horizontal or vertical display and its important that each set of content have a descriptive title so that learners know what is covered under each tab.
  • Don’t use this interactivity when linear navigation is important. 7 tabs are acceptable, but 4 is recommended.

Instructional purpose: To explain elements related to the same category. For example, in the screenshot below, to explain the process of operating 3 Sigma, we have 4 tabs: IT, Telecommunication, Healthcare, and Banking.

5. Timeline

This interactivity is used to present information which needs to be accessed in sequence. Components include the timeline, units, instructions, text, and images. We can have an animated, static, or interactive timeline.

Instructional purpose: To present chronological time such as hours, days, months, and years. We can also show milestones in evolution, growth, or improvement, in a sequential manner. The screenshot given below shows the evolution of 6 Sigma over a period of time.

6. Numbers/Process

We use this interaction to explain the steps in a procedure or specific elements in a concept.

  • This interactivity helps learners remember content easily. Let’s say there are 5 steps; if you number them, it becomes easy for the learnerto remember.
  • The components of this interactivity are numbers in tabs, content area, and instructions.

Instructional purpose: To explain the steps in a procedure or elements in a concept. The screenshot below shows how to use visuals effectively. You can see the interaction is click on numbers. You have a visual in the left panel and descriptive text in the right panel.

7. Slide Show/Media Tour

This interactivity can be used to present information in sequence.

  • The components are slides, buttons or arrows, content area, slide numbers, and instructions.
  • This interaction can either be auto play or the learners have to click the Next arrow to access the information.

Instructional purpose: To explain a process or concept in sequenceor when images need to be emphasized with minimal text (media tour). The screenshot given below explains the traditional methodology of manufacturing through a slideshow.

8. FAQs

This interactivity can be used to reduce learners’ dependency on an instructor/manager.

  • The components of this interaction are questions, answers to these questions, and instructions.
  • This interactivity is a very good way to condense text, we can use it to summarize a module or the keypoints.
  • FAQs let us use space well, instead of making learners scroll to access the information.

Instructional purpose: Use use it to answer commonly asked questions.

9. Flip Cards

Use this interactivity to show content with little interaction. We can use it to display information about key terms, phrases related to the concept, or something similar.

  • The components are the cards (3.5”x 5”), content(text + image), and instructions.
  • You can have two variants of this interactivity; one-sided, where the content is displayed on only one side, and two-sided where aquestion is disaplyed on one side and the answer on the other.

Instructional purpose: To display information about the key terms and phrases related to a concept.

10. Flipbook

Flipbook is an interactivity where content is displayed to mimick the turning of pages in a book.

  • This interactivity is especially useful when a lot of content must be displayed. It can also be used to display information to refresh a learner’s memory. It is advisable to avoid audio.
  • Include page numbers when using this interactivity.

Instructional purpose: To display a series of information in a book format. In the screenshot below, you can see there are page numbers and when you click on the bottom corner, the page flips. You can use two sides of the book, one for visuals and one for content.


Videos can be used effectively to demonstrate real-time procedures. They are also the most dynamic and powerful interaction to engage learners.

Components include the video, media control, closed caption text, and instructions.

Instructional purpose: To demonstrate how something works or testimonies of happy employees/customers, etc. Here is a video which explains how an electrician works with a fuse box.

It is not necessary and advisable to use all the interactivities in a course. The appropriate activity can be chosen based on the course content, authoring tools, and development time.

The State of Learning: 2023 and Beyond