Need to begin adding interactivity - best way to start?

Jan 04, 2011

I'm pretty new to e-learning and the company I work for has done pretty much only click-and-read type of stuff. I kind of want to introduce more interactivity but do you think I should test the waters a bit before going whole-hog and developing a big huge module? Does anyone have suggestions or experience regarding how to ease learners into the idea of more interactive courses?

9 Replies
Zach Giles

Hey Cindy - sounds like we're in similar places. Are you in my department? Just kidding. 

I can't say this is effective since I'm still making the case, but one thing I've been doing is putting in some extra hours building prototypes and segments of existing courses. I'm posting them on SharePoint and trying to get some momentum. 

The cool thing is the customers like the samples I'm showing so I think I'm making some progress. I just need to support my concepts by convincing my team this is a viable design model. Great question and I'm anxious to hear what others have to say.

Bob Lander

When we first introduced e-learning in my organization, I started by taking a really cumbersome online PDF document (a reference doc that was on our corporate intranet) and made the information more explorable & interactive. I used the the Articulate free trial to do it because I didn't have buy-in yet from my manager to get a license. Anyway, I built a course out of mainly a series of Engage interactions, but I also added a few optional self-check activities (not like tests, just fun check-your-knowledge types of things - almost like trivia questions). It was pretty simple but it got people's attention. The content was about quality specs, and some of our sites did report a decrease in quality-related issues once they started using the CBT, because technicians found it easier (and funner) to look up specs and procedures. That really helped create support for more e-learning, because there was a clear business case for it. I was able to get an Articulate Studio license because the stakeholders saw value in doing things this way.

So, I'd recommend targeting maybe a small-ish project where adding interactivity would actually fix a business problem or improve business performance in some way. Then the results will speak for themselves. Good luck and let us know how things go!

Natalia Mueller

+1 for keeping it simple. The easiest way to get shot down is do something both time consuming and completely different than what the organization is accustomed to seeing. I also recommend being careful to add it where it can enhance the learning experience- not just interaction for interaction's sake. Knowledge checks are a good place to start, anything that lets the learner practice or apply what they have learned. You could find that it turns out to be a natural progression instead of having to pitch a big concept ahead of time. 

I also really like Zach's ideas of building prototypes. If you do get to a point where you need to get buy-in for the development time, it's wonderful to be able to show what you mean instead of just trying to explain it. Plus, one of the benefits of designing interactions with Storyline is that they can be reused in other courses.

Jeff Batt

Cindy - Great question. I think trying a simple task is a good place to start. For example, look at some of the other interactions that are out there and try to duplicate it. Start out simple like a tab interaction. If you start to break it down thinking how each piece may come together you can learn a lot. Then try something a little more complicated like a animated bar graph. You can find tons of examples out there or try some of the weekly challenges Articulate does. Give yourself a task and then try to see if you can recreate that same interaction yourself. Don't get bogged down with graphics when you are just trying things out see if you can at least duplicate the functionality. 

I also have a free training on how to create with a tab interaction if video training helps you as well. Hope that helps. 

Daniel Brigham

Hi, Cindy:

This is something of course we all struggle with. You might allow the learner to proceed through the course in the order they wish. Learners will probably move linearly through certain groups of slides, but giving them a choice a topic to start with is interactive.

Interactive content and meaningful content are quite related. If you can make small tweaks to your content/script so that it's more meaningful to your learners, your training will be more interactive. A few ideas: 1. a reflective question or two that gets your learners thinking/analyzing how the content presented impacts the way they do their jobs. 2.  A "What would you do?"/scenario question based off a realistic work situation. 3. A drag-n-drop question for those times when you want learners to categorize things. 4. A hotspot question for when learners need to identify a part of an image or graphic.

Hope that helps a bit. --Daniel


Kelly Schultze

When I started, I had no knowledge of e-learning. I started by having as many on-screen buttons as possible, and then as I learned how triggers worked, starting using state changes and variables. I'm now at the point of making software simulations and games.

Try to think of what you would like to see in a training. Go through as many demos as you can. It'll help you build your own course style.

The more photos and videos/narration you can include, the beter.

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