All about INTERACTIVITIES in eLearning – An Introduction

All about INTERACTIVITIES in eLearning – An Introduction

What is interactivity?

Interactivity is the most common word used in eLearning. It is perceived in many ways, however a simple way to define the term ‘Interactivity’ is ‘learning by doing’ (Lewin 1951, Brookfield 1986). Interactivities result in learners’ engagement with the course content, other learners and with the instructor, which results in effective learning and exchange of information. Interactivities are intended to enhance knowledge development, in learning environment.

A famous quote from Lao-Tse written in the 5th century:

“If you tell me, I will listen.

If you show me, I will see.

If you let me experience, I will learn.”

Interactivities help the learners learn quickly. But, do all learners get the most out of a course, when there are interactivities?

Types of learners

Learners depend on their senses to process and learn new information. They use their senses to learn. Which sense they use the most for learning, is decided their learning style. There are 3 learning styles: visual, auditory and kinesthetic.

Visual learners

  • Learn through visuals such as graphs, pictures, etc.
  • Memorize things that are written down

Auditory learners

  • Learn through hearing and speaking
  • Prefers to listen ‘how to do’ something

Kinesthetic learners

  • Likes to use hands-on approach when learning new things
  • Prefers to demonstrate ‘how to do’ rather than explaining it

Kinesthetic learners learn more when they experience the content. Thus, they get the most out of a course when it has interactivities.

Does interactivity result in learning?

Bosco (1986) reviewed 75 learning studies and found that learners learn faster and have better attitudes toward learning, when using interactive multimedia.


  • Promote active and participatory learning
  • Facilitate learning for kinesthetic learners
  • Lead to greater learner engagement, retention and competence
  • Arouse learners’ curiosity and motivate them to learn more
  • Allow self-paced learning

There was a research conducted on the retention rates resulting from different kinds of learning materials.

Survey result of interactivities and learning effectiveness

Survey Result of Interactivities and Learning Effectiveness

The goal of interaction is to enhance the learning outcomes and help the learners attain the defined goals.

Using the right type/ level of interactivity, is the key for effective eLearning. My next blog will give a detail into the various types of interactivities in a course.

(All about INTERACTIVITIES in eLearning – Levels of Interactivities)

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