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How to Use Interactivity for a Superior Learning Experience

Learners so easily slip into the habit of clicking the next button without comprehending or internalizing the material presented.

That’s a problem. A HUGE problem.

Especially when you need them to comprehend a course. What if you could create modules that were not only engaging but also stopped mindless clicking and actually provided metrics that validate learners’ comprehension and adoption of curriculum?

What is interactive learning?

By standard definition, interactive learning is the process of two people or things working together and influencing each other. A pretty standard definition of interactivity.

For corporate and professional audiences, interactive learning is a pedagogical approach that incorporates social interaction and technology into course design and delivery.

Millennial, tech-savvy users are becoming a rising force in the workplace, and, for them, technology is as natural as a pen and paper was for the generations before them. This shift in the facilitation of learning presents an opportunity to enhance the way the corporate world learns.

The role change, from keeper of knowledge to facilitator of learning, presents a challenge and an opportunity for educators to dramatically change the way their students learn. Interactive learning has shifted the boundaries between teacher and student.

3 Types of Interactivity (Without Technology)

Even though you probably don’t think of them by their learning industry titles, there are three types of interactivity that we use in our daily lives.

1. Call and Response

Call and response is an interaction between a speaker and an audience in which the speaker's statements are punctuated by responses from the listeners.

Remember being asked to raise your hand when you knew the answer to the question in grade school? That’s call and response learning. The teacher poses a question to the classroom, and the learners, or students in this example, raise their hands and provide a response.

2. Self-directed

Self-direction is an interaction where an individual chooses the subject they will learn, their studying material, and the studying rhythm and time. It puts the learner in control of the content they consume (or don’t consume).

I’m an avid knitter and I’m used to knitting scarves and hats. I wanted to up my game and learn how to knit mittens and not just any mittens—I wanted to tackle a fair isle pattern. Fair isle is the very technical pattern you see in a lot of nordic and scandinavian knits. I ordered a book that explains the various techniques for fair isle knitting, chose a section each night to read, then set to work practicing with my yarns and knitting each evening. The epitome of self-directed learning!

I was my own teacher guiding myself through a lesson, absorbing the material and participating in many “quizzes.”

3. Immersive

An immersive interaction describes an activity where a learner is fully immersed in a real-life scenario.

Remember driver’s ed? In order to learn how to drive the car, you actually had to drive the car! Sure, you could watch videos and study a guide book, but it wouldn’t ever be the same as getting behind the wheel and actually driving the car.

The same thing applies for all of you athletes reading this post. You could study, read, and theorize all day long about your sport, but until you actually jumped in and started participating did you truly learn all of the nuances of it.

Technology in Learning

Technology allows us to boost our level of engagement through huge advancements in device interactivity. Think back 20 years... do you remember “Clippy,” Microsoft Office’s little paper clip that would pop up on screen when you needed help in a document?

We’ve come a long way since Clippy. But in essence Clippy was there to guide us through the technology and effectively enhancing our training of the system.

The principle of integrating technology into learning hasn’t changed, but the technology itself has come a long way since the days of Clippy. eLearning developers and designers now have a plethora of tools at their disposal to create an interactive learning experience like never before.

Beyond that, technology innovation has driven down costs, increased scalability, and allowed for greater consistency across the board.

How Technology Facilitates Learning

Technology has certainly made learning easier and more efficient thanks to improved design and mobile-friendly delivery options, but there are other overarching benefits that fit a larger picture of how technology has improved the learning experience.

Recently, we worked with a client to centralize their training and develop a course to introduce new phlebotomists on the standard of care associated with phlebotomy and how to achieve it. The client identified two areas of improvement in their phlebotomy training: sterilization and needle insertion.

From there, we worked with them to build a highly interactive eLearning course that walked new hires through proper preparation and technique.

Training has been received well during initial rollout to their management team, and it will help improve the accuracy of the phlebotomists swabbing technique by 90-100%.

