Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What makes a course interactive?

Hmm……that’s a question which has been flashing in my mind again and again…….this started during my recent project – IAAB and that too during a client call….the client wanted us to include lots of interactivities to engage the learners.
I was about to get convinced (given my vast experience in ILT and books projects – and little experience in WBTs projects) when one team member suggested that it’s not the “technology” or “multimedia” interactivities – like mouse clicks, drag n drop, open and close - that makes a course interactive…..rather it’s the way in which the learners “interact” with the “content” that makes a course interactive. Here the “way” refers to how the learners process the “content” and make decisions. In short, it’s the “connect” between the “content” and the “learners” or how close the content is to the learners that makes a course interactive.
Nice thought, really….. I think this could go a long way in ensuring that we design courses keeping in view the end users and not client. Some of us would already be doing so – it’s just that some projects provide little scope for implementing this.
This makes me think - what does it take to make this shift – are we ready for this? Am I pointing to what Sonali has shared in her blog titled – Who is your customer – the client or the end user?

Here’s looking forward to hearing from you on your experiences……


Sandipan on March 18, 2008 at 3:42 PM said...

Nice dimension to interactivity, Kuljit! However, I disagree with you on one count: "click" interactivities also make courses engaging, simply because they goad the user to "perform" some action, however trivial it might be (such as click to know more), thereby breaking the monotony. Of course, any sort of "decision-making" action makes a course much more effectively engaging. However, I feel we need to balance between the two.
I think in corporate training industry, the scope of creating training by analyzing the end user is pretty less at the moment. Most projects here are "conversion work, from one sort of delivery media to the other". So, essentially, some sort of training content is already in place, and the person who created/collated that content usually becomes the SME, and does not like mofication of the content. That's the reality. However, sooner than later, this trend has to change.

Dave Ferguson on March 19, 2008 at 10:11 PM said...

I'll agree with some of what Sandipan says. An awful lot depends on what the result of the interaction is.

If I try five "click for more" links only to find they deliver obvious or needless information, what I'm learning is "don't click for more."

So, Manish, I think you're right; it's not the technology per se. It's also easy for a designer or developer to become enthralled with the technology ("Look, it's a drag-and-drop!").

Learning occurs when we have to work with information, and when the information is relevant to us (e.g., to our job). Even in a multiple-choice Q in a course on interviewing, I'd say you'd learn more by being asked "How can you get Sam to tell you more? rather than "Which of the following is an open question?"

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