Raise your hand if you feel like you are using interactivity for interactivity sake in your online courses. As students participate in synchronous and asynchronous courses in increasing numbers, interactivity has been elevated to one of the most important parts of a successful learning experience (Mestre, 2010). Whether you are using interactivity to move beyond the discussion board, to deliver real-world scenarios, or to engage students in compelling case studies, are you putting the interactivity cart before the pedagogical horse in your online courses?
Well, there’s good news: Creating interactive elements into your online courses does not have to be that daunting. With the right partner, you could easily provide engaging interactive elements when grounded in sound instructional pedagogy can strengthen retention and meaning in the learning experience.
Let’s define interactivity or interactive course elements. Interactive course elements can be any or all of the following: simulations, branching scenarios, case studies, multimedia, interactive games, simulated job performance exercises, animated video, customized audio or video, drag and drop interactions, and avatars. By enabling students to engage in an immersive environment, interactives can deliver real-world challenges, reduce levels of anxiety, produce greater confidence, and also increase analytical skills. Most importantly, interactives based on student-centered pedagogy address the distinct learning needs of individual students and groups of students.
At Focus EduSolutions, instructional designers custom design all interactives after engaging faculty or subject matter experts. The process entails creating wireframes and storyboards and designing custom interfaces that specifically address the objectives and outcomes of the course. We have an exhaustive library of pre-configured scenarios that allow our teams to employ the rapid development of interactives. The interactives are designed with single or multiple user interfaces. In a simulation, students can log in synchronously or operate the simulation asynchronously. Each interaction with the simulation is recorded and reported back to the grade book in the client’s learning management system (LMS). Each interactive is designed to assess the cognitive and analytical ability of your students
Mestre, Lori S. 2010. “Matching up Learning Styles with Learning Objects: What’s Effective?” Journal of Library Administration 50 (7-8): 808-829. doi: 10.1080/01930826.2010 .488975.