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Why e-learning interactivity is engaging

Dan Richards

What is the value of interactivity in e-learning? It’s not interaction for interaction sake, but interaction that reveals a relatable context that establishes lasting memories, shapes behavior, and drives performance. True engagement means motivation. Adult learners, either consciously or not, choose to engage based on the relevance and the WHY behind the content, the reason that leads to a valued learning experience. My interest in this subject is driven by two factors. 

First, are the e-learning classes I teach. I ask my students about their goals as e-learning developers, and the answer almost always revolves around engagement. They want the learners in their audience to love their courses and to immerse themselves in the subject matter. After all, content is king, and the student should want to learn the all-important content. In class I teach that if content is king, context is god. We need to provide the context that makes the content meaningfull and impactful. A click, tap, or hover interaction can do that, but only if the premise of the interaction is revelation of the WHY.

Second, my interest in the value of interactivity in e-learning is evident in our name, Interactive Advantage Corporation. I recently pondered what this name meant 20 years ago when we started and what it means now. It may sound a bit corny, but the interactive advantage is what we gain when we, as course developers, inspire a learner to want to learn, not by the common trickery of sexy animations and complex branching scenarios, but by the honest relatability, relevance, and excitement of our story.