Four Ways to Make Interactivity Count


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How can you design meaningful interactivity without blowing your budget? How can you set up your e-learning for great engagement and better knowledge retention? Let's explore four simple strategies you can use, pretty much regardless of your tools. Presentation by Cammy Bean, VP of Learning Design

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  • Reduce your learners to lifeless, braindead corpses...‘tis the season after all.
  • It’s not about clicking next to continue. It’s about what happens in between.
  • “Two things that interact with each other” – drugs or muscles that work together.
    Doctors might be concerned with how drugs interact with each other in a patient.
    inter + act
    Muscles work together -- they interact to move your leg.
  • Human to artifact: you can touch it and it will respond to your inputs.
    An interactive electronic device that responds to human touch….
    Dialing a telephone (even an old fashioned one – interactivity is not a recent invention!)
    Using a piece of software
    This is the behavior of the user interface and what we often think as “interactivity” – software that responds to inputs from humans. Like a word processor… There are typically expected behaviors…
    Photo credits: Cammy Bean.
  • Human to human communication – when two people interact with each other – we talk, we laugh. We’re in RELATIONSHIP with each other. Social interaction.
  • Interactivity lives on a spectrum of learner control and user freedom.
  • “Passively” watching a video with no controls over audio or video.
    Although tv watching has increasingly become an interactive exercise as we tweet and post to facebook about the shows we’re watching. And yes, you do have a remote to turn it off and on…or now to even select what on-demand show to watch.
    Immersive 3D world where you have complete control over what you do and where you go
    Screen shot:
    Cognitive Fidelity: A representation of a complex system that helps users to understand the system. This representation does not necessarily give an exact description of the system's actual working <Brown1986>. Cognitive fidelity should enhance a user's capability to construct a mental model of a system.

    Cognitive Fidelity – does it map to the problem-solving process?
    Contextual Fidelity – does it map to the on-the job performance environment?
    Potentially novice learners might require more contextual fidelity…
    Games – exposure games for contextual or cognitive fidelity…create a fantasy game that provides cognitive fidelity (e.g., make a
     “I have a few theories about cognitive fidelity (the process by which a game represents the content in high fidelity, but not necessarily the context - and that those might be just as good for transfer...and example might be using the lean six sigma process to build a weapons system that will defend the earth from the impending alien attack...same process that you would follow and therefore high cognitive fidelity, but low contextual fidelity because its not a realistic situation...however in my area where we teach so many multidisciplinary fields (navy, air force, marines) who have their own weapons systems process its hard to build a game that doesn't violate at least one of their rules, so by creating a fantasy environment I bypass their context, and hopefully lead to learning that is more readily transferrable because its context agnostic.) “ ~ Alicia Sanchez
    Enter search text into a search field, answer an MCQ.
  • Clicking for clicking’s sake and the danger of seductive details. “The arousal effect”
    Clark and Mayer provide some insight into why clicky-clicky bling-bling happens:
    “...consumers may feel that a “jazzier” product will hold the learner’s interest better. This is the premise underlying the
    arousal theory, the idea that entertaining and interesting embedded effects cause learners to become more
    emotionally aroused and therefore they work harder to learn the material.”
    Photo: “red lips isolated in white”
  • Drill and kill is one way to get learners to practice your content. And practice, is good, right? Well, not always. When we force learners to practice without context, they’ve memorized facts but may not be able to apply them correctly in context. This is why Jeopardy Games are for the most part useless as learning tools. Unless you’re a noted game show host, you’re day job isn’t working at a Jeopardy Board. We need to provide more contextual opportunities for drill exercises that will help the learner both retain and apply the knowledge they are practicing.
    Sebastian Deterding calls this a“disconnected challenge”.
    “So I have actually used a lot of those types of games (The skiing example) for kill and drill type things. Memorization, vocabulary retention that kind of thing. That is pretty much the limit of their applicability. The types of games that have the most beneficial performance based impacts are experiential games, where the player is allowed to actually participate in the content and make some decisions on their own.” ~ Dr. Alicia Sanchez
    Spin the wheel:
  • Avoid interactivity for interactivity’s sake. The consequences: leads to learner fatigue, distracting, doesn’t promote deeper understanding
    To better encode new knowledge by having them engage with the material in a meaningful way. To get them applying their new knowledge through practice…
  • Think about the interaction –  
    Relevant clicking should enhance the instruction and helped the learner make real connections
  • It’s not about the mouse and where you click – it’s about engaging someone cognitively, getting them interacting with the content by thinking about it, reflecting on, even doing something with it.
  • Make it cognitive! Reflection counts. Let the learner think about the purpose of the interaction. And remember that interaction happens IN THE BRAIN and not just on the screen. No clicking involved.
  • Build in opportunities for self-assessment and self-reflection.
  • Engage through Emotions: get them feeling.
  • Put a human face to something as dry as financial regulations. When we can connect with the people in the stories, we feel their pain and we can see why this content matters.
  • Tell a story that connects to them emotionally – we remember stories better.
  • Paul Mitchell had a series of DVD videos. Instead of just having that be a passive experience, we created note sheets for the user to download and write notes on the module. For their audience, this approach worked really well.
  • In this example, what the learner needed to be able to DO at the end of the day – was to answer other hair stylists questions. So we created a classroom scenario where they could work through challenging questions posed by their soon-to-be-students.
    By keeping the focus on what the learner needs to be able to DO…you make it relevant…which brings us to our next point:
  • This is a game-based approach, good for practicing systems and service skills together
  • 21 focused practical resources
    Most are 5 minutes or shorter
    Follow the whole interview cycle
    Work in sequence, or if experienced as dip-in support
    Variety of interactive approaches:
    Focus on practice
    Animations – perception vs reality
    Videos - good and bad examples and stories
    Observe and critique scenarios
    Question structuring practice
    Candidate rating practice
    Note taking practice
    Takeaways and reminders
    Ongoing occupational psychologist coach to give feedback and support
  • Thiagi’s Four Door Model:
    Library: content and presentations – videos, elearning tutorials, PDFs
    Playground: games and activities to provide practice and reinforcement
    Café: Social learning activities for reflection and integration (wikis, blogs, forums, etc.)
    Evaluation Center/Torture Chamber: testing and assessment
    Brandon Carson 2010 eLearning Guild:
  • This is similar to the full branching simulation approach but the model is designed so that
    should the learner make a mistake in the scenario they get shown to a discrete relevant
    section of the tutorials. Once they complete the relevant module they can then return to the
    choice they got wrong and see if they can continue with the scenario without making further
    mistakes. The appeal of this approach is that learners have that extra degree of motivation to
    absorb the learning points, as they have just confronted that particular learning gap.
  • Engage by Connecting: Add in offline human interaction!
  • Well, then, speak to them like human beings. Address them as “you” and have a conversation with them. You might reconnect with whatever human bit is left inside of them…
  • They’re coming to get you…
    Take the Call to Action and make it personal.
    In this case, a real-live manager will follow up with the learner…
  • More call to actions...with specific links to take the experience beyond the eLearning event...”beyond the course”
  • Using survey monkey to get calls to action
  • Four Ways to Make Interactivity Count

