Interactivity in courses can come in several different formats
2. Student to student interactions
3. Teacher to student interactions
This post is the first in a series on interactivity and will explore #1 on the list - technology.
When comparing educational online courses to business online courses, there is a stark difference. Many courses in education are engaging with vivid imagery and colors, interactive features like drag-and-drop and click-to-reveal. It is becoming increasingly difficult to release courses in the education space (I know, I am an online teacher) without these interactive features.
Business courses somewhat lag behind in interactivity. Most courses in this space are text and video driven, based solely on lecture. I predict that this will not be the case for long. Entrepreneurs and businesses are learning that they must deliver actual learning experiences if they want to keep clients coming back for more.
The main issue I hear about from businesses is that they do not know what technologies to use to implement interactive elements into their courses. Today I want to share some options with you that will not break the bank!
Text-based Interactivity Tools
Twine - An open-source tool for telling interactive, nonlinear stories.
Inklewriter - A tool to create branching stories and interactive tales.
Infinite Story - Write and read never-ending, interactive fiction stories. Upload pictures, collaborate with other writers, creative writing forums, and more!
Quandry - Quandary is an application for creating Web-based Action Mazes. An Action Maze is a kind of interactive case-study; the user is presented with a situation, and a number of choices as to a course of action to deal with it. On choosing one of the options, the resulting situation is then presented, again with a set of options. Working through this branching tree is like negotiating a maze, hence the name "Action Maze".
Powerpoint - Good ole' PowerPoint is pretty powerful! Create adventure games using PowerPoint hyperlinks.
Google Forms - An easy method of creating choice scenarios and games using the features of Google Forms. I love this method because Google Forms logs the choices your learners make. This information is great for segmenting, connecting with your learners and knowing how they think about the topic.
Google Slides - Google Slides has features to build choice scenarios and games using hyperlinks.
Video based Interactivity Tools
Playposit - Add interactive questions, video branching, and rich media into the video's timeline to actively engage on mobile or web devices.
Eko - Pioneering a new medium where viewers shape the story as it unfolds. The result is streaming digital interactive video that allows our viewers to affect, control, and influence narrative live-action entertainment.
Adventr - Create and share interactive video experiences. No coding and no downloading needed.
YouTube - YouTube allows in-video links and annotations. Create a series of videos and allow learners to choose their path through the content while making decisions that apply the content to their unique situation. These create very powerful "calls to action" for your learners.
iTunes - Create a series of podcasts based on choices that your learners make.
WordPress - Use your own site to host audio files that create an interactive story where learners can learn content and make choices and decisions. I love the audience interaction element of voting for a choice. You must listen to know the outcome. What a great way to gain mystery and excitement!
Raptivity - Raptivity makes creating learning games easy and quick. They have almost 200 templates to customize. I use this software regularly for my clients and highly recommend it. One time fee for the software.
eLearning Brothers - Their interaction builder allows you to create games and interactions easily using their pre-made templates. Annual subscription fee.
Scenario-based Interactivity Tools
Adapt Learning - Adapt is a free and easy to use e-learning authoring tool that creates fully responsive, multi-device, HTML5 e-learning content using the award-winning Adapt developer framework. There are two options - create without tech knowledge or with tech knowledge. This software allows you to create full courses. Monthly subscription fee.
Articulate Storyline - The king (or queen) of course creation. This beast will allow you to create scenarios, assessments, interactive elements or full courses. It does have a learning curve but is similar to PowerPoint.Articulate also has a large selection of other products for course creation like Studio, Rise, Replay, Peek and others. Has one time purchase software downloads as well as annual subscriptions.
Adobe Captivate - Another course creation powerhouse. Some say Captivate is more powerful than Storyline. This Adobe product is easy to learn for those used to Adobe but may have a higher learning curve for others. Like Articulate, Abode has a wide variety of tools available for course creators like Illustrator, InDesign, Connect, Photoshop and others. Annual subscriptions.
Evaluating Your Course for Technology Interactivity
We regularly evaluate courses for businesses, entrepreneurs and educators and encourage you to evaluate your own courses as well. Interactivity is important on our rubric of look-fors. Without it courses can be boring, difficult to stay tuned into and lecture-heavy.
Good instructional design and educational theory tells us that courses HAVE to be more than just a one-way flow of information from the teacher to the student.
The use of technology makes this form of interactivity easy!
Your learners need supports in place so that they can properly absorb your information and apply it.
Use discussions/forums, assessments, check ins with the teacher, synchronous sessions, games, activities, webquests and interactive videos. Create scenarios using a tech tool to walk learners through the application of your content.
Stay tuned for the rest of the series on interactivity!