4 Levels of Interactivity in E-Learning Courses

E-learning is a vast field and the types of content that are developed are also varied – depending on the needs of the learners. As a custom e-learning developer, one aspect of e-learning is very critical – the level of an e-learning course. The level of an e-learning course is the measure of the interactivity built into it. Creating the right level of interactivity in e-courses is very important for any e-learning service company.

It’s often a misconception that interactivity in e-courses takes too much time, effort, and money. On the contrary, it offers learners the opportunity to engage more intensively with the content and to learn effectively. Developers can also choose to create interactive courses using rapid authoring tools – to create interactivity in an e-course.

There are four levels of interactivity in e-learning, in increasing order of complexity and type of learning delivery. Level 1 courses have very little interactivity and are referred to as page turners. They are suitable for information-heavy courses. Level 2 interactivity courses are best designed for corporate training. From slide transitions to simple animations, there is a lot that can be done in this level to engage the audience. Level 3 courses offer more experiential learning with multiple scenarios and outcomes. Level 4 offers the highest level of interactivity that e-learning has to offer – games and virtual environments are part of this level, which can provide hands-on learning for different audiences.

How much interactivity should be included in a course depends on a number of factors –

• Learners should be able to use and appreciate the built-in inter-activities. If the course is too interactive, the learner loses focus. If it offers very few opportunities for interaction, it will become boring and not effectively engage learners. The right balance must be found by understanding the needs of the learner.

• Not all content needs to be interactive to be effective. Some courses must rely heavily on text and graphics. These are teaching courses that have a lot of information to share. The learners also realize that they have to remember a lot. So there’s not a lot of interactivity in this type of course. In fact, forced interactivity is not only a waste of money and time, but also hinders the effectiveness of learning.

• Developers should also keep in mind the available technological infrastructure on the learners’ side. e-courses are useless if they don’t render well on user devices. If learners do not have the specific hosting environments and technological support of high-end interactivity, the course will not have the consistent impact.

• Finally, available budgets should also be taken into account when deciding on the degree of interactivity in e-learning. Interactivity such as simple animations, rollover effects and slide transitions can be built in using readily available tools such as MS PowerPoint. But experience courses with high-end interactive activities definitely cost more. So make sure the training budget includes the provision for the level of interactivity to be built into an e-course.

It’s a smart idea to ensure that the interactivity built into an e-course is aligned with the above factors – only then can the e-course be truly effective for the intended audience.

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Thanks to Gireesh K. Sharma

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