Is interactive content the same as engaging content?

By and large, the answer is no! Not all interactive content is necessarily engaging, and not all engaging content needs to be interactive.

Interacting with the content may be as simple as clicking on a button, or as complex as playing a game. As this article says, there are four levels of interactivity:

  • Fully passive
  • Limited interactivity
  • Complex interactivity
  • Real-time interactivity

However, keep in mind that completely passive content (such as watching a movie) can be highly engaging, while poorly-made interactive content can be boring and unengaging. So how do you ensure that your users are not just interacting with you content, but really engaging with it?

Here are 4 great ways to ensure that the interactivity you build into your content successfully drives higher levels of engagement.

1. Make interactivity central to your courses

Use interactivity as a fundamental part of your e-learning course structure. For example:

  1. Query/response structure to allow learners to ask and answer questions and move forward through the course
  2. Simulations and case studies where the learner actively participates in the process
  3. Branching scenarios where learner responses or performance determine the next module to be delivered
  4. Game-based learning, where actively playing the game takes center stage and learning is delivered sub-consciously

2. Choose the right media options and content formats

Avoid entirely text-based slides or text-heavy media such as PDFs of textbooks as the main medium of learning. Text fails to hold the learner’s attention, and they are difficult to track. 

Learners don’t interact much with text-based content, beyond clicking from slide to slide, which is another reason why they may disengage mentally. Are they really reading, or just skipping past screens full of text?

In any case, most people are oriented towards visual media, and find videos or graphics more engaging. For both reasons, consider short animations or videos as the media for your content.

3. Build your assessments to be engaging

Participating in assessments is a major way in which learners interact with your e-learning course. There is a risk associated with quizzes built around multiple-choice questions (MCQs) – a user who has not participated in the course could still make semi-informed random guesses on an MCQ quiz and pass the assessment!

MCQ quizzes are easy to interact with – however, it’s important to intersperse them with some assessments of greater complexity to ensure that the learner engages mentally. Getting assessments right also helps to conclusively determine the effectiveness of the course and skill level of the learner.

4. Apply realism to your interactivity

Try interactive e-learning structures such as gamification, game-based learning, story-based learning or social learning that apply a layer of realism to your content.

When it comes to adult learning, your learners are unlikely to be interested in engaging with purely academic or theoretical materials. On the other hand, real-world examples like case studies or simulations of actual processes can help.

Also consider delivering an immersive experience wherever possible, and to the extent possible. This can be done through virtual reality, augmented reality, and 3D graphics.

While interactivity is a good start, it’s not the end of the conversation when it comes to creating engaging e-learning content! Connect with our team of experts to discuss how to get started today. Let’s move beyond interactivity to embrace engagement!