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Interactivities in E-Learning – Part 1

Any opportunity for learners to interact with an e-learning course in terms of action (doing) and/or thinking is termed interactivity. It is a tool that connects the learner with his learning environment. Hence interactivity doesn’t always intend the learner to do something; it can even urge the learner to think. For instance, a scenario that is thought-provoking is also interactivity.

Benefits of interactivities:

Can you imagine learning a new subject without your intervention? Reading through the slides can be a tedious task for learners. Learning becomes interesting when something is expected from them too – may be a response or participating in a scenario that lets them feel they are a part of learning. So, interactivities in eLearning fulfill that sense of involvement.

Capture learners’ attention

Interactivities succeed in gaining a learner’s attention due to his involvement in the learning process. When a learner sees that he is allowed to interact with the eLearning course, he turns alert and gets engrossed in it.

Improve knowledge retention

When a learner is put through thought-provoking situations, he becomes an active participant. These situations compel him to apply the learning he has to take actions. Such reflection helps in knowledge retention.

Compact extensive content

When content is presented in the form of plain text, learners face cognitive overload. The same when presented with embedded interactivities is a sigh of relief for the learners as a click-on-tab, a drag and drop, or a simulated interactivity reduces cognitive overload by appealing to the senses.

Save time and costs in e-learning development

A library of interactivities that can be reused in multiple projects can save a huge amount of course development time and costs.

Now that we have seen the benefits of interactivities in the e-learning courses, we’ll proceed to the various levels of interactivities:

  • Level 1: Passive Interaction
  • Level 2: Limited Interaction
  • Level 3: Moderate Interaction
  • Level 4: Enhanced Interaction

Level 1: Passive Interaction

Order of content 

In passive interactivity, where the learner is restricted to being a passive recipient, he hardly has to do anything except read the content onscreen or listen to the audio and proceed to the next slide. The content is presented in a linear fashion and the learner can’t navigate according to his choice by moving back and forth. His navigation is restricted by a linear flow. 

Level of application

The purpose of passive interaction level is to impart knowledge to learners. These courses provide very limited opportunities to the learner to apply the knowledge. This targets the lowest level of Bloom’s taxonomy – knowledge.

Type of content 

Though level 1 interactivity can be used to teach all types of content such as facts, concepts, principles, processes, and procedures, it is best suitable for presenting facts and concepts. Facts and concepts can be presented in a simple manner using tables and images. For example, Sales reps can be trained on sales concepts through a logical presentation. 

Instructional strategies

The instruction strategy followed at level 1 is logical presentation. This level of interactivity lays emphasis on knowledge-level objectives. The focus is on the content and not the context. Hence learners aren’t aware of how this course fits in their job role. Examples and non-examples are used to teach the concepts.

Presentation strategies

This interactivity level limits itself to graphics, images, and simple animations. It mostly consists of slide shows, audio or video broadcasts.

Practice and feedback

Level 1 interactivity has limited practice exercises for its learners. Assessments are mostly through single or multi-select questions that state whether the answer is correct or incorrect, without giving any feedback. Hence there is no scope for reinforcement too.

In this blog, we discussed what interactivities are and their benefits. Then we were introduced to the four levels of interactivities and had a detailed look at passive interaction. In my next blog, I will take you through the second level of interactivity, which is limited interaction. See you soon!

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