There are many reasons to include interactivity in elearning. Here, I’m going to talk about one that I think is especially important: slowing the learner down.
Have you ever read something quickly and not really absorbed the information? Or perhaps you can think of a time when you watched an instructional video but didn’t quite take it in? One way to increase a learner’s attention and retention is by intentionally slowing them down and providing “speed bumps” that are opportunities for thinking.
For instance, let’s say the learner is selling mattresses and they need to be able to recommend appropriate mattresses to customers with a wide variety of needs. Inserting a drag and drop interaction that requires the learner to drag different customers onto appropriate mattresses encourages the learner to mentally focus on matching people with mattresses. Sure, you could give the learner an article to read that includes the sentence, “Now pause and think about which mattress is best suited for each type of customer.” Some learners would take that suggestion seriously, but many would blow right past it and not get the benefit of slowing down and spending more time with the content.
Going fast is a natural human tendency, but it isn’t always useful for learning or skill development. That’s why I often think about ways to create strategic pauses for learners when I’m designing elearning solutions.