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A Guide to 3 Levels of Interactivity in eLearning Content Development

A person climbing up yellow colored stairs.

If you’re engaging with eLearning content, or planning to develop some, or just curious about this type of training, it’s crucial to know about a key aspect called ‘interactivity’. The level of interactivity in eLearning content development varies and this variation directly influences the learning experience. 

For instance, if you’re aiming to share basic information, a simple course could be just what you need. But if you’re seeking real engagement and interaction from the learner, a more interactive eLearning content development becomes a necessity. it's all about using the right amount of interactivity. More isn’t always better. Choose the type of interaction that best suits your needs and objectives.

What does Interactive eLearning mean?

Interactive eLearning refers to the level of active participation and engagement that the content allows from the learner. It's the element that transforms passive learning into an active experience, where learners are not just recipients of information but are actively involved in the learning process. The intent is to create a two-way interaction between the learner and the material, often through the use of multimedia and technological tools.

In eLearning content development, interactivity is used to:

  • Enhance comprehension and feedback through quizzes and surveys.

  • Provide a virtual practice environment through simulations.

  • Make learning interactive with drag-and-drop exercises.

  • Aid in decision-making skills through branching scenarios.

  • Motivate learners with gamified elements.

5 Benefits of Interactive eLearning Content Development

  • Emotional Engagement: Interactive eLearning mimics real-life scenarios, allowing learners to relate and engage deeply. By incorporating interactive case studies and simulations, learners can practise decision-making in a variety of contexts, enhancing emotional connection and learning depth.

  • Promotes Reflection: Interactive eLearning content development tools, like scenario-based discussions, encourage learners to think critically about what they have learned. This helps in integrating new knowledge with past experiences, fostering a change in attitude and deeper understanding.

  • Boosts Engagement: Engaging narratives and interactive storytelling in eLearning content development captivate learners' attention. Branching scenarios and interactive quizzes keep learners actively involved, making the learning process more immersive and effective.

  • Improves Learning Retention: Incorporating interactive elements like gamified assessments and multimedia sparks curiosity and sustains interest. This active engagement with content enhances memory retention & recall, and facilitates the application of knowledge in real-world scenarios.

  • Enhances Motivation: Interactive eLearning content development incorporates elements like music, themes, and gamification, which add a fun dimension to learning. These elements break the monotony, making learning enjoyable and motivating learners to engage more deeply with the content.

Understanding the Levels of Interactivity in eLearning Content Development

Level 1: Basic Interactivity 

This level, often referred to as ‘page-turners’, is the foundation of eLearning content development. The course is linear, and learners primarily act as receivers of information. At this level, there are no animations used, keeping the course simple and straightforward. Interactions at this level include:

  • Buildup And Rollover: Features a gradually assembling image, with each part revealing more information via text, images, or videos upon interaction.

  • Flash Or Flip Cards: These are tools for fast memory checks or tests. One side of the card has a question and the other side has the answer or related information.

  • Steps Or Ladder Depiction: Great for explaining sequences such as a consumer buying process or quality assurance process.

  • Pyramid: Used to showcase an organisational structure or explain a particular theory.

  • Panning Cards: Offer a slideshow-like presentation of images or videos.

Level 2: Enhanced Interactivity 

At this level, learners gain more control over their training. They can do more than just watch, read, and navigate. This level introduces minimal animations, making the learning experience more engaging but still keeping it relatively simple. Interactions expand to include:

  • Tabs: Allows learners to switch between different sets of information at their own pace. For example, they can learn about key functions of various departments or organisational Do’s and Don’ts.

  • Drag & Drop:  This interactivity involves moving drag items (objects to be dragged) to drop targets (designated zones) using the cursor. For example, it can be used in exercises where learners match terms to definitions or place items in correct categories.

  • Interactive eBook: Combines the familiarity of reading with the richness of digital content. For example, it can be used to present an employee handbook or the highlights of various organisational departments. Explore our ebooks.

  • Character Dialog or Conversation: This uses simulated dialogues or conversations between characters to make the learning experience more human and relatable. For example, it can be used to simulate a customer service call or a job interview.

  • Labelled Images or Graphics: Draw attention to important parts of an image or diagram. For example, it can be used to describe features of a software or highlight various parts of a machine.

  • Interactive Video-based learning: This form of interactivity utilises videos as an instructional tool, incorporating pauses at specific points to offer additional information or conduct knowledge checks. This method enhances learner engagement and the learning process. For example, it can be used to explain a product lifecycle or product assembly.

Here is our interactive video-based learning demo on 'Patrolling', featuring knowledge checks.

Thinkdom's Patrolling Demo

Level 3: Advanced Interactivity 

This level offers a high degree of complexity and customization. Learners have more control over their training and perceive the course as a participative and dynamic activity. Complex animations are introduced at this level, providing a more immersive and interactive learning experience. Interactions at this level include:

  • Scenario Exercise/Mini Scenario: In this exercise, learners encounter concise, text-based situations that demand decision-making. For instance, learners are presented with scenarios related to workplace safety challenges. These text-based scenarios encourage individual analysis and decision-making, enhancing critical thinking and the practical application of skills.

Check out our assessment in our POSH course and see how scenario-based learning can sharpen your critical thinking and decision-making skills through engaging scenarios.

Thinkdom's Posh Demo

  • Role Play: Role play is an interactive exercise where learners embody roles in complex scenario-based learning. For example, they might act as a project manager handling a project delay or a sales representative negotiating a deal. This method develops communication, negotiation, and problem-solving skills through character embodiment and dialogue interactions.

  • Visual Assessment: Presents learners with a visual story learning followed by related questions. For example, it can be used to explain a complex process, procedure, or a model as a graphic and include questions to test understanding.

  • Mind Map: A visual tool that organises ideas around a central topic, using keywords and images to simplify complex information. For example,  In a project brainstorming, it can be used to help connect concepts and understand relationships between ideas. 

  • Classification Or Sorting: This is a learning activity where learners group items into categories (classification) or arrange them in a pattern (sorting). It’s an interactive way to apply knowledge. For example, it can be used for classification of items into categories or assembling a particular machinery/setup.

  • Complex Simulations: These are digital replications of real-world processes or systems, providing an authentic learning environment.  For instance, they can be valuable for training in disaster response scenarios, where learners must navigate complex situations and make critical decisions in a controlled learning environment

  • Serious Gamified Learning: It's learning through games with a serious purpose. The learner gets to actively participate in a game where they make choices and see the results. For example, imagine a game that helps them learn about cybersecurity by putting them in situations where they have to defend against virtual cyber threats.

The comparative interactivity breakdown below aims to provide a clear view to assist in making an informed decision based on learner’s specific needs and preferences.

A comparison table with 6 columns and 4 rows.

Final Thoughts

Now that you have a comprehensive understanding of the different levels of interactivity in eLearning content development, you can make informed decisions to enhance learning experiences. Customising the interactivity level to learner's specific needs can significantly boost engagement, knowledge retention, and overall learning effectiveness.


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