Interactive Best Practices

Thought I would poll the members to get your thoughts. I'm new to eLearning and am trying to figure out the best practices or most common types of content that people paired with different interactive activities. For instance, dense definitions might best be used with a tabbed interaction to keep the learner engaged more than a screen of solid texts. Any thoughts you'd like to share, I would appreciate it. Thanks!

9 Replies
Punam Parab

Hi Brian,

Welcome to the field of e-learning. You are right about tabbed interaction being a good way to present text-heavy stuff.

If you want to represent parts of something, say parts of a digestive system, you can use the rollover interaction.

If you wish to demonstrate a procedure, you can have the learner perform different drag-and-drop interactions. The example that comes to my mind at this very moment is http://zoffuto94.s3.amazonaws.com/Mercury%20Raising%20Example%20output/story.html

By the way, you can view the Downloads section. There are several great examples there. In case you have recently joined the community, I will invite you to join the ELH challenges. Several people participate in these challenges and offer constructive feedback.

Regards,

Punam

Scott Wiley

Hi Brian,

I would like to stress some differences in how the term "interactive" has been used when it comes to eLearning.

Like you and Punam alluded to, much of the time making something interactive means that the learner interacts with the screen somehow (mouse click, drag and drop, etc.) in order to receive some "chunked" information. So in that sense, it is all about presentation of information.

By far though, true "instructional interactivity" has been shown to be more effective in training people on what they "need to do" as opposed to what they "need to know."

I would suggest looking into the CCAF design model: http://www.alleninteractions.com/elearning-instructional-design-ccaf

Nicole Legault

Hey Brian!

Great question - thanks for posting it n the forums!

When it comes to adding interactivity, the main ways it is usually done is:

  • Click 
  • Hover
  • Drag and drop

I think the most important thing to keep in mind when adding interactivity is you should always be able to explain the instructional/learning value of a specific interactivity. If you can't, or there is none, then the interactivity is probably not really doing anything for the learner. What you want to try to stay away from is making the learner click just for the sake of clicking, or just for the sake of having interactivity. That is not meaningful for the learner. 

For example, let's say you have a slide with a ton of content and definitions. Instead of just having the learner click to reveal the text, why not turn it into a matching activity where they drag the definition to the term. That's a way more meaningful type of interaction than just clicking to reveal text. 

This is just my 2 cents here ! :) Hope this helps.

Tom Kuhlmann

I always break interactivity into two core elements: the first is touching the screen. How do I get the user to interact with the screen? You can click, hover, and drag. Try mixing them up and also try different ways (as suggested above) to make the experience different.

The other part of interactivity is the cognitive part and how do I get the user to interact with the content, making decisions, etc. The CCAF model Scott referenced is a good way.

I wrote a little about this in the blog post here.

Liz Armstrong

tab interactions are good. I find that that it helps to put a variable on the tabs, so that the state changes to "complete" when that section has been done by the learner.

RE "interactive" it's really about getting the learner to do something.  eg. SL2 has a little feature called Record the screen, where you can record a screen function and then present it step by step and the learner has to click to simulate the process. This is a useful thing to do after a Camtasia video. You watch the process in action and then do it yourself. The learner can then Alt Tab over to their real application and do their expenses or whatever.  I have also put a policy or something in the Resources tab. The learner opens the tab and reads the policy or the article or listens to a podcast and then answers the questions on the screen.

Danielle Delgeras

This might not be a helpful suggestion, but when talking about getting the learner engaged and doing something different, I think back to something from when I was in high school (yes, a very long time ago). I remember a teacher helped us prepare for our kinesiology exam by getting us to all make a board game in small groups, and then we spent a few days all going through the stations and playing each board game. It was an excellent way for us to be involved and engaged and a unique way to absorb all of the material. We all did quite well on that exam. I don't know how you would make a board game per se with this program, but I'm sure you can make a game of sorts that really engages the learners.