Thursday, March 12, 2009

Myth about eLearning and Interactivity

At a social gathering, I explained that I work as an ID at Kern Communications. A person (Rajeev's idol cum mentor from the training fraternity) said you are more into elearning. Elearning is not that interactive, it is very forced.

These words have been ringing in my head. Why did do people think elearning is not interactive and forced? Here are my guesses:
  1. Learners do not interact with other learners.
  2. Some really bad elearning courses have ruined elearning's reputation.
  3. The learner has to complete the course.
(Can't think of any more. Please add if you remember more.)

Now, coming to point 1. Interactivity can be cognitive, social, and clicks (motor if you wish to call it that). If the training is poorly designed, cognitive interaction is not going to happen anyway. The person (I was referring to earlier) meant that elearning lacked social interactivity (learners interacting with learners). My response was to point out how web 2.0 fills that gap. But, I was still not satisfied with my response. With eLearning, social interactivity has been always a part of the learning process in the form of informal learning.
  • After you take the course (or even as you take the course), the learners share/exchange notes with other learners.
  • Some courses provide access to other learners and experts via chat rooms, forums, emails, and so on.
Can't do much about point 2, but pray that people start doing things right. I hope they begin to understand that click interactivity does not help people learn. Having text box or a fancy tabbed presentation is not sufficient. A click is just a click.

Coming to point 3, if elearning is forced because the learner has to complete the course, so is any other form of training (especially if the learner motivation is low). Like Tony Karrer mentioned in his blog post, at least the learner can click next and finish the course.

Read more on interactivity here.

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