People learn effectively when they are engaged in the learning process. In classroom training sessions, the trainer interacts actively with learners to capture their attention and ensure they remain focused. How can this be accomplished with e-learning courses, which are self-paced? Well, you can ensure that online learners “stay on track” using web-based learning interactivities.
What is a web-based learning interactivity?
A technology-enabled learning interactivity is a learning element that helps learners “communicate” with the online training content. Interactivities make the learner think (by compelling him to answer a question or solve a puzzle) or act (in most cases, by making him click something).
The incorporation of online learning interactivities is a very important step in the process of designing e-learning and goes a long way in making the online learning resource effective. Web-based learning interactivities help ensure your technology-enabled resources are much more than mere “page turners”. They enable your learners to be active participants in the process of acquiring knowledge and skills.
A number of learning interactions can be used in an online course, depending on the nature and type of content. These include click-on activities that require learners to click objects such as images, numbers, or tabs, scenario-based learning interactions, e-learning simulations, quizzes, interactive learning videos, game-based learning elements, and so on.
Having seen what online learning interactivities are, let’s proceed to examine how they facilitate the delivery of effective training.
Why do you need interactivities in a self-paced online learning environment?
Interactivities cause learners to act and react
I’m sure you’d agree with me that mere reading of the content in an online course helps little to enable your staff learn effectively. They must be able to think, analyze, and use the information properly at the workplace. This is where e-learning interactivities make the difference. For instance, consider the case of software training. You can tell learners how to create an invoice using SAP by listing the steps in a PDF document. But, when you let him see the steps involved in the creation of the invoice, practice the steps, and then, try the steps on his own, he tends to learn better. This is because unlike reading a PDF document, he is exposed to an environment where he is able to implement his learning and respond to the feedback provided to him.
Learners can reflect on their learning
When your employees are compelled to stop and think about what they are learning, they are able to “assimilate” the information into their thought mechanisms. For example, when a learner needs to answer a formative assessment, he is forced to reflect on the information he had acquired to answer the question correctly. This, in turn, will result in effective learning because the cerebral activity ensures active involvement of the learner in the knowledge-acquisition process.
Engagement levels can be improved
We all know that learner monotony is the enemy of good learning. E-learning interactivities help transform dull online courses into interesting learning resources. For instance, consider the example of online compliance training. You can always tell your learners what to do and what not, using bulleted lists. But, when you explain the same using a learning video that narrates the story of an employee who was fired as a result of not adhering to the prescribed norms, learners can connect instantly with the content as their emotions are evoked. Needless to say, this results in better learning.
Information can be retained longer
Online learning interactivities make learning active, and when learning is active, your staff can retain information better. I would like to mention the experience of one of our clients, a large pharmaceutical company. For years, the company used bulleted slides to explain various medical terms to its sales staff. Six months ago, the drug maker created a game-based learning module, on a pilot basis, for training medical reps on the terminology. The results were very encouraging. Learners responded positively to the initiative, and a survey showed they are able to remember the definitions of terms better, for extended periods of time.
We thus see that e-learning interactivities play an important role in helping your employees learn effectively. Incorporate the right level of online learning interactivity to make your web-based course a grand success.