‘Argh! Boring, frustrating and waste of time’. This is what learners’ reaction is when they are not engaged in a course. Since time and attention of learners is limited, it is one of the biggest challenges for an e-learning developer to maintain the interest of the user from beginning to the end of the course.
You can dump lot of important and good information in to your eLearning courses, but you can’t ensure that the information is locked in the learners’ brains. Interactivities break up the monotony and give learners a chance to do something and apply their knowledge. I asked our internal learning expert about the reasons for including interactivities in e-learning and she stated the following reasons.
As e-learning is self-paced, engagement of learners becomes imperative. Interactivities can help maintain the interest of learners for a longer period in the course. An e-learning course can be engaging:
- When they are allowed to think
- When they are allowed to make decisions
- When they can explore
- When the e-learning is fun
Break from Monotony
We have all seen e-learning courses that lull us to sleep, with read and click next, read and click next…read and click next. Having interactivities enhances the learner experience by breaking up the monotony.
Attract learners’ attention
Retaining attention in self-paced courses is not easy. Including some form of interactivity in the content helps focus learners’ attention. Interactivities urge learners to get involved with the content by doing things. Interactivities in the form of click on tabs, hotspots etc., enable learners to practice what they have learnt as well as to explore knowledge.
As the saying goes “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.” When learners interact, they are more likely to remember what they are doing, that is, retain knowledge for a longer period of time. It also is useful in reinforcing learning.
Fun elements like animation, gaming, video, audio, scenarios and simulations generate more interest and curiosity in learning. Learners’ engagement with learning is determined by the level of their motivation.
Excitement and an element of surprise
Interactivities in e-learning courses excite learners. Adding graphics, animations, scenarios and game based assessments makes e-learning unpredictable and evokes the curiosity in learners. Including some challenges, such as embedding scenarios that resemble real job situations will ensure learners are not only excited in taking up the course, it also keeps their interest going.
One word of caution though; It’s true that incorporating interactivities into e-learning makes courses engaging, however, one needs to ensure that they do not overshadow the learning objectives of the topic. As e-learning developers, it is our responsibility to think out of the box in order to produce a memorable learning experience.
I am keen to learn “how and why you are using interactivities in your e-learning initiatives”. Do share your experiences.