Creating an interactive online course doesn't mean only having animations or visual explosions to be "interactive." Interactivity course is about the learner's engagement and retention with the course.
Why is interactivity important?
Capture audiences' attention longer
Focus better = a higher retention rate
High success rate in your training program
If the learner isn't paying attention, it can lead to:
A waste of resources
Recurring errors and lack of improvement
Potentially failure in the training program
The Perfect Mixture
Keeping your Learners engaged and interested can be difficult, there needs to be a subtle balance between complexity training and the learners' capabilities. If the training is too difficult and complex, it can be frustrating and the learner would want to give up. Also, if the training is too easy, it can lead to boredom and lack of focus. Therefore, creating a training course to build on top of their preexisting skills will challenge them and allow learners to engage and focus on the content.
The 4 Best ways to make your online courses interactive:
1. Branch Scenarios
Imagine a tree, a seed is growing into a tree. The seedling starts to grow at the same point from the trunk then as time progress it grows out to different branches. These different branches are going to represent different scenarios in your course. The learners will all start at one point of the course as they continue to make decisions with the course curriculum. It will determine a different outcome for them. It is like "Choose your own adventure," and the learners can make decisions as they go through the course. The course can be designed to give different feedback based on different situations along the way to help guide them to the goal or lead the learners to different outcomes. Therefore, they can learn what can happen based on your decisions. This is also a good approach for different individual skills.
We all dread the idea to see a list of questions and then clicking and answering with multiple choices or true or false. However, we can remove the traditional setting questions and answers but present the quiz in a different way.
For example, you can create a drag-and-drop quiz.
Let's say you want to train your manufacturer employee to be an expert in ABC medical device. You can make ABC medical device figure and have the learner drag the parts or the function to the appropriate spots. As a result, the employee will learn the parts' location and functionality.
Another example using mini quiz checkpoints in your course which can be simple true and false or interaction drag and drop feedback questions to check their knowledge.
3. Role-play simulations
The online course can teach more real-life situations, so it can be very relatable to the learner. The learner will also have a better mindset on real-life situations:
What should be the first action?
Who should you report it to?
What should you do in case something happens?
when they experience similar situations.
The course should create a variety of real scenarios the employees would encounter on the job. A narrator or characters can give feedback or hints on the correct decision as the learner progress in the course. Even though learners can go towards the "wrong" path, they can learn the consequences of their actions and learn from them when the scenario arises again.
For example, an onboarding training course in a gas plant.
My course goal is to have new employees know what to do if there is a gas leak or any suspicious gas at manufacturing plant A. It starts out, with you, seeing something suspicious gas coming out of the stack pipes. Then you think to yourself, about what to do? Then options will appear on what to do. You as the learner need to learn what should be your first step to reporting this situation. Then as you progress in the course, you will encounter other characters or issues depending on your choice of options.
4. Authoring tools: triggers & hyperlinks
There are different types of authoring tools to help create your online courses such as Articulate 360, Adobe Captivate, Ispring Suite, Evolve, Smartbuilder etc. The programs offer a "trigger," a trigger is a way to create hotspots or "call to action" in your course.
Some example triggers:
Create pop-up windows, drop-down lists, or hide objects in a picture (hot spot)
Interactive flashcards or a jeopardy game.
For example, Onboarding: Stock merchandise
My course goal is to have new employees know where to stock certain items (such as heavy products or popular items) on the three-level shelf. The learner needs to figure out which items should go on the shelf. When the learner drag and drops an item into a hotspot then a pop-up window can give them feedback. Another interactivity to learn is to create an image with all the products with hotspot products and then the question could be: What products are incorrect? Pop up a window where the learner needs to type in the answer: why is it incorrect, this way the learner is engaging and active on your online course.
5. Voice over
Some learners are better at audio than visual learning. You can create a voice-over reading of the text and create triggers in controlling the timing of text appearing to retent their attention, focus, and pace.