Interactivity in learning is a great way to increase learning outcomes and see sustainable behavior change on your team. However, while we love interactivity here at Maestro, we also feel strongly that companies need to carefully consider the reasons they’re pursuing interactivity in learning and choose the best option based on their needs.
What is interactive learning?
Interactive learning is the process of two people or things working together and influencing each other. This can look like quizzes and knowledge checks, scenario-based learning, and even augmented reality.
When developing interactive learning experiences for adult learners, taking an approach that incorporates social interaction and technology throughout their everyday activities and job goes a long way in driving engagement.
Getting started with interactive learning design
Before you jump into your next learning project, consider your budget, timeline, talent, and technical requirements. How much money are you able to spend? How quickly do you need results? What are the skills of your team members? And, do you have any requirements like a need to keep the learning entirely within your LXP or LMS? Once you’ve answered those questions, you’ll know which interactive eLearning solutions are most suitable for you.
Additionally, at Maestro, we use our learning principles to guide this process—here are two we think you should consider before your next interactive eLearning project.
Our first principle: Learning is about creating change
The goal of interactive learning design is not to simply deliver knowledge but to deliver results. And those results are created by a change in behavior. So ultimately, learning is about driving behavior change. Before you rush to design interactive learning, you need to ask, “What change are we looking to create”? This requires an understanding of current learner behavior and what you want to see change over time.
Our third principle: We must meet our learners where they are
The second principle to consider before starting an interactive eLearning project is how this piece of learning will meet learners where they are. How do we do this? Adult learners have a particular need to know how learning is benefiting them, how the learning helps solve a problem they’re facing, and how they can apply their existing experience to new situations.
Ready to get started?
Once you and your development team have spent time understanding the purpose and desired outcome of your learning, it’s time to consider how to make eLearning interactive. We’ve split this up into three key ways: interactivity within your authoring tool, interactivity through augmenting your authoring tool, and interactivity outside of your authoring tool.
3 Ways to improve interactivity in learning
1. Interactivity within your authoring tool
The first way to introduce interactivity is the fairly obvious way: leveraging the components available within your authoring tool. We personally love Articulate 360 interactions within Storyline and Rise, but you can make interactive content with whichever eLearning authoring tool you use. The benefit of creating interactive content inside your authoring tool is that it’s cost effective, time efficient, and doesn’t require any additional skills from your team. Let’s take a look at a few of our favorite interactions within an authoring tool.
Self-assessments are a great way for learners to test their knowledge and get a baseline of their understanding before jumping into a course or at the conclusion of a course.
Knowledge checks allow learners to test their knowledge as they go through a course. At the end of a section or in-depth explanation, they can do a quick check to see if they’ve understood the lesson. This could be through drag-and-drop, click-and-reveal, or some other type of interaction.
A more cumulative approach to call-and-response learning, and probably the most common. quizzes allow learners to test their knowledge on a section or course as a whole.
While not the most interactive of interactive learning, self-assessments, knowledge checks, and quizzes within a course take traditional call-and-response to a new level by allowing learners to stay engaged in the learning directly on their device.
2. Supplement your authoring tool
So, what does it mean to supplement your authoring tool? Basically, when you push components beyond their standard use or add customization to existing elements in your authoring tool, you’re supplementing it. Think of this as a step up from designing purely within an authoring tool and adding an additional layer of interactivity and customization within your courses. This will require a slightly higher budget as well as a bit more time and talent, but the payoff is well worth it. Here are a few of our favorite ways to supplement your authoring tool.
Video is the fastest-growing learning technology, and it allows learners to stop and start a subject when they need to. Whether they’re learning a new concept from start to finish or just looking for a refresher, video is leading the way.
Within most eLearning authoring tools, you can customize them with html, incorporate custom graphics, and push the limits of components to use them in new, unexpected ways (If you’re looking for a few tips on how to do this, check out our Hacking Rise guide). We love doing this with our courses whenever possible to push interactivity further and to create a fully-branded learning experience.
Another way we like to augment our authoring tool is by creating scenario-based learning. While traditional learning tends to be linear, scenario-based learning relies on branching possibilities that depend on the choices learners make in a given situation. So rather than walking your learners through a step-by-step tutorial, consider how to create a scenario that forces the learner to think through the impact of their decisions, like we did with two regional store clients.
3. Break free from your authoring tool
Finally, you can build interactivity entirely outside of your authoring tool. While this will require a larger budget, more time, and likely more skills from your team, this kind of investment in interactivity can really pay off. So, what kinds of interactivity can you try completely outside of your authoring tool?
Augmented reality (AR) is a type of technology that lets you overlay digital information on top of a learner’s environment—all in real time. The device used can be something as simple as a smartphone or as complex as Google Glass. Either way, it’s a semi-immersive learning experience.
Virtual reality (VR), on the other hand, is 100% immersive, allowing the learner to feel like they’re interacting with a completely different world. VR is a great learning method for highly technical or dangerous job types—think, surgeons or military fighter pilots.
SCENARIO-BASED LEARNING (VIRTUAL OR FACE-TO-FACE)
Finally, we think scenario-based learning (virtual or face-to-face) is an incredibly valuable form of interactivity that can exist as part of a virtual course or outside of it. Adults learn best when they’re able to apply concepts in the real world; so think of scenario-based activities as a tool for grounding your learning in reality.
While in-person scenario-based activities is one option, we understand that sometimes, you want everything to live inside of your course. For a virtual solution, consider how our LXP, Loop, approaches this with its video roleplay feature. Learners are presented with a scenario and then asked to submit a video response for their manager to review.
Ultimately, the path you choose with your interactive authoring tool depends on your learners and the results you’re hoping to achieve. By keeping in mind the learning principles, your preferences, and your learner’s needs, you will choose the most appropriate solution that has the best chance of behavior change and growth.
Can't get enough of interactive learning?
Check out some cool work we've done with Royal Caribbean.Learn more