Long term, this training will have a positive financial impact for the client by improving the phlebotomist-customer interaction.

Lower Cost

While still a large investment depending on the type of technology, accessibility and cost barriers have significantly decreased in the last several years thanks to innovation.

Organizations are saving money across the board by paying for the technology once and putting it to work for them, instead of paying for an instructor and all of their associated fees time and time again.

Greater Scalability

Thanks to technology, we’re now able to reach a broader audience anytime, anywhere. Learning was restricted to when and where a teacher could deliver the material—but reaching learners anywhere is now possible thanks to scalability.

Consistency

Technology also allows for consistency on the methods of training and materials being taught to learners. Instead of having to send five different instructors out to various regions—with all trying to teach the same material in their own way—there is now a scalable means to deliver consistent training.

Technology + Interactivity = Superior Learning

Combine the classic ways of learning with technology and kaboom! You now have an amazing learning experience that will allow you to scale your learning, maintain consistency, and lower costs overall.

How We Blend Technology and Classic Learning

Being technologists at heart here at Maestro, we believe beautiful performance occurs with the right mix of technology and a relevant learning style. We’ve worked with many amazing clients who have wanted to elevate their learning in the following ways:

Call and Response

Thanks to technology, we are now able to improve our interactive learning experiences when it comes to traditional call and response through:

  • Self-assessments - Self-assessments are a great way for learners to get a baseline of their understanding before jumping into a course or to test their knowledge at the conclusion of a course.
  • Knowledge checks - Knowledge checks allow learners to test their knowledge as they go through a course. At the end of a section or in-depth explanation, they can do a quick check to see if they understood the lesson. This could be through drag-and-drop, click and reveal, or other avenues of interactivity.
  • Quizzes - Quizzes are a more cumulative approach to call and response learning and probably the most common. Quizzes allow learners to test their knowledge on a section or a course as a whole.

While not the highest of the interactivity levels, these interactions take call and response to a new level by allowing learners to stay engaged in the learning experience directly on their device.

Self-directed

Self-directed learning is often described as “bite-sized” because of the ability to digest small amounts at a time when on the go.

  • Mobile apps - Mobile apps usage is on the rise, and with nearly 77% of U.S. adults owning a smartphone, it makes sense to deliver learning on a mobile device and allow learners to pull necessary information themselves when needed.
  • On-demand eLearning - Thanks to this rise in mobile app usage, bite-sized eLearning is easier to create and more readily available to learners. On-demand learning also allows learners to access the information when it is necessary. Instead of sitting through an hour-long course on the features and benefits of a new product, learners can access that information in the field or when they are in front of a customer.
  • Custom training videos - Video is the fastest-growing learning technology, and it allows learners to stop and start a subject when they need to. Whether they’re learning a new concept from start to finish or just looking for a refresher, video is leading the way.

Immersive

  • Augmented Reality - Augmented reality is a type of technology that lets you overlay digital information on top of a learner’s environment—all in real time. The device used can be something as simple as your phone to create a semi-immersive learning experience.
  • Virtual Reality - Virtual reality, on the other hand, is 100% percent immersive, allowing the learner to feel like they are interacting with a completely different world. VR is a great learning method for highly technical or dangerous job types—think surgeon or military fighter pilot.

How to Determine When to Use Interactivity—and What Type!

Knowing what you are trying to achieve through your learning will direct how much and what type of interactivity is the best to use.

Creating a 20 minute eLearning with a few click-and-reveal and knowledge checks may not be enough to train a brain surgeon. At the same time, creating a virtual reality experience to teach college students how to work the cash register at their local Gap may be a bit excessive.

We encourage you to spend time brainstorming and mapping out the big ideas and end goals of your learning. From there, work backwards and see where it makes sense to test the learners’ knowledge and integrate varying levels of interactivity.


For a more in-depth mapping process, we encourage you to work with your performance partner on a consulting engagement. Together, you can take a deep dive into what the best solution is for your needs and goals.

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