    1. Making Interactivity Count Cammy Bean, #ASTDTK14
    2. What is interactivity? What does interactive e- learning mean to you?
    3. Is this what you mean?
    4. Interactivity, defined.
    5. 1. Interactivity = two things that work together.
    6. 2. Interactivity = the inputs/outputs of human-todevice/artifact contact.
    7. 3. Interactivity = human-to-human connection!
    8. Interactivity lives on a spectrum.
    9. From passive activities to complete user control and freedom.
    10. Why do we think we need it in our e-learning? Why does e-learning need to be interactive?
    11. Why? Stakeholders ask for it! It’s more fun! It’s more engaging! It helps us learn better! It’s clicking and clicking is good! Right? Ummm…..
    12. But beware the dangers…
    13. The danger of seductive details…
    14. Interactivity without context…meaningless?
    15. Avoid interactivity for interactivity’s sake. Fatiguing. Distracting. Doesn’t promote deeper understanding.
    16. What do you see as the obstacles to including meaningful interactivity?
    17. What do you see as the obstacles to including meaningful interactivity? Too costly. Takes too much time. We’re not creative enough. I don’t have the right people to build it. Stakeholders don’t value it. I don’t really know where to start.
    18. Let’s not forget the best tool we have. Make ‘em cogitate!
    19. So what can interactivity look like? (The kind we can do without blowing our budgets?)
    20. Let’s look at four principles.
    21. 1. Get them reflecting.
    22. Get them to stop and think.
    23. Ask: What did you think? What did you hear? How are you doing?
    24. How do you rate yourself?
    25. What would you stop, start, continue?
    26. How confident are you?
    27. Have them write it down.
    28. Get them thinking. Ask them questions.
    29. Get ‘em reflecting. Stop, start, continue?
    30. 2. Get them feeling.
    31. Make it human.
    32. Put them IN the story.
    33. And make it a good story.
    34. Then make them think about it.
    35. Ask provocative questions to spark interest.
    36. Make it uncomfortable.
    37. Get ‘em feeling. Stop, start, continue?
    38. 3. Get them acting.
    39. Take note!
    40. Get them into the action and have them assess what’s going on.
    41. Make it relevant.
    42. Give the challenge context.
    43. Put the challenge in context.
    44. What would you do?
    45. Have them create their own action plan.
    46. Give them an offline activity.
    47. Have them create their own performance support tools.
    48. Have them identify mistakes (the kind they’re likely to make)!
    49. Give them choices.
    50. Lots of choices.
    51. Try Thiagi’s Four Door Model.
    52. Let them decide: Learn or apply?
    53. Get ‘em feeling. Stop, start, continue?
    54. 4. Get them connecting. With other human beings.
    55. Be sure to talk with them. Like human beings.
    56. Let them hear from real people.
    57. Make contact.
    58. Give them assignments to upload for peer review.
    59. Give them worksheets. And mentors.
    60. Have them continue the conversation with their manager.
    61. Get them talking. To each other. What did you think? How did you do it? Here’s what I did that really worked. Here’s what I did that really didn’t work.
    62. Get ‘em connecting. Stop, start, continue?
    63. Get them reflecting, feeling, acting/doing, connecting.
    65. Coming Soon!
    66. Cammy Bean email: blog: