This post is adapted from a webinar – register here to view the recording.
They say for eLearning to be engaging, it needs to be interactive. Interactivity is the key that keeps the learner’s interest, and assists them in embedding new knowledge once they have completed a learning module. It also helps to make the e-learning experience a little more fun! So how much interactivity do you require for your content?
How interactive your module needs to be, comes down to the definition questions you asked prior to entering into the development phase of your module.
Questions such as:
- Who are your learners?
- What are the expected learning outcomes?
- What do they need to be able to ‘do’ as an outcome of this module?
- Are we talking simple tasks, or complex skill sets?
An interaction is a learning activity where an individual is presented with a problem or scenario, and must work to achieve an outcome or goal. Interactions should be designed to maintain the learner’s interest, and if required, allow them to practice the task or skill they are learning.
If the learner is able to apply their knowledge through interactions, it will assist them in processing the information in more depth, and they will have a higher likelihood of recalling the information and transferring it to a real-world setting.
Articulate 360 has many tools available to assist you in crafting your interactions, and in encouraging your learners to interact with their computer screens.
No matter what type of interaction you are after, you can be guaranteed that one of the tools out of Articulate Rise, Storyline 360, Studio 360, Replay 360, Peek or Preso will be able to assist you in building your interactivity. Bet you never would have guessed that even Articulate Review and the Content Library can help promote interactivity in your e-learning? Curious? Read on to find out how.
But first the big question…How interactive does your interactivity need to be?
Over the years that our industry has been around, research has supported the finding that there are generally four levels of interactivity available to you, when crafting your e-learning masterpiece.
Level 1 – Passive Interaction
The first level (conveniently named Level 1) is your entry level interactivity. The level of interactivity is relatively passive. In passive interactions, the learner reads information on the screen, and navigates backwards and forward throughout the course. The types of things you would expect to see at this level include text, images, diagrams, auto-played videos/animations; and the standard next and previous buttons. Nothing too ‘flashy’, fairly minimalist and functional. Level I interactivity is great for simple information.
For example, here is module I whipped up about a breed of dog called the Alaskan Malamute. It’s an overview of the breed, their key features and some videos and images to support the information. A quick little Level 1 passive interaction.
The primary thing to keep in mind about Level 1 interactions is keep them super short, with free navigation for your learner. This means they can jump in and get the information they want and spend as long or as little in the module as they want without the risk of boredom and disengagement kicking in. Level 1 is also great for short updates or ‘Just in time’ information.
Articulate Rise is a superstar for this kind of interaction! Here’s why:
- It’s extremely easy to work with, copy and paste your content into any one of its pre-built lessons, or use its custom lesson blocks for a bit more control and variety
- Upload your own videos, or embed videos from a number of different websites
- Most importantly, Rise content is automatically optimised for any device used to view it. So no matter whether your learner is viewing the Rise course on a desktop, smartphone or tablet; it’s going to look amazing
Rise is not alone in its superstardom though! If you want to grab a quick screen capture of an app to share with a learner, or coach someone through using a new software application, you can also use Articulate’s Peek to grab your screen capture or use Replay to grab the capture and add picture in picture footage of yourself as a coach, virtually guiding your learner through the program. But wait! You can also import your Replay and Peek output videos into Rise enabling further content to support your learning objectives, all automagically responsive to the screen it’s viewed on. Want to capture a quick level 1 interactive informal training course on your iPad? You can do that with Preso! Working directly on your iPad’s screen with annotation tools on a series of PDFs. You can share that via a link anywhere or publish it to Articulate 360 and it becomes a downloadable SCORM compliant presentation for you LMS. Again, if you want you can upload it to Rise for further enhancement and responsiveness
How cool is that!? Articulate is already killing it, and we haven’t even got to Level 2 interactivity yet!
Level 2 – Limited Interaction
Level 2 is mostly the same as Level 1 but the learner can also interact with multiple choice exercises, pop-ups, simple animations and even the occasional drag and drop activity. Limited interaction examples include interactive timelines, drag and drop activities like matching, sequencing and so forth, application simulations that follow a procedure or process, quizzes, interactive games/stories and audio narration.
You can crank Articulate Rise up a notch to Level 2, and add all sorts of interactivity via its pre-built lessons or custom blocks. It will allow you to add timelines, interactive markers, matching activities, multiple choice quizzing, sorting activities and processes, all again fully responsive and looking gorgeous for your learner.
The other option is using Articulate Studio 360. As e-learning developers we are often given slide decks to convert into self-directed eLearning modules. Now, not all slide decks deserve to be converted, in fact most eLearning developers would cringe and shy away from just converting a slide deck and handing it back as an eLearning module. Not a great experience for the learner! And that process has significantly contributed to the bad wrap our industry gets!
But what if the slide deck is well designed and already follows some good instructional design processes? It can be converted easily to a Level 2 interactive eLearning module using Presenter and some instructionally sound Engage interactions.
