The 3 ‘I’s of Interactivity

This post is a sequel to my earlier post on “Top 5 things that I (Re)-discovered during the BSOP Project“. Here we shall discuss 3 broad ways in which interactivity can be implemented.

What is interactivity? In simple terms, it is an input from the user as a response to the content on the screen. This input can be as:

A simple mouse click (such as – selecting the correct option),

Entering data in a text box,

Dragging the response to the correct location on the screen, etc.

Interactivity can be used as check-point, which makes the user apply the concepts learnt in a different form, other than an ideal situation. It is the unique element, which differentiates e-learning from boring bullet points. Please note, that interactivity is not just restricted to a self check or a quiz. Nor, the “Click here to know” button is interactivity. The scope of interactivity is bigger, and the self check comes into it as a subset.

For example, the content tells about the documentation requirements. An interactivity may present a case, where – One or the other document is missing, while completing the documentation process. What would the learner do as an officer, in that case?

A good interactivity always makes a learner think TWICE before s/he attempts to answer.

Why do I need it?

To simply keep the user engaged (in simpler terms, “still interested”), in your course. A user sticks better to a course, when s/he finds the content interesting (that’s why we love Batman more than Newton, right?). To create interest, we can use audio-visuals. To gain maximum benefit from e-learning, understanding a concept and the applying the learning achieved, to a real life scenario is important. This can be easily be done by deploying well-thought interactivities.

How can I implement it?

Based on the type of content, interactivity can be broadly implemented in following ways:

1. Connecting the dots: This type of treatment is most suitable for content with conceptual emphasis. Our minds are more inclined towards finding a pattern, rather than simply memorizing the solution. Basis this fact, we can discuss the content in a way, that the learner identifies the pattern in solving related problems. Now we give the learner a different problem, which can be solved using this very pattern.

This not only pushes the learner towards application level of knowledge, but also higher retention level. It is recommended to keep the problem as close as possible, to real life scenarios of the learner.


2. Application interface simulation: Works mostly with the software simulations. Here, this can be of following types:

1. View Mode: a simple demonstration of the steps that show a specific process

2. Try Mode: Give learner the information, but lets him/her click on the simulated interface, instead of moving automatically. Generally followed after View Mode.

3. Test Mode: No information is given. The user has to navigate through the interface by himself. Generally followed after View Mode/ Try Mode.


3. Open Ended: Here the user is free from clicking the buttons and selecting responses. He needs to give/ enter an answer and match it to the correct response by himself.

How about letting the learner record an answer, in his own voice?

Some might say, making the learner a judge of himself might not work. Well, giving a response to learner doesn’t guarantee a learning either. Isn’t it?

So, which type of interactivity are you planning for your next course?