The Good and Bad Side of Interactive E-learning
The term ‘interactive’ is often talked about in relation to e-learning. But how often is e-learning really interactive? e-Courses that are truly interactive have the capabilities of transforming content into learning that is both meaningful and beneficial. Learners are able to interpret and summarize information rather than memorizing it.
This allows them to actively process and apply this content to their everyday lives. 50-90% of learners are able to retain content that has been taught in an interactive way, however passive courses only result in a 5-30% knowledge retention rate.
Many courses that can be found online state that they are interactive, however the majority aren’t. Clicking a next button, providing masses of content or over using sound or animations are not interactive features. These are most likely doing more harm than good, for example, overusing sound or animation only distracts the leaner and directs them away from the content that they should be learning.
Successful e-learning courses are interactive. Good interactivity has to have purpose, it needs to be engaging without being confusing or annoying. There are many ways of designing interactive courses that deliver knowledge retention and increase understanding:
- As people learn better in groups, create an activity where learners can collaborate, discuss and learn together (e.g. chat rooms or forums)
- Create simulations of events or activities where learners can change variables and therefore the results – learning from mistakes as well as correct actions
- Use compelling, but realistic stories to guide the learner through a course
If you don’t provide truly interactive courses, don’t say that they are. Think about how to structure your learning and how to make it engaging for the learner. It doesn’t need to be big and flashy to be interactive or effective.