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Interactivities to Increase Learner Engagement and Retention in E-learning

Knowledge retention is one of the major challenges associated with corporate training programs. Humans tend to forget the information gained, especially if no efforts are made to retain it. To retain information, it is very crucial for the learner to make efforts to interact with the learning. This is relatively simple in traditional instructor-led training as an instructor is present to facilitate interaction. How would you facilitate two-way interaction in the absence of an instructor in an eLearning course? The answer is, using interactivities.

What are Interactivities?

Interactivities are components that provide opportunities for learners to interact with the eLearning course in terms of acting or thinking. Interactivities promote long-term memory, improve attention, enhance knowledge retention, and motivate learners to participate actively in the learning process.

How Do Interactivities Increase Retention?

The famous Chinese teacher Confucius said, “What I hear; I forget, what I see; I may remember but what I do; I understand.”

Interactivities work on the same principle; they make learners “do something” which increases their understanding of the subject matter. This ultimately increases retention. The following characteristics of interactivities equip them to increase retention in eLearning courses:

Interactivities let learners ponder over the content being taught by making learners complete exercises, respond to scenarios, or making them select the most appropriate answer to a question. 

Interactivities give learners hands-on, corrective feedback after exercises and assessments during the course. This enables learners to immediately rectify their mistakes and embed the correct information in their memory; increasing their understanding of the learning material. 

Interactivities develop decision-making abilities in learners by making them apply the information presented during the course itself. Learners are provided with opportunities to take decisions, which gives them confidence to perform in real-work situations. 

Interactivities ensure two-way interaction in eLearning courses. Interactivities create interest among learners which ultimately leads to retention. This happens because interactivities let learners get involved with the course.

Which Interactivity is Best Suitable for Your Learning Objectives?

There are two types of interactions – Somatic (physical) and Intellectual (mental). Let’s now see the different types of interactions, and when they can be used in e-learning to achieve your learning objectives. 

Somatic (physical) interactions make learners “do”.

  • Hotspots/Rollovers: These are used when there is unrestricted, random navigation to information. They help highlight the parts of a visual. These are specifically useful to provide layered information.
  • Tabs: These are used to present layered information which need not be accessed in a sequence. Specifically, useful when each set of content has a descriptive title.
  • Timeline: Timeline is used for depicting evolution. It shows instruction on a time scale (hours, days, months, years).
  • Slideshow/Media Tour: This interactivity is used to show layered information which needs to be presented in a sequence. Slideshows/Media tours are built on a narrative which can be linear or branched.
  • Matching: Matching is used to show the relationship between two sets of data. It can also serve as a quick formative assessment for learners.
  • Drag & Drop/Drop Down: These are used to evaluate, check/recall the learning delivered. It is another useful interactivity that helps learners recall the keywords in any context.
  • Single Select/Multi Select: Single/Multi selects are useful to check learners’ ability of recalling concepts. They are also useful in reinforcing learning through feedback. These are a great tool for formative assessments. Single/Multi selects are widely used as pre-test tools to measure learners’ current understanding of a subject. 

Intellectual (mental) interactions make learners “think”.

  • Scenarios: This can to be used when learners need to hone their decision-making skills. They prepare learners to polish decision-making skills so that they are equipped to deal with them in real life.
  • Did You Know(s): Short questions pop-up after a chunk of content is delivered, to make learners recapitulate their learning. This helps learners reinforce their learning and retain it for longer.
  • Videos: Videos interact with learners by demonstrating real-time procedures and processes. They motivate and connect with learners through clips of real people talking. Also, videos have the capacity of storytelling which makes learners identify and think, bringing a behavioral change.

So, these were some of the interactivities that can be classified as somatic (physical) and intellectual (mental). Hope you liked the blog and understood the type of interactivity you can for your training outcomes.

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