“Interactivity” is a frequently used term in e-learning circles. In fact, it’s generally agreed that interactive courses better engage learners and then keep their attention, so they really digest the material.

So what does it mean to add interactivity to a course? Basically, it’s all about letting learners decide, with their clicks and drags, what they’ll see on the screen.

There are essentially three ways learners can interact with your content: they can click, hover, or drag. Virtually all e-learning interactivity is based on these three “interactions.”

{caption: Let learners click a button, drag a character, or hover over the door to make a choice. In this example, the learner drags the character to make a choice.}

To demonstrate, I’ll apply each type of interaction to a scenario, one at a time. Click on each of the links below to view these in action:

In this scenario, each of these interaction types determines where the character goes next. Every choice leads to the same result, and there’s not a right or wrong way to use each one. You get to determine which type to use, and when. Here are some things to consider when you’re designing interactions for your e-learning courses:

Make Sure Your Content is Relevant

The best interactions are those that are realistic and tied to real-world performance. Adding gratuitous interactivity to irrelevant content can quickly become a distraction that frustrates learners.

Present Decision-Making Scenarios

Rather than dumping a bunch of information on learners, use an interaction to present a situation that challenges them to apply what they’ve learned in a realistic context. This improves retention better than simply reading or listening to information. It also gives learners a chance to assess their understanding and receive relevant feedback.

Let Learners “Pull” Content

Instead of force-feeding, or “pushing,” all the information they could possibly need, use interactions to give your learners control over the content they want to see. This interactive approach gives learners access to all the same information, but you’re letting them explore in a natural, inquisitive way to find it.

Here are three examples of how learners can pull information in each type of interaction:

Anyone can build better courses by adding relevant click, hover, and drag interactions. To learn more about converting click-and-read content into something more interactive, check out the Rapid-Situational-Interactive (RSI) model.

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