In 2015, trainees have relatively short attention spans—so the page-turner format of eLearning often struggles to hold their interest (and frankly has never been a solid approach).

To combat this, many instructional designers are relying on increased interactivity through a variety of features within eLearning courses.

Now, this isn’t to say that complex interactive elements are always the route to take. When interactivity goes too far, learners focus on the course itself, rather than the material—and that’s bad news.

But with relevant interactive elements, you can certainly make your course more interesting and hands-on for learners.

Here are a few interactive elements to consider:

Branched Scenarios

Within branched scenarios, learners leverage the interactive element that is the power to choose.

The course responds to the learner’s input and presents different outcomes based on the choices he or she makes, thus creating an impactful learning experience that’s quite similar to real-life situations. Especially for sales or customer service training, these are excellent practice before going live.

Drag and Drop Features

Drag and drop features are one way to keep the learner engaged with otherwise flat content. For example, rather than just presenting facts within a course, making the learner match elements using drag and drop tools creates an element of interactivity in what could have been a lull in the course.

Adding in an engaging activity helps keep the learner moving through the material, too. The best part about these is that users enjoy them and they’re super easy to build with the functionality of tools like Articulate Storyline.

Progress Tracking

Courses that let a learner mark their progress by earning badges, earning points, or reaching certain levels not only helps them gauge their pace and progress within a course, but adds a game-like element into the content mix. Tapping into the competitive spirit of learners means challenges can be welcomed and taken head-on.

Simulating On-The-Job Tasks

Content can also be made interactive by finding ways to replicate real world tasks within your course. This often requires you to think outside the box and separate activities into several components. As long as your activities resemble the skills needed in the real world tasks, the benefits can be great

Again: While the content might not be highly entertaining, interactivity gives a more interesting twist on the material.

When to Use Interactivity

One of the easiest ways to judge when (or when not) to use interactivity is by asking yourself, “Does this help the learner achieve the goal of the course?”

If you can’t answer with a resounding yes, you should probably skip it.

User testing will help you spot instances when interactivity hurts rather than helps, but most of the time, it will be clear when embellishments get in the way.

Need Inspiration?

For further reading on interactivity within eLearning, browse the articles here.