Interactive materials are eLearning components that allow learners to navigate topics at their own pace and in the order they prefer. This type of learning emphasizes learner control and involvement in content delivery. Interactive materials are driven by the idea that a learner is more likely to engage with and retain information if they actively select content based on its applicability to their work.
As a broad category of tools and resources, interactive materials empower learners to actively “pull content” from learning modules instead of receiving content that is “pushed” to them in a particular order or sequence. Building interactions into educational content allows learners to control the information and its flow. Interactivity is one of the key features of eLearning that reconfigures learning dynamics, which traditionally involve linear information organized within a predetermined learning journey.
Interactive materials vary widely, enabled by a range of tools and features. Some Learning Management Systems (LMSs) allow developers to build interactivity into entire modules. An example of a module structured by interactivity would begin by presenting the learner with a decision before “pushing” information to them. The learner’s decision would then unlock course navigation, allowing them to move through content independently.
Gamification, or the use of learning games, is an increasingly popular approach to interactivity. Gamification turns learners into players, who engage in a challenge and interact with the game (and sometimes other players) in order to make decisions and work towards a specific outcome.
Targeted interactive materials allow learners to “pull” information without restructuring entire modules or processes. Checkpoints and evaluations invite engagement, breaking up broader segments of content delivery.
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