Engage will give you the interactions you need like conversations, FAQs, guided images, labelled graphics, processes, timelines, tabs, checklists etc.
Then using Articulate Quizmaker you can add any number of interactive knowledge checks like multiple choice or multiple response answers.
Got a great Level 1 interaction you want to include in your module? Using the Web Object feature of Presenter you can pull it in and use it as well. All those Peek, Preso and Replay videos can be reused easily by importing the video outputs. Why reinvent the wheel when you don’t need to?
With Level 2 interactions you can hold and maintain your learners interest a little longer than Level 1 because you’ve got them, as Tom Kuhlmann says touching the screen and interacting with the content. You can usually push the time of your module here out to 10-15 minutes or so.
A good rule of thumb is to get the learners to interact with the screen every 3-4 slides. This assists in maintaining interest and reducing the boredom factor.
Level 3 – Complex Interactions
The learner will make some of the responses in Level 2 but in addition, they will also be expected to enter text and experience consequences for wrong answers. Scenario-based branching logic is introduced at this level. Branching logic allows the learner to experience some kind of penalty for incorrect responses, and their progress is determined by their decisions. Complex interaction examples include branching scenarios, viewing video and identifying faults, problem solving activities etc.
Want to create a course with decision-making scenarios, custom interactions, and quizzing that is highly interactive?
Calling Articulate Storyline 360. You’re up.
By using Storyline’s layers, states and triggers, you can create complex interactions easily, and by using SL360’s variables you can personalise courses by capturing and tracking the learners inputs and actions, creating a dynamic experience for the learner.
By combining all these feature you can build fully immersive scenarios that draw in and engage your learners. For example are you teaching counselling skills? By using Storyline’s triggers you can not only get text feedback on how you are going, but the body language of your virtual client can also change from positive to negative and back again depending on the choices you select. A great way for a would be counsellor to practice their skills in a safe environment with coaching and feedback available for their actions.
Storyline is also quite capable of producing Level 1 and 2 interactive experiences, but its power really shines when you are creating more complex situation for you learners.
Level 4 – Full Animation or Real Time Interactions
This is the ‘top end’ of interactivity when it comes to eLearning development. Real time interactions include enhanced gaming technology, real life 3D simulations, virtual/augmented reality, interview/interrogation simulations with extensive feedback and multiple branching options, interactive spreadsheets, solving a mystery, interacting with a virtual product and so on.
Level 4 interactions can look good and be extremely high-tech, but that doesn’t necessarily always produce a ‘meaningful learning experience’ as they may have been created by animators/coders etc. who don’t have instructional design experience.
Level 4 interactions can be awesome, but are usually quite expensive and time consuming. They may also rely on technology that learners do not have access to e.g. VR goggles.
Again here Storyline can assist you in achieving this level of interactivity. Take the above counselling interaction to another level by adding multiple branching outcomes based on each and every decision you make, keep the decision by decision coaching or leave it out until the very end of the interaction and receive a personalised ‘report card’ based on how you went, with suggestions for improvement and reinforcement of the correct skills used.
You can also use a high level animation app like Vyond to create videos to import into Storyline.
Additionally, want to make it even more real time? Add a countdown timer to put the pressure on and mimic an actual consultation time frame. If you aren’t done by the time the counter reaches zero, the client will walk out on you.
Further customisation can be added with Storyline’s variables, giving the course a personal feel for the learner, including lost opportunities if information isn’t followed up on (True-False variable), a personalised experience where the client refers to you by your actual name (text variable) or even a ticking clock showing time remaining for a successful consultation (number variable).
Did you know that Articulate Review can also support a Level IV interaction? Articulate Review is great for garnering feedback from stakeholders via its comment system, but what if you used that comment system for a Level 4 interactive, asynchronous learning event?
Upload a module to review that poses a number of questions or review a particular learning skillset, and encourage your learners to comment on the learning presented, or answer the questions you have posed in the module. Learners can also respond to other’s comments on Articulate Review creating a real-time interaction for learning.
In rapid eLearning the ‘sweet spot’ to aim for, is a level of interaction set between Level 2 and 3. This is usually achievable with regard to time, money and resources and still obtain a quality output that addresses learning gaps.
Articulate 360 can help you with whatever level of interactivity you want. If you’re dry on inspiration have a look at the Articulate Content Library which is available with the Articulate 360 subscription for some ideas. Or check out any of the links below for interactive inspiration.
Want interaction? All you need is your imagination and Articulate 360, and you have the winning combination.
E-Learning Heroes https://community.articulate.com/
E-Learning Challenges https://community.articulate.com/series/e-learning-challenges
Why you need the tools in Articulate 360 and when to use them – Nicole Legault (Community Manager E-learning Heroes)
Articulate 360 https://bonlinelearning.com.au/articulate/articulate-360
Articulate Peek Vs Replay