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How to Integrate Interactive Elements into Online Courses

March 29, 2018

Interactive learning creates long-term memory and helps in learning whether you are using it in your curriculum?

In the early days of e-learning, the most used trainers used to mimic the classic lecture format in the format used to create an online course. Many courses were lessons based, or tape lectures were included from the actual seminars. The learners watched the video, took notes and deposited the coursework.

Nothing is wrong with the basic course model mentioned above. For many years this has been effective for many learners, and there are many courses for which there is no need for anything else.

However, some courses benefit from a more interactive learning model, especially those who cover more complex topics or who need to assess the learner’s critical thinking and judgment. There is a lot to gain from these courses with more interactive learning models. The good news is that many easy interactions in online courses are easy to implement.

What makes a course interactive?

Before ours very deeply, we take a step back and cover what is not interactivity. The last time you were flying on an airplane, at the beginning of the flight, you probably display many emergency instructions using the flight attendant seat belt and the safety mask, or you can watch the video from the in-flight video screen. Do you remember any of it?

So far, I have probably seen that many times dozens of performances – even several times in one day, even so. And every time I have seen it repeated in movies or parodied in a comedy sketch. Most of us know the drill, but only because we repeated the same thing repeatedly when we were tired and barely listening.

How often do you think that you have to know that you could stand regularly and do it yourself? Or if you were given a small quiz later and asked to put an emergency exit path on the outline of an aircraft? Or if you take the steps to make an emergency oxygen mask, to arrange?

I’m betting that you can learn that the content is very fast and still, many courses still exist in the same format: text and video, with very little, follow up to the final exam or engagement.

On the other hand, course interactivity is about creating a dialogue between your learners and the curriculum content. Interactivity learns from a passive state overview and an active mentality. Doing this helps the learners to pay more attention to the material which makes a long-term memory.

 

Do you want to sound like something in your course? You have been given four ideas to get here.

1. Include trial and error.

Humans are hard to learn from mistakes, perhaps as a matter of survival. But in less severe circumstances, there is a way to use and explore the possibilities of learning from mistakes. When the cost of failure decreases, we are happy to fail again and again if it brings us closer to our desired result.

If your course involves learning a skill, trial, and error, then there is a great way to encourage the practice. Similarly, you can ask your learners to work as many different ways and judges who did the best work.

2. Throw a curve ball.

How do your students deal with the unexpected?This type of interactivity has some interesting opportunities for various training programs for employees, especially those related to customer service or emergency response.

To create a scenario and answer learners with them, you can assess their ability to consider their feet and answer them well. You can also change it in a kind of coaching session, where learners have practiced abnormal or unpredictable events and your program helps guide them towards proper feedback.

3. Turn it into a puzzle.

With the help of interactive elements, learners have to be engaged with course content for a long time. The last time you work on some kind of puzzle, think: How hard did you have to work to stay focused on the problem? While working through a puzzle, many of us can lose track of time, as long as we suspect that the problem can be solved.

Back in December, Google celebrated Computer Science Education Week by changing its daily doodle into coding puzzles. The simple game made a simple lesson in coding logic, and when it was targeted towards children, I did not have to say that I tried my hand, it was a bit different.

4. Have them choose their own adventure.

A branch gives learning experience to learners in charge of their educational experience. By allowing learners to choose different circumstances, they do not control their lessons only, they also practice decision making and critical thinking.

The lessons of a branch also work in different ways by which people can solve the problem. While a trial and error approach slowly points towards learners towards the same solution, one can choose a course of additional action that allows finding a path of an additional action, to choose their own path to learn a bold, an introvert Second is not necessarily a correct answer.

Interactivity can happen alone or with other learners.

All these interactive elements can happen at a time of learners, or with the help of other learners. Your course comes with professionals and their own set of opposition in every way to involve the interaction. Your chosen method is up to you.

For example, interactivity as a built-in feature involves a wide range of development. Some features, such as quizzes or drag-and-drop puzzles, are easy to incorporate and can even be part of your LMS. Others, such as an immersive 3D environment, that your learners can click on their computer screen, may include custom development.

There is usually no additional development in interaction with course collaborators, but it can be difficult for coordination of learners. Such education, which generally takes the form of group projects, can engage and help the learners to connect with their partners, but for this, the learners need to move forward through the courses of the groups. It may or may not work for your course.

The bottom line is, there is no reason why you can not include interactive elements in your online course, even if they are very simple. You may be surprised to see what your learners answered.

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