There has been a need for interactivity in eLearning programs. That is why companies must focus on this need. These courses can only have an impact once they are able to engage the learners. They should feel happy to be learning and not be a passive audience of the course. The eLearning content must be designed so that learners feel pleased to be pursuing such a course.
Michael Moore has defined three levels of interactivities which, when taken care of, can change the response to your course. They are:
- Interaction between the learner and the content: The content must be created after taking in tandem how the target audience learns something. When something is not designed according to the learning pattern of a user, it cannot influence him.
- Interaction between the instructor and the learner: The course should also be creating such aids which help the learner. The learner should take an interest in the course. This kind of motivation can only be provided by an instructor who can inform the learner about the benefits of the course. When a learner is persuaded properly, he can go through the course on his own.
- Interactions between students: The third kind of interaction happens between students facilitated by a teacher who helps them in having beneficial interactions among themselves regarding the subject matter.
In the field of distance education, where learning happens asynchronously without the maximum presence of an instructor, such interactions can make sure that the students pursue the course diligently without losing their zeal.
If a course is easy to navigate, then it does not mean it is engaging for the users.
There are many ways in which digital cues can add interactivity to your course.
The instructional designers must make sure that the course contains enough elements for the learner to grasp the elearning content in an entertaining manner.
There is passive learning in which there are no games and interactivities in which a learner does not answer any questions, so you don’t know whether he has learned anything or not. Anything that he has learned can only be gauged through his on-the-job performance.
The second kind of learning involves providing some interactivities to the learner. There is the inclusion of multimedia to encourage the user to retain his interest.
Interactivity can also be at a higher level (complex interactivity) so that the learners attempt various kinds of drag and drop quizzes and branching scenarios. These kinds of interaction levels are required in those jobs where the users must make critical decisions for everybody, and major analytical skills are needed because any wrong action can have bad results.
In the highest level of interactivity, the users are introduced to real-life simulations involving virtual reality, and their retention is the best. This is mandatory for jobs where learners have to display their critical skills every day.
How many interactivities must be included?
The interactions need to be a part of an eLearning course but how many of them should be included? It is a debatable question because the learners are not interested in any course which has zero interactivities. Including interactivities also increases costs, but a course that does not include any of them is a burden for the learner where every slide just has eLearning content including paragraphs and graphics.
So, these are the guidelines that can help an instructional designer to decide how many interactivities should be included. It is true that without interaction there is no challenge for a learner.
- To encourage reading:
- To emulate real-life scenarios:
It is true that the learners do not read much if they do not have a challenge before them in the form of interactivity. So, the companies should include eLearning reading content to the minimum because including interactivities gives a chance for the course designers to measure how much reading has happened. It is because when a learner has failed in such interactivities, he has not gone much through the eLearning content.
The requirement of MCQs (Multiple Choice Questions) in the eLearning content also needs to be answered because the course creators don’t know whether the learner knew the answer, or it was just a fluke.
The learners must be given activities that they are required to try. It’s because when they are exposed to branching scenarios it leads to better execution at the job. Also, branching scenarios are closer to situations in the workplace where actions are required. You might have to deal with human situations or software-based scenarios and must know what to do. When a learner is directed to the wrong screen after pressing the wrong button in a software simulation, he is not going to repeat it in his job.
In an MCQ no action is needed and is not extremely helpful in causing betterment of performance. MCQs are better for situations where learners just answer queries at their workplace like someone sitting at the reception but not those who deal with software and machines.
Hence therefore companies require more action-based interactivities in the eLearning content.