17 November 2016

How to create innovative interactions for eLearning that enhance effective learning

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I am not one who can just mindlessly watch TV and I feel that it is because I need to be constantly engaged and stimulated. If I am just sitting while my eyes glaze over staring at a screen, I do not pay any attention to what is in front of me.

It has to be either really stimulating (such as a documentary) or playing in the background while I do something else, for me to stare at a video on a screen for an extended period of time.

However, I am a gamer and I can sit in front of a screen for hours if I let myself, interacting with the virtual world in front of me. The key word here is “interacting”, this is keeping me engaged and stimulated and thus paying attention.

Now, this applies to serious eLearning as well, as a trainee is far more likely to retain knowledge when they are engaged and stimulated instead of just watching a screen. If a trainee is to take a test on that content, would they pass? Would the probability of passing been higher if they were engaged?

In order to improve trainees' probability of passing and thus not having to repeat training (which wastes time and money), eLearning has to be interactive and this can be done through a variety of methods.

The presenter

A lot of it comes down to the person presenting the content, if they are just talking in a dull, monotone voice (yawn!) it is more likely to put someone to sleep than keep them engaged.

The presenter can make their presentation more effective in a variety of ways, and they can make jokes, use energetic body language, and much more.

Testing recall

On top of this, presenters can make their videos interactive, for example with strategically placed quizzes or tests. Short, frequent quizzes work better than a big test at the end (the content is more likely to be fresh in the trainee's mind if it is recent, and this also facilitates microlearning).

Learning can be self-paced—let trainees watch a module again if they submit the wrong answers in that module’s quiz.

Pop-ups 

Another method I find particularly engaging is the use of pop-ups. I use this term loosely for an interaction that pops up while the video lesson is set on ‘pause’ (i.e. it does not have to be a separate window, and can appear on the same screen). Imagine a pop-up appearing on your training screen at a relevant moment with several possible alternative actions.

A correct answer rewards the trainee, while wrong answers can elicit informative or funny responses. In the Velpic world, we do this through annotations that can direct the viewer to a webpage, video, PDF download, or other document.

Word game

Another way to engage trainees is to have several words listed on the screen from which trainees select the correct answer. However, the words soon disappear, forcing the trainee to a) remember the position of the correct answer and b) remember the correct answer in the first place! Or perhaps each word provides different categories of content, and the user clicks on each one to learn more about it.

Again, in Velpic, we can use annotations to make this happen (pointing to URLs, videos, PDF downloads and such).

Put it all together

A combination of these tricks could benefit the trainee by:
a) Keeping them actively engaged;
b) Recording evidence of what and how well a trainee is learning; and
b) Providing related information without making a trainee sit through a long video again.

And this is not just for quizzes. Presenters can include fun little jokes or games within their training modules, like ‘find the marble under the cup’, or under an annotation. The possibilities are only limited by the content creator's imagination and the desire to make an effective, engaging and useful piece of eLearning material.

There are many ways you can make an engaging, interactive eLearning video (real easy if you use Velpic). It is just a case of creativity and getting in there and doing it! Who would have thought a gamer’s perspective could benefit serious training?

If you’d like to explore how to maximise the use of our innovative disruptive LMS, feel free to contact us at Velpic or sign up for a free trial.