The need for elearning interactions varies depending on who the audience is. In one study, it is revealed that learners value their interaction with the content compared to their teacher and fellow learners. In this particular study, there was no obvious link that connects the success of the course with the interaction that the learners receive.
On the other hand, students who need to be taught a sense of community, need proper interaction during the elearning process. A study revealed that the interactions have a positive influence on how the student perceives their community.
We all know that when it comes to online learning, the level of interaction is not the same as what students will go through in a traditional classroom. But that does not mean it is not effective. It can be effective as long as the right amount of interaction is provided.
This is why instructors and presenters of elearning courses should know the right level of interaction that should be used.
Here are the 4 different levels of interaction that can be used in online courses.
This is the level where there is no interaction – at least, between the learners and the instructors or fellow learners. But that does not mean there is no engagement. The learner still has the content to interact with. This is why developers should ensure that the way they present the content can stand for itself. Things like making the students click on something to get the course going or having them ponder on questions in the midst of the lesson.
The next level of is the limited interaction. This is something that can work – as long as the lesson does not involve making decisions. If this is a skill that learners have to practice, then a limited interaction might not be enough. But if it is not a necessity, then it should be alright. In this level, the instructor is usually online together with the students – but not entirely interacting the whole time. Asking questions and discussing answers at some point is enough interaction. It does not have to happen during the whole course – just enough to check if the students are getting it or not.
In this level of elearning interaction, there is a more detailed approach to the engagement – so much so that it is part of the initial planning of the course. The engagement becomes a vital part of the content itself. You can plan a periodic schedule of quizzes, forums, videos, etc. It is also possible that games will be useful at this level. It encourages interaction with both the instructor and fellow learners. This is a great level to follow when there is a new software, application, or program that has to be learned. The skill that has to be learned can be practiced through planned interactions.
This is the extreme when it comes to elearning interactions. In this level, a more sophisticated program or highly-graphical content is needed. For instance, using Virtual Reality or 3D simulations can be very helpful to achieve this level of interaction. While it can be costly, it is very effective when there is a need for highly technical skills and knowledge acquisition.
These elearning interactions are all effective but you have to make sure you understand how each should be used. This will keep you from going overboard on the course and still keep everything as interesting as possible.