Creating Great Custom eLearning Courses Using Varied Interactivities
Suresh Kumar DN
Custom eLearning courses can be built with varying strategies. One strategy that I have seen working is active learning, where we use a variety of interactivities to keep the learner engaged and hooked to the content. I will explore the same in this blog.
Various Methods of Engagement
In previous blogs, we have discussed how storytelling, scenarios, gamification, evidence-based methods, Q&A are effective strategies to engage the learners. In all strategies, one thing is for sure, we are looking for higher engagement levels as compared to standard click and learn kind of eLearning courses. The standard eLearning courses are no longer appealing to the learners as they don’t engage them enough. They may still go through the eLearning courses but would do so to complete them as per mandate and not with any seriousness.So, a good way to keep learners engaged is through interactivities that have the question component and asks learners to perform a series of steps that takes them forward. Let’s look at the various types of interactivities.
5 Interesting Interactivities
1. Myths and Facts
An interesting way to appeal to the learners is by asking them whether a particular statement is a myth or a fact. For any given subject, we have some popular perceptions. So, by asking learners to choose between a myth and fact will help them exercise their grey cells and think for a while. The purpose of this kind of interactivity is to help learners test themselves as to how much they really know about the subject. An interesting example of this activity is about say “Road Safety”. The learners may have certain assumptions about how to drive vehicles, the number of accidents that are generally reported, the best ways to drive during night or on highway, the correct method of giving way to another rider and so on. By starting a course by asking learners about myths and facts related to the concept will make them understand it at a deeper level.
2. Rhetorical Questions
An interesting strategy is to use rhetorical questions such as Agree/Disagree or “What do you think?” to make the learners think about the subject. This is a strategy that has evolved from classroom or face-to-face teaching. Good teachers generally start by asking rhetorical questions to wake up students from their slumber or inattentiveness. In the digital learning situation, asking such questions will help learners exercise their mental faculty better.
3. Mini-cases With Follow-up Questions
Another strategy is to have short or mini-cases to tell a story of a product or a success/failure. This can be followed by question to the learner as to what went right or wrong. This strategy helps learners understand the concept better. An example of this could be a failed drug that had to be called back or a failed car tire that caused accidents and had to be recalled by the company. Such cases add spice to the courses and help engagement levels go a notch higher.
This is a variation of a multiple-choice activity. While in multiple choice activity, there is a pressure to perform and get the answer correct, there is no such pressure in a checklist driven activity. Learners are presented with a series of items that they think are applicable to a situation. There are no right or wrong answers, but diagnostic feedback that helps learners learn about the concept better. An example I can think of is a series of statements related to food habits of adults in a course on food and nutrition. These statements will help learners gauge their understanding of concepts better.
5. Picture Comparison
Another interesting and time-tested interactivity is comparison. Learners are presented with two pictures and asked about which one is correct or a better way is of performing a procedure. After the learner selects an option, the feedback is provided with additional learning and resources. This strategy works well when we are talking about processes and procedures. Instead of just showing a series of steps, we ask learners to make an active choice. The learners are engaged better in this manner.
1. Drug Discovery
The customer wanted their inductees to understand and appreciate the process of drug discovery. We created a course with an interesting interactivities such as mini-cases with follow up questions and decision trees to evoke right responses and better learning. The course was able to help the learners make better choices and improve their learning process.
2. Banking Products
The customer wanted a course that would help improve the completion rates and better application of knowledge gained. We created a course with a series of interactivities. One such interactivity was scenarios with questions. The course was well liked and helped the customer achieve their training goals.
To conclude, there are many ways to make course interesting even when we are following the standard exploratory or discovery-based approach to teaching. The clue is to keep the course interesting by having good interactivities that keep the learners engaged and interested in their learning journey.