While we learn something new every day, some of it fades off with time while lessons that truly make an impact, stay with us forever. E-learning is a platform where learner is self-driven and self-paced. In absence of a teacher or instructor, it is the intrinsic design of the course that grabs the attention of the learner and sustains it for the entire learning cycle. In other words it engages, leads and inspires.
Learning content can be made engaging through interactivities or experiences built within. Interactivities provide learner challenges, give chance to explore, invite decisions as well as give room for mistakes and learning. Above all interactivities make learning fun.
A successful e-learning experience is created when the balance of Interactivity type and Knowledge is just right.
1. Fill in the blank or True/False exercises are great as they kindle memory in learners. These exercises are great for self-assessment as well as learners can be given feedback right away and they know where they stand. Facts, figures, terminology, definitions – can all be built within these exercises.
2. For procedural training’s, exercises based on ‘Arrange in right Order’ or ‘Arrange in Order of importance’ can encourage learners to recall the correct order or sequence of processes that are integral to their nature of work.
3. Tell a story using one or multiple mediums – Text, Graphics or Audio-Visuals. Build in animation if you want but the main idea is to create a message through a story and make sure that learner understands it. You can pose Story-based Questions, during or at the end of the session. The feedback can be through questions that require objective answers like a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ or descriptive answers that require the learners to ponder over the issues that the story raises. ‘Fix-it’ stories encourage quick and logical thinking where the learner thinks about how the situation can be made better – and hopefully, applies it in real life as well. If you want to entice imagination and creative thought, you can leave the end of the story open to interpretation and ask your learners to complete it. This exciting exercise helps learners think of many ways approaching issues and gives them a larger perspective of the subject being taught.
4. Interactive Diagrams, created with simple graphics tools can be great way to engage learners. Parts of the diagrams can be made interactive with simple effects like Fade-Ins or Hover effect. Learners can be invited to connect more with the diagram with effects like ‘Magnify’ or ‘Know-more’. Since the information is not shared right away, the suspense building is good for engagement. Exercises like ‘Predict the next step’ or ‘Label the part’ can be built in as an assessment tool as well.
5. Another way of engagement is a ‘Teach-Back’ activity where the learner dons the role of the instructor to explain certain topics or procedures – to virtual or actual fellow learners. They can write subjectively, in detail about topics they have learnt. They can create study material like a presentation to share with their peers. These activities however take time. To retain learner attention, exercises like ‘Choose the curriculum’ where learners can choose the right reading material for a certain course for their peers or choose assessments that are appropriate according to them.
Just make sure you are not adding eye-candy interactivities as they only overwhelm learners. Ensure that learners are ready to receive the chosen interactivity.