3 Tips To Easily Create Interactive eLearning
Default thinking often makes us believe that by simply putting content online, this makes it engaging. Students these days are digital natives, right? They’ll surely interact with any online content with great gusto! Wrong. If the content did not excite or even interest students offline, it will not do so online, unless the content is made relevant and interactive. Below are three ways to engage students’ interest using online learning.
Use Tools and Templates
Today, there is a plethora of online tools and templates, ready to be used and manipulated to an instructor’s liking and to students’ needs. They can be used independently or incorporated into a learning management system. Templates may include things like interactive maps or branching activities, while tools may vary from personalized training paths to virtual whiteboards. Because a student must actively use tools or templates to learn from them, there is a higher chance that the student’s engagement level and/or understanding of the content will increase. Couple this with expert instructor facilitation and learner success is right around the corner.
Make it Social
Some interactive elearning tools harness the power of social relationships. For example, discussion forums or video/voice chats require students to work with each other in order to complete an assignment. Social learning can often be an impetus for some students to become more engaged with their schoolwork. It is no longer a solo activity, one competed in a silo, but rather one completed with the encouragement and validity of their fellow students.
Make it Relevant
Probably one of the biggest hurdles instructors face today is getting their students to see the relevancy of the content they are teaching. This is especially true for general education instructors, whose classes are typically not in the students’ fields of study (i.e. composition, philosophy, or algebra). However, with the power of elearning, instructors can now tie in content that does in fact directly relate to a student’s desired career. Instructors can, for example, upload videos or assign simulation activities that depict real-world examples of real-world jobs. Or, the focus could be on issues relevant to the lives of college students, using videos, for example, reflecting things like conflicts ensuing from hate speech on university campuses.
The Bottom Line
The reality is this: students will not find boring content interesting simply because it is placed in an online setting. Instructors and course builders must think creatively and use available interactive assets in order to engage learners. Doing so, of course, requires consideration of learning purpose and course objectives. Simply employing interactive tools or templates without consideration of purpose will yield adverse results (i.e. students will not learn or see the value in learning if the tools and/or templates are seemingly pointless). Thus, online learning should be well thought out and carefully planned, just as a course is that is taught solely in a brick and mortar setting. The difference here, of course, is that instructors and learners now have an entire digital world at their disposal.